A TrulySimple Garden – building the raised beds, dirt, water, and planting the seeds

May 25, 2010 by

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This post is continuing from Part 1 of Building a Truly Simple Garden

Previously I talked about why I got rid of my front lawn and put in a garden.  I showed the beginning of that process.  In this post I’m going to talk about the building of the raised beds, the dirt, the watering and planting the seeds.

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Here you can see the making of one.  Each box is made from a 4×4 post sunk into the ground 12-18 inches with concrete and the sides are made up of cedar fence boards.  I dug up the old sprinkler system from the lawn and put a line into each box so it would be auto-watering, but more on that in a bit.  The bottom of each box has a layer of wire mesh to keep the gophers out, and the cardboard boxes you see there are to keep the grass/weeds from growing up into the garden.

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I left one end open to help get the wheelbarrows of dirt into them for filling.  Make sure when building your boxes you leave enough room in between for a wheelbarrow or lawnmower etc.  I have enough room, but wish I had a bit more for turning and steering the wheelbarrow.

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I got the dirt for the boxes off of Craigslist.  It was “free” dirt, you only have to pay delivery.  I got both topsoil and compost for the boxes.  I ended up with 15 yards of compost and 10 yards of dirt.  Total delivery cost me $250.   I felt they were a little low and to give me a little extra oomph, I bough some good gardening soil from Home Depot to fill in the top layer.

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25 yards is a lot of dirt to move, but I only had to do it once.  The boxes are now done, except for the sides and corners.  You can see from the first picture I finished those off with more cedar fencing boards.

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As mentioned earlier each box has a water line run to it.  I put a valve on each box so I could shut off or limit the water to each box if needed. To water the boxes I am using a soaker hose.  I was going to run drip irrigation, but to buy all of the different lines, hoses, adapters, and fittings would have cost a lot more and would have taken a lot more time, so I went with simple and easy and just bought a single soaker hose for each box.

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The first soaker hose I bought from Harbor Freight was a cloth mesh and it did not give me all the water I wanted so I ended up returning those and replacing them with a rubber style soaker hose from Home Depot.  These were $9.99 each.

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You can see that style hose picture here.  I simply ran the house around the box and programmed the sprinkler system to water the vegetables for a few minutes 3 times a week.

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For planting the vegetables, I planted everything from seed.  I have a lot to learn in this respect, as I see the garden now overgrowing like crazy, but thats what this project is about; learning something new.  As mentioned in my $3 dollar garden post, I got most of my seeds from the 99 Cent store.  Guess how much?  Only 25 Cents per pack!  I bought a ton of seeds and walked out there spending only a few bucks.

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Everything I planted was from seed, except for some garlic which I had in my fridge that was ready to grow.   I did do some research on companion gardening, and determine which plants like to grow with other plants and which combinations to avoid.

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And thats that.   So far everything has worked out.  My garlic is almost ready to harvest.  I’ve eaten a couple of salads from my lettuce already and I’m totally loving the learning experience.

I’m also loving the feedback from family, friends, and new friends to the site who have told me they are not building a garden.  Thank you for all the feedback.  It truly inspires me.

Ben…

If you’ve got a garden, send me pictures and I’ll put them up on the site.

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