When I was a young girl, my family grew just about everything we ate and we all worked in the garden. When my friends were sleeping late during summer vacation, I was picking and shelling purple hull peas or picking and snapping green beans or picking squash, tomatoes, onions... the list goes on and on. As a teenager I thought I was being mistreated, but now the memories of working in the kitchen with my mom and sisters are some of my favorites. I can still smell the green beans as we stuffed them into fruit jars, while the pressure cooker hissed, and taste the freshly blanched corn that we plunged into a sink full of ice water, while fans hummed to keep us cool without air conditioning. The moment I moved away from home and away from the family garden I missed it. We often don't appreciate something or fully understand how much we appreciate it until we no longer have it. It was 20 years later before I was able to have a garden of my own again, but trying to work full time and have a garden, without a family of six to help, proved to be more work than I could take. Last summer I decided to build some raised beds and it proved to be a good alternative and yielded a lot of produce.
For each bed, I started with 9 cedar fence pickets and one 6ft 4x4 post. I cut 3 of the pickets in half and the post into quarters. Above, I have two beds cut and ready to screw together.
Here they are assembled with a brace inside the long section. I dug holes to seat the posts. This was just to keep them in place. My biggest expense was the soil and compost to fill them. This year I just added more compost and a deep layer of hay for mulch. This will help retain moisture and prevent weeds.
A trellis between the beds helped to keep squash and cucumbers off the ground. As the vines grew, I tied them to the trellis using cheap pantyhose cut into rings. It works perfectly and the color is neutral.
You really can grow a lot of produce in a small space. I grew (God grew...I watched) bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, banana peppers, egg plants, arugula, cucumbers, spaghetti squash, cantaloupes and zucchini squash.
I was very pleased with the outcome and added a third bed with asparagus and strawberries and a couple of wine barrels for tomatoes. Keeping the garden condensed in this fashion makes it more manageable. It's very near the house which makes it easy to water, and run out and pick whatever I need for supper.
There is nothing like fresh vegetables! I'm thankful my parents taught me to garden, even if I didn't appreciate it at the time!
Here's a Heart Rock for your Pocket:
Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. Genesis 1:11
Wishing you God's best,
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