A garden is the best alternative therapy.

Okay, I finally have the boxes built for the lettuce, carrots, spinach and broccoli.  Building them wasn’t all too difficult (see my previous post), except my drill stopped working, which made using screws unbelievably harder.  Nevertheless, I got them constructed and in the back yard.  The real hard work came in removing the sod.  The ground was moist, which made it a little more difficult than before, but luckily, the ground wasn’t nearly as rocky.  The beds fit nicely in the area we chose – and, watching the sun today, the box will be entirely in the shade by 3 PM, therefore shielded from the intense heat of the afternoon sun.  As the days get shorter and cooler, I expect the box to still get six or seven hours of full sun.  That should be plenty for the crops.

Here’s what the installed beds look like.  I still have to dig up the sod from the smaller bed, but I’m exhausted and it’s now beer-thirty.

Growing space measurements: 6 feet x 3 feet

Growing space measurements: 6 feet x 3 feet

20 sections in all: 16 sections for lettuce and 4 sections for parsley

20 sections in all: 16 sections for lettuce and 4 sections for parsley

As you can see by the picture above (if you look close), I chose to install a wire grid on the left side of the larger box.  This is because I have a few types of lettuce and I’ll be planting them in succession.  The grid will help me keep the plants separated and keep myself straight on what I’ve planted.  The center section will be reserved for the carrots.  I made sure to work the soil over well in that area, pulling out any small stones and/or sticks.  Carrots need soft dirt to send their taproot down straight.  If it encounters a rock or stick, it will grow crooked or fork.  Although crooked carrots are unique and interesting, I’d rather have pretty carrots.  The time is right to sow carrot seeds, so I’ll most likely do that tomorrow morning.  If I keep all of the plants at least two inches apart in all directions, I should be able to get at least fifty to sixty carrots in that space.   The spinach I will start tonight in toilet paper rolls and transplant in a few weeks.    I filled the bed with a total of fourteen 5-gallon buckets of grower’s mix (40% compost, 40% loam, 10% granite sand and 10% bank sand) mixed in with four 5-gallon buckets of fresh, homemade compost and half a bag of composted manure.   It looks like I still have enough grower’s mix and compost left to fill the last bed as well.  Thankfully.

Growing space measurements: 3 foot by 3 foot

Growing space measurements: 3 foot by 3 foot

The smaller box will be devoted to broccoli.  After I dig up the sod and fill it, I will section it off with wires as I have done with the lettuce.  I have the broccoli plants started already outside in paper “pots” and I will transplant them in a few weeks.

the long view of both beds...

the long view of both beds...


Comments on: "Raised beds built … back broke." (1)

  1. Woot, they look awesome, Joseph! I really like the combo bed — what a neat idea to have two beds together with separate soil. Your back needs some well deserved rest. We didn’t get our beds built — a death in the family on Friday meant unexpected family visitors on the way to San Antonio this weekend, and we frantically worked to finish off various projects before they arrived.

    I really appreciate all your tips on growing carrots and other veggies. We also did a nice deep bed, specifically with carrots in mind (I had seen a lot of pictures of really small or bent carrots and wanted to give them a chance to grow deep). I’ve got them growing with spinach, lettuce, and kohlrabi. FYI, I neatly placed all my seeds just the right distance apart, and the rains a couple of weeks back came and washed them into all different places in the raised bed! I’m going to have to transplant a few just a bit.

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