I have never had a prolific green thumb. But I am hoping after doing some research, reading, and getting tips from others, that will all change. I am doing a raised bed garden at our apartment, and am excited. This will be a trial for future years and larger gardens.
Here is the bed we made, which is about 24ft by 3ft. I used scrap 12 foot pieces of lumber my mom had, and some 3 foot pieces I had bought from the cut pile at Home Depot for about 50 cents each. The boys helped me put the frame together about 2 weeks ago.
This happened to be one of those rare days where they didn't bicker a ton. Thank YHWH for each of those days!
Here is the raised bed now, with it's first layer of soil. I got a good deal on some Miracle Grow soil. They were 2 cubic foot bags, on sale for only $7.47 each, and I had a $10 gift card I had saved that I got in the mail from when I first moved here. So for 4 bags, normally costing almost $28 on sale, I got them for $18. I chose the Miracle Grow because I wanted a good healthy base for the garden, and this soil will provide lots of nutrients for the first layer.
Over the course of the next week, I will be working in some natural mulch (dried leaves), some coffee grounds, any egg shells I might use in my cooking (gives me an excuse to bake...which I haven't done much of lately), and some shredded newspaper. This will give me a good base of compost to feed the plants.
By next week, the ground should have softened up underneath, and I will be able to use my mom's hand tine to break up more the soil below, so that the plants can get a good footing. This is where my "he-men" come in handy, as well as my daughter. I can't do the hard work that this will take, and they have been more than willing (ok, just a few grumbles), to help me out when needed.
I will then add some more soil to the bed, this time with a more coarse and sandier texture. We have some great dirt at my moms, so I will get the boys to dig some up and fill a couple totes to bring it home in. I can fit 2 of these in the trunk of my car, and then they can just shovel it out from there, right into the bed.
Then more coffee grounds (good thing I like to drink coffee!), newspaper, and some more natural mulch...and one more layer of dirt before it is ready. We can't plant outside until about Memorial Day here in the northeast, due to still getting frost at night. What I may do though, if there is still the risk of frost by then (which is not unheard of), is to take some contractor trash bags I get from my mom, cut them down the sides, and place them over it at night to protect the plants. If I do it before the sun goes down in the afternoon, it will absorb the heat from the sun, and hold it in overnight to protect the new seedlings.
As most people do around here, I am starting my seeds inside. I could have gone for plants already started for me, but I wanted to see if I could do it myself. From seed to table. Something very satisfying about that...knowing that when we eat something, we get the pleasure of knowing it came directly from us. I didn't appreciate that as a kid, when we grew ALL our own food, including our meat. Amazing how you change as you age.
This is another bonus point for me drinking so much coffee (yeah, yeah, I know, too much!)...the leftover coffee cans make great pots for starting seeds!
Not a fabulous shot because of the window behind it, but this is exactly why I put this shelving here...this window at the end of my hall gets sun nearly all day. In the morning it is full on, which is good, because it will be before it gets super hot. Then as the sun moves around the front of the house it is more indirect. Should be a fabulous spot for them. If it isn't, I have tons of other windows to try. The coffee cans were cut about half way down with a knife and my 14 year old's muscles. I put the lids on the bottoms to help keep them from leaking. The sides are cardboard after all, and will start to decompose as they get wet from watering. I chose to cut them down, because they have a metal lip on the top if you don't, and I wasn't sure as the plants got bigger, if I would be able to transplant them out without doing harm to them. This way they will just slide right out.
And what are we planting?
From left to right: peas, corn, bush green beans, lima beans (for momma), carrots, brussel sprouts (for momma), and pickling cucumbers. I also found a great little planter thing at Walmart a few weeks ago, that will allow me to plant grape tomatoes in the top, and have the regular tomatoes growing out the bottom. We will see how our little garden grows and I will keep you updated!