Here on Two Oaks Farmstead, we are constantly changing, growing or building something new. This season, one of our new builds was a new raised bed garden.
I knew that I would eventually need to overhaul my original garden area and I knew that I needed additional growing space, so I chose a spot that could handle a quick, last minute build. (It seems that much of my work ends up that way.)
New Raised Bed Garden
My youngest, Mason, once told me that our farm is a lot like ‘Minecraft’. “We just keep building more stuff” …and he’s not wrong.
I admit that I love to build. Anything. Much to my husband’s dismay. Eventually we just might look like a little Minecraft city! So we are adding that new raised bed garden to the mix.
We had an open area next to our Hugelkultur garden. It’s still in close proximity to my other main gardening efforts so I felt like it was a good choice. That is a pretty important element for me here on the farm because it cuts down on all the walking and the watering is easier.
All of the other various siting elements are met as well. That whole area gets terrific sun exposure and being right in the middle of the gardening zones as well as our livestock housing areas is a plus because of the nearby microbial efforts; bugs, worms, bees and our composting areas.
I’ve mentioned before that we typically have to do all of our garden areas as new raised bed gardens everywhere on the whole place based of the clay content in our land and this was no different. The construction for basic raised beds is simple and straight forward. We had a large pile of excess wood from another project, which made things easier (and cheaper!).
I’m doing this on the cheap wherever I can, so I went with the least expensive options. Least expensive usually means more work, but work is free. (Plus, I have kids that would love to help me…) My boys are always a good help on the farm but we even had my niece and nephew in on part of the action!
Our new raised bed garden is constructed just like most of our other raised beds. We splice lengths of wood together with simple splice blocks and stake them in place along the way. I tend to work with long beds, typically about 3-4 feet wide. This new raised bed garden ended up being about forty feet long, comprised of 6 beds that are 3 feet wide each.
We went with the lasagna gardening method to build up the planting areas, which is a method that I have used several times. We built basic borders for each bed, just to keep the substrate in a particular area. I used weed blocker in the paths to cut down on mowing up close to the new raised bed garden. We laid layers of cardboard in all of the planting bed areas as a compostable barrier that worms can still get through.
We also wrapped the boards in a plastic barrier so they wouldn’t leech into my beds. I normally don’t use any kind of treated wood, for just that reason. Couldn’t be helped this time, so I made allowances for it.
New Raised Bed Garden Substrate
After the layers of cardboard, we added in mounds of manure that we spent hours shoveling in the days prior. It was a lot of work, but so worth it. The benefits of having that manure in the beds is a huge benefit that I will always choose.
On top of that, we layered in peat moss and compost with straw in between. That is where we plant our seeds. It ends up being light, loose and non-compacted with a lot of life in it. Its much like growing a garden in a compost pile.
Since this was kind of a last minute project, my watering plan is to use a sprinkler to begin with, but I will add irrigation when I get the chance. I’ve been adding irrigation to my various gardening sections as I go. It takes a bit to get it put in place but, in the end it sure is worth the effort.
New Raised Bed Garden – End Result
This was a very fast build with a terrific pay off. This has actually been my best growing garden area this season and it holds the promise of many years of great farm production.
I would love to hear from you about your gardening efforts. Do you use any of these techniques? Do they work well for you? You may be interested in what else we have coming very soon as well!
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