Raised Bed Gardening

Our land was covered in oaks when my parents built on it 20+ years ago.  Oak leaves cause the soil to be acidic.  About 2 feet down we have slick red clay.  Theses things lead to a not so hospitable environment for a garden, but a great way to save money is to plant your own garden.  The solution to this for me is a raised garden.  I have 4 8' x 4' beds in a clearing in front of the shop.  The big one in the middle has my two fig trees that were trimmed back drastically 4 years ago before my parents move.  They only produce enough right now to feed the squirrels.  Since the telephone pole guide wire runs through the middle, I usually only plant flowers in this bed.  This year, I'm thinking about planting my tomatoes there.  (This photo is before I finished clearing out 3 of the beds.)



Last summer it was evident that the weed guard underneath the beds needed to be replaced.  We've had some horrible freezing weather (we actually had several ice days close down schools this year!) so I haven't been able to prep my garden before this week.  I had the arduous task of shoveling all the dirt out of each bed, laying newspaper and cardboard on the bottom and then shoveling all the dirt back in.  There are weed barriers that you can purchase, but I much prefer to reuse and recycle things I have.  We bought a new fridge in December, so I kept the box and it can cover the bottom of 2 of the beds.

I planted two kinds of yellow squash or crooked neck squash if you're not from the country and two kinds of cucumbers.  Last year I made the mistake of planting my carrots with my squash and the squash choked the carrots growth.  I also made the mistake of planting too many squash and cucumber plants and they ended up taking over most of the garden.  This year, I only planted four plants in one whole bed.  I kept the squash and cucumbers together since they will vine out and they can take over the bed and not choke out anything else.



I also planted some green beans.  If the beans do better this year, I'm hoping to experiment with canning the green beans and freezing them.  I'd love to only have to buy vegetables once a month during the winter because I had saved up enough during the summer.  I'll mulch in a couple of weeks.


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