* planter bed how to post …

Posted on March 28th, 2010 by melinda in the chronicles of gardening

Yesterday morning I posted about going out to work on our planter beds … I got couple of really nice comments and a couple more emails asking about the planter beds.  Who knew y’all might be interested in gardening?  I can tell you this … I enjoy it very much, which is odd, because I am not a lover of hard work.  I think that may be the biggest reason I like the planter bed concept of gardening as opposed to great big gardens that require a lot of effort. 

I thought I would share a few things in particular about the planter beds just in case you want to try one or more with your family this spring and summer.

#1. Keep in mind I am not a professional gardener.  This has all been trial and error for us.  There are probably plenty of you out there who have much much more gardening experience than I do, and I would love any tips or advice you have to offer. 

#2.  Our planter beds are made from 2 x 10 boards of untreated lumber, which would mean they are not 5 x 12 like I thought they were, they are 5 x 10.  Richard had some left over boards from a job he had done, thus we used those, if you happen to have other size boards laying around your house, any size should be fine to use, just base your measurements on the board size you have.  For each bed you will need 3 boards.  Level out your ground area, and it does not have to be perfect but the more level the easier.  Cut one board in half, lay the other 2 boards long ways and nail them all together, forming a rectangle.  Very simple (especially if you have a husband who can make anything).  

#3.  Filling up the planter beds with dirt and lots of yucky, but very good stuff … for us, this was easy, we live in an area that has plenty of dirt available and we have a tractor with a big ole scooper thing, a brush pile that produces lots of good ash material, a sandy river bottom for getting some sand to help with drainage and horses that provide more than plenty of organic fertilizer.  If you happen not to have those things, please call, comment or email and I will be more than happy to hook you up with any or all of the necessary starter dirt and fertilizer you may need … just bring some rubber gloves and come on over!  I’m serious about that, we have plenty and we are happy to share for free (but I am not shoveling horse poop for you, I will be glad to provide you a shovel, pitch fork or hoe and a bag to tote it home in but I am not shoveling it for you, I love you dearly but I have my limits and they stop at horse poop).

#4.  Not only did we put all of the things above in our planter beds, we also used a couple bags of potting soil in each planter bed along with the following things (I cannot find the link to the website I got the ideas for compost material so you’ll just have to trust me on this one) I saved all of my eggs shells and coffee grounds for about a month or so prior to filling up the beds with dirt, I just put them all in an old coffee can that had a lid so the smell was contained.  When we filled the planter beds, I dumped all the stuff I had saved, a little in each planter bed, and Richard tilled it right in the dirt mixture.  I don’t know if the egg shells and coffee grounds really helped or not, but I do know we got some really good, fresh produce from our garden beds.  I think it was most likely a combination of all the stuff and the good dirt. 

#5.  We let the dirt set a few days before we planted anything in it.   I don’t know if that is necessary or not, but we did.  And then came (for me) the most exciting part … shopping for what I wanted to plant.  I was fortunate to get some great advice on types of seeds and plants from my friend Alices, mom, they farm for a living so she, unlike me, had a clue what I needed to plant and about how much.  I shopped for my plants at a local plant/flower place (Country Road greenhouse is where I went for our veggie plants, although we have plenty of good garden shops in our county and we later purchased things from other places too.  I like buying locally for several reasons … first, it helps our local economy and second, when buying stuff to plant, I find local growers much better since the produce is already growing in soil like the soil we have at our house).  Personally, I picked things I know my family likes to eat … there is nothing more rewarding than stepping out your door, grabbing some veggies and fixing them for your family to eat for dinner.

#6.  What did we plant?  We did a combination of plants and seeds.  We planted squash, cucumbers, zucchini, green beans, corn, okra, lettuce, spinach, a mixture of peppers and tomatoes.  Personally, I think I prefer the plants simply because I can see them immediately, but for spacing out what you have blooming a combination of both came in handy.  I will have to admit, I did get a certain amount of gratification from seeing the little seeds pop up thru the dirt.  I did my happy dance (which is  actually very sad if you happen to be in a close enough proximity to have to watch it).

That’s about all I got to say about that.  (name that movie)  If you have the slightest inclination that you may enjoy haveing some fresh veggies in your yard, I would love to encourage you to just try it … I truly think you will like it.  The things I most liked about the planter beds were:  they were easy, inexpensive, practical for our family, did not require much weeding and if they had been a total flop we could have easily removed them.  If you have younger children, it would be a great spring/summer family project that won’t wear you out.  If you want to try them and need some help, please let me know, I will gladly send Richard over to help you.  If you do decide to try them out, please let me know, I would love to see some pictures.

ps: we borrowed Cathy’s little bitty tiller, but had we not had it to use, we could have used a rake or hoe to accomplish the same thing, it was just easier with the tiller, but don’t let that stop you from trying … it’s worth the effort.


One Comment on “* planter bed how to post …”

  1. Marjorie Markham

    The thing I love most about this whole adventure is the fact that it is a family adventure where everyone helps out in their own way. It is much more enjoyable that way. Good luck with it and let me know when dinner is ready with fried squash.

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