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elevated agriculture {raised bed gardening}

Well, both my garden and I went on a bit of a hiatus these past several months (we abhor winter). So, this post serves to announce that So, pretty is as pretty does, as well as my vegetable garden are back up and running.

For the past two years, my husband and I have been using a 22′  x 15′ garden located toward the end of our property. Aside from four walls (made from free fencing found curbside!), this space has been sort of an unwieldy blank canvass. This season I started my research early and found some great resources making a strong case for using raised beds, so we decided to go for it. The whole project set us back around $350…wood and dirt are surprisingly expensive.

Original Garden

{note the sophisticated method in which we determined the layout – small twigs stuck in the ground}

We decided on four raised beds: two 4′ x 8′, one 3′ x 12′ and one 4′ x’ 10′. We used 2 x 10 lumber, 3″ deck screws, and a chop saw.


{Adam getting ready to assemble the first bed}


{assembled beds}

20130407_191404 (3)

{completed beds}

Once the beds were in the ground, Adam hammered in wood stakes to support the longer boards. Side note: pictured above, you can see that leftover lumber makes for excellent seating.

The last step in garden prep was filling the beds.


{60% topsoil, 30% compost and 10% peat moss}

To stay organized, I’ve got an excel document with a tab for each month. The one shown below is for May. Yesterday I planted beets and lettuce in the East bed and Spinach in the West bed.

Microsoft Excel non-commercial use - Garden 2013 4162013 121719 AM.bmp

When it comes to planting techniques, there are two resources that have been especially helpful. The first is; their website is easy to use, they offer quick delivery, great prices, and 100% non-GMO seeds. The second is Rodale’s All-New Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening. I’m borrowing my copy from my local library, but it can also be found on Amazon.

Now that the raised beds are finished, I still need to decide what to use for the walkway…either gravel, mulch, maybe stone pavers?

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Will be fun to watch gardens grow…
    bet you can’t wait…
    welcome back~

    April 16, 2013
    • Absolutely, I am so looking forward to it – and will certainly share on here. Thanks! Glad to be back 🙂

      April 16, 2013
  2. Ola #

    Fantastic! My partner has just made a similar one for me, which I only have to fill one 🙂 just the one, due to a very small urban back garden.

    I wanted to ask about the wood you used: I researched wood treatments available for raised beds and what I found out seemed really scary 🙂 so we decided to leave the wood untreated. It will rot (according to my father-in-law, in less than a month 😀 – we give it at least a couple of years), but we’re prepared to change it when it does.

    My bed is so small (approx 2 m by 1 m) that anything we would use would definitely seep into the soil. What did you decide on?

    May 2, 2013
    • Ahh, this was also a big conversation we had before making the raised beds! We were concerned about arsenic leaching. There is an amazing and comprehensive article here: We did end up using pressure treated wood, so to minimize any potential leaching we lined the beds with plastic. The article in Fine Gardening goes into serious detail about all the pros and cons of wood selection and even did soil sample testing. After reading about inorganic vs organic arsenic and how much it actually goes into the soil, I felt comfortable using it in these beds (with the plastic liner). Hope that helps!

      May 2, 2013

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