How My Garden Grows: Building Raised Beds and Planting Leafy Greens

foodnotlawns
Via Grow Food, Not Lawns

I see a lot of pictures like the above on Facebook and Pinterest, and after watching food and farming documentaries,  they get me riled up. This spring, I put my money where my mouth is and started a vegetable garden in my parents’ backyard.

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I started by building a raised bed. I’ve seen lots of complex tutorials online with measuring and stakes and using plastic or landscaping cloth, but here’s how I did it.

Quick’n’Dirty Raised Bed

2 Untreated Cedar Planks (mine are 8 feet by 2-in by 6-in. Or something close to that.) Home Depot can cut one in half for you if you ask them nicely.

A Drill

Screws

4-6 bags organic soil

Shovel

Trowel

Baby plants or seeds

1. Pick a spot for your raised bed. It should get a good amount of light, and be free of grass, if possible. If there is grass, dig it up and till the soil beneath it. I used a shovel for both these things. Yes, I know you can rent a sodder or use a tiller tool, but I just had a shovel. Yes, it was kinda hard and took some time, but I also felt like a farmer.

2. Assemble the planks by screwing them together to form a rectangle frame. Using a power drill made me feel…powerful.

3. Level your de-grassed area as much as you can and place the frame on top of the soil. Then use your shovel to dig out any uneven spots so that the frame lays as level as possible.

4. Begin to dump in the bags of organic soil and mix it in with the existing dirt.

5. Now you can wait a couple days for the soil to settle. Though I read that I was supposed to do this, I didn’t.

6. Plant your baby plants according to the little directions they come with.

7. Water and watch them grow!

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In the bed, I planted rainbow chard, kale, spinach, arugula, red cabbage, and rhubarb. Then I went on a planting spree, pot-style.

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Wheatgrass, mixed microgreens, an orange pepper plant, mint, something from seeds I forgot, rosemary.

And I found this cool pot to plant strawberries in!

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First berry to ripen! It was a snack for a little animal before I got a chance to pick it.
First berry to ripen! It was a snack for a little animal before I got a chance to pick it.

About four weeks in, they’ve already grown so much!

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Now that it’s Spring, I’m back to big salads for lunch. I’ve been picking the greens “base” from the garden bed, then adding red peppers, saurkraut, black beans, beets and nori. Mmmm.

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Seeing the garden so lush and growing gets me super sappy. I get all warm and fuzzy, getting nourished from the Earth and being a little more self-sustainable. And sticking it to Big Agro is nice too.


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