Friday, August 21, 2020

Breaking away from the Raised Garden Craze: Vegetable Garden with a Brick Border

Happy middle/late summer everyone! My next few posts are all about gardening! I know, I know I promised I was going to do a continuation of my window post but alas my DIY ADD strikes again so my window is on hold until after I share my new found love of growing my own healthy foods. Plus I had to get this gardening series in before the fall or I’d have to wait until next year and that just won't do. So yes, I'm super late posting this "should have been springtime" project but it literally took me forever to complete my garden because well, I’m a novice gardener and I did all the backbreaking work by myself at a slower than normal pace.

I must admit I’ve wanted a raised garden for years but never had the time to put one in. I think they look nice and clean with their boxy corners and naturally have good soil since you put it in yourself, so you don’t have to worry about clay, acidic soil, etc.

I finally had a chance this spring/summer to put in my vegetable garden because I’ve been stuck at home with my compromised immune system during the Covid-19 pandemic. I’m super excited to share my new garden from conception to completion with you all!

It started one warm spring day when I was outside weeding around the deck. I started thinking about my elusive garden when I remembered we had a ton of scalloped concrete edger stones that one of Cory's cousins gave to us. So being the thrifty person that I am I decided to scrap the idea of doing raised garden beds that would ultimately cost me lots of $$ in wood and go the free route with concrete edgers around the fence line.

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Here's a pic of my scalloped concrete edgers. We have a bunch left even after I laid out my garden (which is when I took this pic). They are pretty affordable, around $2 a piece and readily available at your local hardware store. So even if I didn't have this large stash piled up on the side of my house it still would have been cheaper to go this route than raised garden beds.

I lugged some edgers to the side of my yard and laid them all out in a shape that took up minimal size on the edge of the fence and looked pleasing to my eye. I really didn't want the traditional rectangle garden in the middle of the yard look. I wanted to maximize the space in my yard and create a classy looking area that would blend in with the yard.

My kiddos helped a bit, mostly to keep me company while I dug the grass out of each section. Jackson put some grass chunks in buckets for me which was a grueling process. We dumped our grass and dirt buckets out at my mother in laws house in the shell of her sadly collapsed pool that needed to be filled in. Lugging the heavy buckets was quite honestly the hardest part, and I'm sure there are much easier ways but I had to get rid of the grass and dirt somehow!

Brynlee really enjoyed playing with the worms and talking to them. Even if she doesn't remember how much fun she had with those worms I will forever recall how absolutely adorable it was having her beside me keeping me company chatting it up with her worm friends.

I spent more days than I'd like to admit digging and lugging heavy buckets that I can wholeheartedly say I am ecstatic that I only have to do that part once!

After I finished digging out the sections I put topsoil down and mixed it in with the soil that was already there with a garden rake.

I managed to get the two smaller sections completed in the early summer and planted a "salad garden" in the smallest section. I've had many salads with the different lettuces that I planted and continue to harvest the arugula and even though it has flowered it still has a pleasant taste (I have so much to learn about harvesting and maintaining all the different vegetables).

Here's a pic of my salad garden section now. It got a little wind thrashed during the derecho that came through a couple weeks ago and my tomato plant has completely taken over but I'm still getting a great harvest of arugula and yellow cherry tomatoes!

In the triangular section I planted an herb garden. I've used the dill and basil a ton and plan on freezing or drying most of the herbs for winter use. Again it looked much tider in the early summer as the derecho knocked down my dill plants but I'm still getting a great harvest of all my herbs: Sage, Thyme (hiding under my massive Basil), Basil, Purple Basil, Parsley, Dill, Rosemary and Lavender. I also put a Foxglove in the back that I got from Mother's Day that should fill in nicely in the next couple of years.

The last and biggest section of my garden took me forever to complete. I didn't get it done until well into July. Lucky for me you can still plant winter vegetables! I planted a bunch of winter seeds that I got off Amazon. My large garden section includes organic yellow potatoes (that I planted from sprouted potatoes), cucumber, brussel sprouts, carrots, radishes, broccoli, and beans and peas that I planted around my bean tower that I received as a white elephant gift a couple years ago. I can't wait for the tower to fill in!

Here's a couple pics of the whole garden. It's just big enough that I am not overwhelmed and I've already made many meals with my vegetables and herbs.

It was hard for me to get a good picture of the whole garden because we also decided to put in a pool during this "social distance" summer and the only place (according to JULIE) that we could put it was right next to my garden.

Overall I love my new garden! All the backbreaking work was totally worth it to have fresh herbs and vegetables for my family to enjoy. I definitely don't regret my decision to make my concrete edged garden over raised garden beds. I'm also hoping my children will remember gardening in their later years and look fondly back on the memories and perhaps have a garden of their own.

Despite my very late in the season garden post I hope you all enjoyed my take on a vegetable garden and stay tuned for a couple more outdoor/garden related posts!


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