This blog is about my experience with raised garden boxes. I am going to preface this by saying that I am a terrible gardener. I garden firstly, because you have to when you have a property with a yard or it will become overgrown and your neighbours will complain. Secondly, I garden because I like pretty flowers. Thirdly, I cook, so having vegetables grow in a garden seems like a good idea. But, my year’s bounty tends to be small and misshapen. I also want to add that I am fairly successful at herbs, so not all bad.
Problems With The Garden Boxes
I asked my husband @geraintthewelsh to build me these raised garden boxes a couple of years ago. They look to be great garden beds, but we have learned that there are a couple of problems with them:
- They are too big. Once filled with earth, these big boys are impossible to move. @Geraintthewelsh had to go to great lengths just to shift them a bit to do some repairs.
- Containers should be filled half-way with, basically, stuff to take up space. A trick that I recently learned from @Plaids.and.poppies is to fill the bottom with used plastic pots or other products crumpled in the bottom to use up space, but to also help with drainage. I filled some pots this year with contents from my recycling bin. If we had done that with these beds, they would not be as heavy.
- Placement is key. Our garden beds are on the north side of our house. This is not the ideal place for a garden, but there is no logical place to put a garden bed on the south of our house, since that is where our screened-in porch is. As a result things don’t grow well.
- Fill with clean earth. The earth we ordered was full of weeds. We ordered one of those big bags of earth and so many weeds came with it we could not tell the plants from weeds the first year. I replace the top several inches of earth each year but the weeds seem to persist excessively.
What I Have Learned
It has taken me a while to figure out what will grow in these containers and I am still learning. It doesn’t make sense to grow broccoli or cauliflower in a bed this size. Those things grow to be big and take all of the resources of the bed.
For now I am sticking with tomatoes, cucumbers lettuce and onions – basically the makings of a salad. Last year these things came out a bit misshapen and/ or small. Whether it is worth the effort for salad contents, I am not sure, but we will give it another try.
I hope my experience helps you in your planning for a raised garden bed. If you have tips to pass on to improve the garden bed experience let me know.