Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Beds are READY

IMG_7181 Dave got right to it, first thing in the morning, which for us is as soon as it is light. He decided and I agreed that the proper spot for the new beds was adjacent to the big bed and back about two feet.


Then they only project into the yard six feet instead of eight. The space between is a large 16 feet, perfect for a future patio…someday, not this year.

These are lasagna beds. NO digging required. The bottom first layer is cardboard, topped with an entire bale of straw, shredded and spread of course, and then 500 lbs of topsoil and another 500 lbs of composted humus and manure. All the seed packets say that the plants perform best in full sun and well drained soil. With this layering they will get fabulous drainage. That little kneeler behind this box is my best friend when planting. I am officially an old lady. Or at least my knees are.


Couldn’t resist a few packets of fresh seed. I am determined to get a crop of green beans this year. I tried last year, but the spot I chose didn’t get enough of anything they needed. Only four seeds sprouted and nothing came of them. With this bed of yummy soil I have more confidence. Same with the zucchini, usually an easy plant to grow, but not in the soil we have. They take up a lot of room, so I will be conservative and not plant the entire packet of seeds. And what about root crops like beets and carrots? I had success with the beets last year and since I found these stubby carrot seeds I am going to give the Chantenay variety a try. Basil. Must have basil. If you don’t buy the seeds early, they run out.

My garden needs Sun, Soil and WATER. Actually I should say WATER , sun and soil.

I am going to shop online for a fancy-arty sprinkler that I can switch on first thing in the morning and run for an hour. This is where having our own well is really great.

I am not going garden-nuts this year. I promise. I walked right past the tomato and cabbage seedlings. I’ll be waiting another month before the tomatoes, cucumber and pepper plants show up in the beds. In the meantime we expect several days of rain, and I can get back to the studio.


  1. Congrats on getting those beds ready. They look terrific! Do you ever think about growing tomatoes in containers? I got a great crop that way with various varieties a couple of years ago. Used some of those wire circular cone "lattice" deals from Home Depot to hold them up when they got big! (Too lazy to make outside soil ready -- so pots were the easy way out!) Love that artsy sprinkler - how pretty is that?

  2. Hi Melody, thanks for this "tutorial" - I'm in the process of preparing for raised beds here in WI and your advice is proving very helpful. Are those amounts of straw/soil/compost for each individual bed, or for the two together?

    I have had really good luck with soaker hoses, which keep the moisture down near the roots and below the plant leaves. Prevents mildewy plant diseases.

    And like Jane, I got great tomatoes in containers. The BEST seeds ever for me were the Tigerellas from SeedsOfChange.com - super performers and fantastic flavor. I'm going to do them again this year (starting them indoors first).

  3. How did you shred the straw?

  4. Oh, I love this idea! Sure beats borrowing a tiller and breaking both our necks shoveling and picking out grass and roots! I may have to try this myself! You go girl! :)

  5. Priscilla,
    the straw is baled and it just comes apart like pages in a book. Very easy.
    I only do easy stuff.

  6. Melody,
    So you don't actually cut the straw into smaller pieces?
    I like to do easy stuff, too.


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