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Deuce Cities Henhouse

Planning a Raised Bed Garden


What the heck? Two gardening posts in 1 week and it’s not even March? I know, I know, I am totally crazy, but when I get on this kick it’s all I can think about. I mentioned a few days ago that I was considering a raised bed garden and then after chatting with my Ma, I was convinced it was something we should totally do. Finn is so interested in gardening and has been since he could walk that I think caring for a small veggie garden would be something he’d really like to do.

The Space:
Our backyard is decent size for the city but isn’t huge. We have gardens around the perimeter of the backyard and the interior space is all lawn for playing, grilling, bagging, and chilling. The only space we really have for a raised bed veggie garden would be in the small side yard between our house and the neighbors. It’s actually not a bad location because it’s south facing and gets lots of light all day long, the space itself is long and narrow. Pictured above (way at the top) are two possible raised bed layouts, one would function as a 4’x 8′ rectangular garden, and the other would follow the line of the house, leaving a more tailored looking walkway and garden. Obviously, the latter option is the better, but my the solution is harder than that. This is a problem of form vs function.

The Kits:
I was looking around for raised bed kits (which can be insanely expensive by the way) when I came across the most beautiful and modern looking garden kit made by Scout Regalia out of California. The garden hardware is well designed, made by local people and produced as eco friendly as possible. I loved it immediately.

Since I am internet shopping junkie, I had to do my due diligence and make sure I wasn’t missing anything better. I continued my search and stumbled upon these aluminum corners made by Burpee, the cost is slightly less but the great thing about these is the tubes interlock thus allowing them to pivot. They can accommodate any angle, so it would be totally possible to make a garden that followed the contour of the house and not have to get out my protractor. Not only that, they can be easily added on to, so if next year I wanted to expand my garden it won’t be a problem.

The Decision:
In the end I think I’ll have to go with the pivoting aluminum corners from Burpee but I think the rectangular raised bed kit from Scout Regalia is oh-so-great. If anyone is looking for a rectangular raised bed garden please go check these out. I hope somebody else has the perfect place for this raised bed garden in their yard.

Also, BLAOW: This is the greatest patio table I have ever seen in my whole life, the next time I have 3 G’s burning a hole in my pocket it’s mine.

15 comments
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13 comments… add one
  • Roonz February 24, 2012

    The most expensive part of our raised bed was going to be the dirt. Then we found a place over in Hopkins where you can get a cubic yard for like $25 if you pick it up yourself. Make sure to look around and you are always welcome to the truck (it holds exactly 1 cubic yard of dirt!).

    • Scoops February 24, 2012

      What kind of wood did you use in yours? I suppose we’ll have to buy some fancy cedar or something too.

      I forgot that you guys had done this last year – are you getting excited to plant stuff??

      Thanks for the truck offer (and the dirt on dirt), you are a good friend.

      • Roonz February 24, 2012

        I ended up using cedar fence planks. They weren’t my number one choice, but they were inexpensive and smell nice. In hindsight I wish I had sealed them last year as they have turned sort of grey but they don’t look bad. They worked well at 6 feet long. I put two on each side and was left with a nice 6 ft square box.

  • Meg@ourwaytoeat.com February 24, 2012

    This will be my third year gardening with raised beds. They are awesome, awesome awesome. I followed the Square Foot Gardening method. My handy husband gets all of the credit for it, but our beds are all DIY. I wouldn’t recommend getting fancy wood. You have to water these puppies a lot so your wood is going to rot and need to be replaced every few years. Just make sure it is untreated lumber. I haven’t mastered soil yet. The square foot gardening book recommends a mix that includes vermiculite which I am pretty sure is a carcinogen. My mix (all purchased by the bag and lugged home in a very weighed down car bag, then mixed on a tarp) is partly peat and partly organic compost and it is heavy. I am trying to get enough energy to start some peppers and tomoatos in the house this year. I don’t want to know how much I spent on those. Good luck with your raised bed. I bet you’ll love it.

    • Scoops February 25, 2012

      Meg,
      Thanks so much for the good advice. I do have a husband, but he is not handy, which is why I would like to get the burpee kit. It picks up the slack in the handy department, and makes it easier on me. I will have to do more research about this Square Foot Gardening Method, it sounds interesting, and I have no idea where to start.

      Question, would you recommend fancy wood it if the garden was right outside your dining room window, or do you think it would still grey and rot quickly and hold up just like cheap lumber? I really appreciate all the advice.

    • Scoops February 25, 2012

      Oh, and what is the name of the book you recommend? Thanks!

      • Meg@ourwaytoeat.com February 26, 2012

        The more I think about it, the more I would lean toward cedar and getting the kit. It will turn grey just like regular lumber, but it might last longer. For me, I was pretty focused on keeping the cost down, but I wouldn’t have had any of it work out without a ton of help to build it, and I would need the kit if it was all going to be done by me. My gardens are visible from the house. They are so neat and tidy looking that I like to see them, even in the winter. Having your garden visible is actually something that book recommends…I was utterly clueless about gardening,and I still pretty much am, so when I started, I got the book All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew. I didn’t read it cover to cover, and I don’t follow it to a T, but it has been a good reference for a newbie. It has you divide your raised bed into a grid and plant a certain number of things per square. I like the grid, but it is a matter of preference more than anything. I love that about gardening. All you really have to do it plant things, water them and you get delightful results. Now, I’ve got to figure out starting seeds indoors. I don’t want to continue to drop $200 on herbs, heirloom tomato and pepper plants every year!

        • Scoops February 27, 2012

          Meg,
          Thanks for all the information. It’s been really helpful. I just went ahead and order the book by Mel Bartholomew, and am excited to learn more about this method. Too bad it’s supposed to snow a foot tomorrow, it’s totally getting me down in the dumps.

          Anyway, I really appreciate all your advice. I am considering staining the wood black so it looks pretty. I will have to do more research on that though and to make sure it won’t have an effect on the veggies. I suppose it probably will, but I will double check.

          Yes, seeds indoors! You can do it! Plus it is fun and will get you amped up about the spring. I am going to start my veggie seeds after I get my book, and I’m looking forward to it. Good luck with the seeds, and thanks again!

          • Meg@ourwaytoeat.com February 28, 2012

            I am a little sorry to be continuing this comment string, as you have two more posts that I easily have thoughts on, but I guess we have the exact same climate and some interests in common so you are now being spammed for appreciating my thoughts. And now, after this preface, what I’m here to say is I just to say, I LOVE the idea of staining the wood! Great idea! I would guess the side that faces the dirt is maybe shoulnd’t be stained, but that is invisible or barely visible. Now, let me know what you think of this. I’m trying to figure out is a cool looking edging for right around the outside of the beds. If you don’t put something there, grass is kind of difficult to deal with right at the garden’s edge. I put some old bricks around the edge last year, just perched on the top of the ground, and that helped. I think I’ll maybe sink them into the ground. Old bricks look cool. Mel Bartholomewn has things like crushed rock that he uses, but they just have the right aesthetic at all. I am a little afraid I will be overwhelmed by digging trenches around the whole business when I want to be planting, but that’s my idea so far. But then I think, 96 feet of trenches and burying old bricks?!

    • Amanda May 20, 2014

      Vermiculite alone is not a carcinogen. However, it has bad reputation because before the 1990’s it was often contaminated with asbestos. If you get pure vermiculite its non toxic, but you have to be careful of your source.

  • Scoops February 29, 2012

    Meg, it won’t let me reply anymore. Ha, never had that happen. Okay one last thing.. Use the bricks! I added a border to my backyard garden two years ago with bricks and it wasn’t too much of a chore. It looks great and is easy to mow around.

    Also, I agree, stain on the outside only, our beds are gonna look amazing :)

    Thanks!

  • Ryan March 19, 2012

    Although the shape of the angled raised bed fits the space better, you won’t be able to reach all the way to the back of the bed! Since you can’t access the back of the bed (because of the fence), you might consider making the bed only three feet deep at the widest point.

    As far as wood selection goes, cedar or redwood are the best choices for raised beds because, although they will still weather to a grey color, they are much more resistant to rot than pine or other woods and will last longer with constant contact to the wet soil. If you do want to seal or stain the wood, consider that you are growing food and anything that you put on the wood can leach into your food.

    • Scoops March 21, 2012

      Hi Ryan,

      I think my images were maybe a bit misleading. The garden is actually four feet across according to the square foot gardening method that should be the widest I want to go. I am also going to leave about 18″ of room near the fence so I can access that side of it.

      Thanks for the advice on the stain. I’ve been reading that soy based stains may be okay, do you have any insight on this.

      Thanks!

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