Last year my vegetable garden was brand new. The area consisted of lawn at the start of April but over the lawn we built 5 raised beds and created one in-ground bed. The garden thrived but it was a small space so this year I was set on expansion. In addition to the existing raised beds several new boxes were added including a 4 x 8 bed which was built specifically for my new strawberry plants.
|Strawberry plants happily at home in the straw!|
I liked the idea of putting strawberries in a raised bed because, as a ground cover, these plants would have been constantly trying to escape into the lawn if they were planted in-ground.
I also find the raised beds to be really good for root vegetables. The soil I mix is quite light and I have never had an easier time pulling carrots so this year I added one entire 4 x 4 raised box just for carrots.
The other benefit of a raised bed is that the ground in them warms up faster than the earth below them. Tomatoes like to be warm so all the tomatoes were placed in raised beds. We are growing indeterminate tomatoes this year which require some form of trellising so the added benefit is that trellising was easily attached to the boxes. Lady luck was with us this spring as we found enough wood in the garage, left by the previous owner, to build all of the trellising for free.
Not all the beds added were raised boxes. A sod cutter was rented and many in-ground beds were added this year. Perennial vegetables such as rhubarb and asparagus were put in these beds as well as plants that don't root deeply such as spinach and lettuce.
|Lettuce planted in-ground. Surface roots mean I |
didn't have to dig the beds as deeply.
And since I can't have just vegetables in my vegetable garden flowers like nasturium, borage, and lilies were added for colour.
|These annual cosmos were started indoors for early blooms|
This was hubby's idea. I wasn't sure what I would do with this at first and considered planting in rows like a traditional garden. But then I thought it would be easier to break it into squares and paths were added.
It has become, inadvertantly, a herb garden. Chives that were getting overrun by weeds in other parts of the garden were brought here. Lemon balm and oregano from the plant sale moved in. Basil seedlings needed a place to live. Dill, and cilantro seeds were planted. It has also become slightly overrun with flowers. Chamomile, zinnias, bachelor's buttons, dahlia tubers, feverfew, marigolds and cosmos seedlings have all moved in. Last but not least, a cherry tomato and pepper plant that followed me home from the nursery also are living in this spot.
All these beds and would you believe one bed created with the sod cutter was left untouched! I ran out of energy and it has been covered with a mixture of newsprint, cardboard, boxboard, straw and compost. It will sit until next spring when I can dig it over and expand the vegetable garden some more.