Spring is officially upon us here on the crick! We’ve (hopefully) just gotten our last freeze in for the year, which means I’m coming out of hibernation. This Florida native doesn’t like winter.
I had really grand dreams when I moved into our house. Grand dreams that included a garden something like this:
Well fast-forward 3 years and 2 kids, and this is what we’ve accomplished:
This is all that remains of the veggie garden we planted last year. The elements were stacked against us- weather, time, kids, kale eating bugs…
I didn’t put in the time to do it right, and a garden done half way is destined to fail here on the crick.
This year, I finally decided to invest in the garden. It’s been an investment of time and money, but doing it right has already made maintenance and productivity so much better/easier.
Raised beds were a must. We just couldn’t keep up with the weed control from sowing directly into the ground, and our existing soil wasn’t yielding great results.
I finally decided to research the cost of making raised beds, and stumbled upon this tutorial from Ana White. She came up with the brilliant idea to use cedar fence pickets to make raised beds at a fraction of the cost. Genius!
Here’s the breakdown of ours vs. hers:
- Cost: $2.98 a fence picket (We bought half at Lowes and half at Home Depot- prices were the same. The Home Depot wood seemed a little rougher, but was also heavier feeling that the ones we got at Lowes.)
- We left off the top ledge piece to save time and money
- We built a combination of 3 x 6 beds (about $18 each) and 1.5 x 6 beds (about $15 each)
- Each box took about an hour to build
Just a friendly reminder to remember the cost of the soil. These 3 x 6 boxes took 0.66 cubic yards of soil each. We bought 6 cubic yards of gardening soil from a local supplier, and it was somewhere around $250 with the delivery fee. Yikes!
Tip: add cardboard boxes to the bottom of the beds before filling them with soil. It will help suppress the weeds and will naturally degrade over time.
Our yard has a bad slope, so we leveled the ground around the beds by digging mini trenches where needed. We’ll see how it affects the longevity of the beds, but for now it was a quick solution.
We still need to clean things up quite a bit, but at least veggies are in the boxes! Now for the breakdown- Crazy/Hot Scale style! (As always, familiarize yourself HERE first. Just substitute “project” for “girl”!)
I’d place this project firmly above the Pinterest Fail Diagonal. It was a project with no mishaps, which rarely happens around here. Now we still need to design the rest of the garden for these babies to qualify as “HOT”, but they are super functional so I’ll give them a pass on that one.
How crazy was this project? Not extremely. Until we decided to build 2 more beds. And then 4 more. It’s a bit addictive.
It took us about three weekends to get all of the boxes built, filled, and planted. We built, filled, and planted about 4 boxes per weekend. (It would go a lot quicker if you don’t have two toddlers to tend to- so many smoothies always need to be made!)
I’m so glad that we invested in this project. It feels like we’re finally making progress toward living the lifestyle we intended to live when we moved to the country. And now that the weeds won’t be such an issue, I can focus more attention on those pesky kale eaters…
Stay tuned for the organic warfare! Any tips?!