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The Art of Raised Bed Gardening

May 2, 2024


The Art of Raised Bed Gardening

The Art of Raised Bed Gardening

Building the Raised Beds!


Over the years, we’ve periodically discussed that we would like to start gardening and growing the fruits and vegetables that we most often eat. The conversation always seems to end though with where exactly we would do this. You see, we live in a traditional residential neighborhood and we don’t have a lot of spare room. All available flowerbeds are spoken for and planted with what are now after almost 20 years, mature plants. One thing that we know for sure is, where there is a will, there is a way.


It seems that over the years we have also become more health conscious. Maybe that’s because we’re getting older and it’s more important with each passing year or maybe it’s just because we know more and have learned more now about the overall quality and health of the food we are all purchasing.


This past March, we decided we were just going to go for it, and, we knew it was going to require a great deal of work. I guess anything worth having always does. We live on a corner and the West side of our home is fenced off from the backyard and was designed as a place for our utility trailer to park as well as where our yard care shed is located and where we had our pool equipment tucked away so it’s out of the line of sight in our backyard. We also have a retaining wall with a flowerbed that is about 4 feet in depth by about 25 feet in length. We had some very mature Pygmy Date Palms in that flowerbed. We also had some mint that was pervasive in that bed as well as some Aloe Vera that had become more of a ground cover that had intermingled with the mint. We decided we would move the Pygmy Date Palms into various locations in our backyard and hired a man who knew how to relocate these (without killing them) to come out one Saturday in mid-March to help us.  We then got to work clearing the rest of the flowerbed of the ground cover that had taken over.

This is one of the Palms we Moved!

Slowly but surely, we got everything cleared out and now had a blank slate from which to work from. We decided we would construct 3 raised bed gardens, 6 feet in length by 2 feet in width and 12 inches high each. This would give us a total of 36 square feet of gardening space to work with. Todd bought a book called the All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew and we’ve learned quite a bit from this book but still a lot of it left to read. There are also a lot of very good YouTube channels on raised bed gardening that have been a wealth of information for us.


We also had determined that we wanted to allocate a bit of room to try out some vertical growing for tomatoes, cucumber, and maybe some snow peas or something else that is a vine. I’m sure we’ll add some additional items to the trellis as we learn a bit more about that particular process of growing.

Check out our video diary of the construction!

After we got the initial garden bed frames built, we brushed the inside of each box with Boiled Linseed Oil which will act as a natural preservative for the wood and not be harmful to any of our plants (and us) from a chemical perspective. We then stained the exterior of each box with a sandstone stain that turned out quite nicely. Todd picked up some 2” x 2.5” x 8’ pieces to make an edge cap for each of the raised bed frames and we then spray painted them a dark brown color that makes for a very nice, contrasted look to the sandstone-colored sides. It was now time to construct the trellis for the vine plants we would be growing. We decided we would only make them 6’ in total height and built them up in one of the raised bed frames we had constructed. We purchased a Greenhouse Trillising Kit from Amazon which the vines will trellis up on.


Linda found some nifty little edge cap solar lights and it was interesting to find that when we eventually opened them up to install, they were a dead match to the brown color we had spray-painted our edge pieces with. It looked like we had planned that perfectly out!

It was now time to fill the raised beds up with soil and we knew this had the potential of being one of the most expensive parts of this project. We determined to not buy individual bags of soil but, to reduce cost, we needed to buy in bulk. After looking around and a bit of investigation, we ended up purchasing one yard of soil from Rosenbalm Rockery in Madera. We purchased a ½ yard of their Pro-Blend Mix and a ½ yard of their compost for a total of $66 dollars and had Todd’s truck filled up and headed home. We had to make two trips with ½ yard each trip. Once we filled up each raised bed, we purchased a couple of bags of steer manure for each raised bed to top them off.


Now that this was done, we purchased a ½ yard of decomposed granite and disbursed the DG around the exterior of each raised bed to cover all the dirt in the flowerbed so we would have a nice (and mud-free) surface to navigate around for gardening.


We were almost done at this point and the last thing to do was to install the drip irrigation. Todd spent a bunch of time on the DripDepot.com website and designed an irrigation system using ½” tubing for the backhaul to each raised bed with a series of 3 5/8” drip line tape in each bed. Each bed also has a shut-off valve to turn off the water in that individual bed. There is also a filter installed so the lines don’t get clogged up with sediment and a pressure regulator to reduce the line pressure to 15 PSI.

Now that this raised bed project is officially completed, we need to start purchasing some plants. We do however know that there will be a lot of trial and error as we develop our proverbial green thumb. This should be an interesting long-term experiment for us as we take our organic diet to the next level.

Drop us a line if you’re interested in more BLOG posts on how we progress with raised bed gardening.

All our best!




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