Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Raised Garden Beds

We made the move! For the past 4 years, our family had a community garden plot on the banks of the Red River, just like Getty (well, sort of… she’s a much more diligent gardener than us!). In fact, I will personally take credit for introducing Getty to the community garden, as her first year she shared our plot. But after 4 years of battling (and it was an epic battle) the quack grass, and perennial disappointment in yields, and late blight on the tomatoes the past two years… well, really, we finally concluded it was not fun for us. But, growing up in the country with a huge back yard garden, I was not ready to give up on my dream of amazing, cheap, beautiful, delicious fresh home-grown vegetables.

So, with the reward of not having to dig quack grass anymore, my husband agreed to build some raised garden beds in our back yard. Originally we were planning on 3 or 4 rectangles, 4 feet wide x 12 feet long. But, Trevor being the creative designer he is, of course they are not mere rectangles. One is roughly Z-shaped (an interesting, abstract sort of Z), and the other is a parallelogram. We’ve stopped at two for this year, as I got way more plants in to them than I ever expected would fit (more to come on small space gardening in a future post…). We’ll see – I might commission a third bed next year, along with an asparagus bed beside the house... Who knows where it might end!

The beds are 12 inches deep, with the sod peeled off (of course), framed with 1 x 6 inch untreated cedar boards. We had fresh healthy soil delivered by a local gardening company (and it’s not Red River gumbo!!! ). It has been a great move for me, as gardening is now the peaceful, relaxing, fun activity I was striving for. It’s wonderful to come home from work and putter for a few minutes each day, checking out what’s changed since the day before, leisurely pulling the few weeds that have sprung up, and anticipating the next new thing. If I need to water, I just water – no need to haul it any farther than from the outdoor tap (I do let it warm up and de-chlorinate).

It’s not without its challenges – I have a new nemesis. But in all honesty, I would choose squirrels over quack grass any day. Although I was not saying that the day they chewed up half my little corn seedlings – it’s not like I had any to spare with such a small corn plot!!! Sigh – maybe next year I will have better luck with corn.   

Written by: Leanne a happy backyard gardener in Winnipeg

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