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We all love dem Texas cowboys and the old western movies…but while watching these ole time favorites, how often do you see a lush green colorful garden in the background. Living here in north Texas, where the barbeque is juicy and the guacamole is bright green; the brutal heat of summer mixed with our clay-like backyard soil can challenge the hardiest shrub in the house.
My husband and I have a simple gardening mantra; to work with the abundant choice of Texas native species for our backyard, they are prolific and do really well out here with a few inches of fertile soil and a generous layer of mulch to retain water.
On the other hand, vegetables and herbs need good conditions to thrive, like nutrient rich soil, great drainage and direct sunlight for 4-6 hours a day.
In addition to giving me the option to choose a great sunny location with good drainage, a raised garden bed lets me stick with an important busy-mom gardening principle: My produce garden takes care of itself. Raised garden beds or box gardens are like manageable squares (or any desired shape) of good fertile soil, ideal for small patios, balconies or an area in your backyard where the normal soil is challenged.
Also keep in mind that paint and chemicals can seep into plants, so the less treated the wood the better.
Since my plan is to use the raised garden bed purely for herbs, the soil mix used is 65% organic compost, 30% humus for soil fertility, disease control and moisture retention, and 5% vermiculite for better aeration and retention of moisture and nutrients; a soil formula created by my trusty in-house gardening expert and husband. So now that the box is all set up and the soil has settled into its new bed, get started with the fun part of getting your favorite plants in. Few things compare to the sheer joy of walking out to the backyard around dinnertime; to cut some fresh thyme or curly leaf parsley for an impromptu herb brown rice, or to snip fresh tarragon for a favorite lamb recipe. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.
With the short growing season in northern MN, container or raised bed gardens help a lot for things like this — I love going out on the front step to snip that fresh sprig of rosemary! I can see that, Kat its a similar extreme seasons situation as Texas:) And you’ve hit the nail on the right herb, Rosemary is my absolute favorite! We tend to purchase starter plants to help with the limited growing time and I was disappointed when the greenhouse we frequent was out of lemongrass this year — their cat nibbled them all!
Thanks, somehow the joy of watching our food grow cant be beat and puts it all into perspective:) thanks for sharing your vegetable garden, hope you’re soon eating from it!
Thanks, many of the seeds are still germinating, hopefully it will all be lush soon:) Hope your garden is doing well, the California weather is a big plus!! Whether you are building your first garden, adding on to an existing plot or just want a new look for your garden, raised boxes are just the thing. The raised boxes make planning your garden easy and will certainly help with crop rotation season after season. When planning you garden, one important thing to remember is that the pathways between your boxes should be wide enough to accommodate whatever equipment you may be running through there. A raised bed garden is built right on top of your lawn, sometimes incorporating native soil, sometimes not. I could go on and on about the joys of raised beds, and every year I discover something new. Contained raised beds are the most popular type, and they’re great for vegetable and herb gardens, as well as flower gardens. If you are planning to construct your beds out of wood, use something durable like cedar or redwood. Gardeners have used pressure-treated wood for decades in raised beds and as posts, but on December 31, 2003, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned the sale of lumber treated with chromated copper arsenate (CCA) for residential use.
Lastly, raised beds require very little maintenance and time spent weeding is greatly reduced.


Raised bed are the best way to grow vegetable plants because you can have complete control of the soil. I am a gardener so i can also assist with the setup and filling of the bed for an additional charge.
A raised bed—essentially a large planting box—is the ultimate problem solver: It offers perfect drainage, protection from pests, and easy access to crops. Waaaaay back in July of 2008 MJ (aka Matt) built me a raised garden box for my vegetable garden. I second the opinion that this is a great kit, and simplifies creating a raised garden bed considerably… however, you do have to source your own lumber, so it would be nice if the price was a bit lower. One good suggestion which we followed was laying a sparse bed of stones and rocks at the base of the box. The soil should be highly fertile and nutrient rich, conditions which allow for closer plantings than a normal vegetable patch. Check out these fun set of ideas for raised garden beds on Pinterest, its a lot of good information too. I’d never guess cat would like the strong flavor…Can you believe it, mine actually came back this time, thanks to my smart husband who covered it all winter and trimmed it back! Nice That you already have some heat ?? btw I’m not sure if u have to subscribe differently to your new blog address. Apparently, the emails you receive with the comment update have an unsubscribe button at the end. Because the beds are above ground, they will thaw much quicker and allow you to get a head start on the planting season. Become your own landscape architect by laying out your boxes in any pattern you like and filling the pathways between them with the material of your choosing. These gardens can be contained, such as when you build a wood or stone structure to keep the bed intact, or they can be more free form, with soil and amendments merely piled several inches high.
As a matter of fact, the older I get, the more I like NOT having to bend down so far to get to the soil. Fruits, such as strawberries, grapes, blueberries, and raspberries, also do very well in a this type of bed.
Concerns have focused on the leaching of arsenic from pressure-treated wood into the soil, contaminating plants and people. Select a location that gets at least eight hours of sun per day, especially for crops like tomatoes and melons. Using rot-resistant lumber such as cedar or one of the newer composite lumbers mentioned above, construct your bed.
To avoid water running down and pooling in a low spot in the bed, take the time to make sure your bed is level. The great advantage of raised bed gardening is that it gives you the chance to work with perfect soil. And make sure not to glue or seal the wood to a hard concrete floor, so natural drainage takes place. Mine are bordered by pea stone, but using cobblestone, bricks, grass, pavers, crushed sea shells, etc. Many a plot of tender young peas have rotted in the spring because April and May rains have no place to go. Two compounds, quite similar to each other but sold by different suppliers, have now replaced CCA wood in the residential market.


The copper keeps insects at bay, and the fungicide prevents soil fungus from attacking the wood. One of the main advantages of a raised bed is that the soil doesn’t get compacted the way it might in a conventional bed because they are planned for accessibility. Two by eight, ten or twelve inch lumber is great, as it is easy to work with and will give you plenty of depth.
This is your opportunity to fill the bed with a good mixture of quality topsoil, compost, peat moss, manure, worms, etc. As with any garden, mulching the top of the soil will help retain moisture and keep weeds down, but try not to be too aggressive in turning over the soil. Whether you are starting your first garden or are well seasoned and looking for new ideas, this site is for you.
Follow our directions, and you’ll be able to DIY the 4- by 8-foot bed pictured here as a weekend project.
You never want them to be wider than four feet because you need to be able to reach the center of the box without stepping onto it. Weeding is greatly reduced because you will have put good clean soil into your box right at the outset and weeds will have a reduced chance at gabbing a foothold. In ACQ, the fungicide is quat, which is also used in swimming-pool chemicals and as a disinfectant.
It is a good idea to keep the garden to around four feet wide, because this way you can access the middle of the bed from either side. All those worms living in the soil are hugely beneficial and they don’t like to be disturbed. We are also developing the garden enthusiast's ultimate record keeping tool which we hope to release to you very soon. Remember, compacting the soil is a big “no no” which will impact drainage and is harmful to the beneficial worms that live below the surface.
Some gardeners go the very basic route, and use bales of hay or straw then fill with good soil and compost.
If you’re placing your bed against a wall or fence, it should be less than four feet wide.
Obviously, the longer your sides, the heavier the lumber and the bulkier the project becomes.
This will absorb the warming rays of the sun and heat the soil very quickly (your melons, cukes and tomatoes will love this!), and later in the season the mulch will all but eliminate weed development. Most of my boxes are 12 feet long and I used simple L brackets in each corner to connect the four pieces.
Brand names of this new pressure-treated wood include NatureWood, Wolmanized Outdoor, and Natural Select. For depth, eight inches is good, but you can’t go wrong by going deeper.Ten to twelve inches is great for potatoes, carrots and other root vegetables.




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