starting our raised garden

Last year we worked HARD getting our garden going…well the more I thought about it I realized the location we picked wasn’t the best in regards to long term planning. I drew up the plans for my vegetable, fruit and flower garden. It will take about 5 phases to complete it – which means probably 5 years. Well over the weekend I started Phase 1: building the first 9 raised beds. I used these directions from Pioneer Woman, but modified them to adapt to my needs and land.

I grew up loving the smell of freshly cut pine from my grandpa and dad’s tablesaws. My parent’s always let my sister and I get involved in building stuff. In fact, in 8th grade I decided I wanted smooth walls instead of textured. My parents said if I wanted smooth walls I had to do it myself….and thus as a 14 year old girl I mudded and sanded my entire room. It was a MESS, but worth it. I want my boys to enjoy building too, so I planned ahead on ways they could help. All the boards had to be pre-drilled, so I made a little template that allowed the boys to mark all the drilling holes for me. They were great helpers.

Pioneer Woman’s instructions were just to pre-drill the main board, but I kept stripping screws. I ended up pre-drilling both boards. She also made hers 2 boards high, I only wanted mine 1 board high.

Since my boxes were only one board high the stakes were too long, so those had to be cut down.

Every farm needs a horse. Ours came in the form of Baby Sister wearing Littlest Brother’s old costume. It’s made head to toe of fleece…kept her warm. Made me laugh. Yes, the excersaucer is in the middle of the field. I was hoping to keep my little horse from eating hay.

She wasn’t fond of being confined, so I stacked two boxes, put down a blanket and made a garden playpen. Littlest Brother wanted in too.

I love how they always end up sitting so close together.

I attempted to hammer all the stakes in using a normal hammer…Pioneer Woman recommends a Sledge Hammer. I ended up sending Chris to Lowe’s to pick one up…much easier. The ground was soggy so the stakes went in easy. Our land is all bumpy and crazy. The boxes are level, but we’ll have to bring in a lot of dirt to even up the ground. Part of the long term plan also includes more boxes, a fence, an entrance, potted planets, gravel walkways….all kinds of beautiful goodness that will take me years to complete. One day I’ll sit in the middle of the beauty and sip some southern sweet tea.

Chris take a picture for me to post to the world what a huge DORK I am.

I need to transplant strawberries asap, so I got one bed almost ready for planting. It took lots of digging, manure, Starbucks grounds and some soil additive. Did you know Starbucks gives out Grounds for Gardens for free. Be careful how much you add to your soil, just a little goes a long way. More soil should be coming soon. Part of me hopes it rains while we have the dirt mound….the boys (and mom) love a little fun in the mud!

So much work to do, but when I’m eating all that salad and strawberries I will be one happy girl. Big thanks to Chris for being on kid patrol all weekend!

It is birthday week around here again…but Littlest Brother doesn’t understand it yet, so I am off the hook one more year πŸ™‚

Happy Monday!

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  • Alba - you’re a brave girl. so much work with the help of your boys. nice little horse! I would love to have space to have my own vegetable garden. take it easy!

  • Jill R - This looks like so much fun! I thought I got a lot accomplished this weekend…..boy, was I wrong. Love the picture of your little horse!

  • amanda torres - I have a MAJOR crush on TPW! I love your beds. Great job! I also like the Charlie’s Angels shot with the drill. Super sexy!

  • jay - try food scraps as first layer, decomposition will create heat -> warmer feet -> faster growth πŸ™‚

  • Cate O'Malley - Is there no end to your talents? Color me impressed! Love the little horse.

  • Ruth - Love it! Space…and land is what I do not have here. Can’t wait to see your garden grow.

  • heidi - i love that you are the one doing the work, and that chris was the one on kid patrol. your little horse made my day!

  • Robyn Lee - Love it! This makes me want to have a garden…. not possible in an apartment building. I know it’s crazy, but reading your blog makes me want a house and! Thanks for all your fun ideas!
    P.S.- Love the pic of you with the drill! You rock!

  • jay - p.s. do you realize that miracle grow is petroleum based? I mean OIL!!! the oil coming from Saudi Arabia, country where it is illegal for women to drive? the more we consume oil, the more powerful men who abuse women are. give it up for consumerism!!! (fun facts of the day πŸ™‚

    Love your work and Charlie Angel photos!! πŸ™‚

  • Sarah - Oh my gosh, you rock! I’ve been begging my family for power tools for years. I have so many ideas that require power tools. I’m showing them your pics. In their defense I am a bit of a clutz, but you are very inspirational. I can’t believe you mudded and sanded your own walls, at 14! Very, very cool.

  • Sara - You’re definitely my new hero! The work with the drill and the saw is amazing! It will be worth it, for sure. I think that you will inspire me in trying to use a drill!!! I never done that, just thought it was a tool made for men…

  • Jill E. - looks so wonderful! one of my dreams to to grow my own food and it is amazing that you are doing the MANual labor, pardon the lame joke. love baby sister in the horse outfit.

  • Georgia Davis - We did a raised box garden last year. Worked really well! My goal is to get out there and get started on it for this season soon. I’m also trying to start up a compost. I’m to cheap to by soil. See if they have this book at your library “All New Square Foot Gardening.” It has been my gardening bible. Looks great!

  • jay - me again:) if you lay cardboard or 8 layers of newspaper before adding manure, compost etc. you will save your back from weeding… I would share photos, but your blog does not allow it πŸ™‚ it will decompose in a matter of, oh a year and it will smother the roots of unwanted plants!!!

    happy day! πŸ™‚

  • Jolie - Great beds!!!
    …and here I’m betting Chris wants a copy of the Charlie’s Angel drill pose for on his desk!!! πŸ™‚

  • Abby - YAY!! How awesome to see another power tool loving mama in action. Good luck with your new patch!

  • robyn - im BEYOND impressed. i can not so much as keep my basil plant or mum’s alive so much as plant an entire garden. never mind the fact that your building this beauty WITH your children.
    you have inspired me to get my kids helping more instead of occupying them to do other things while i get stuff done.

  • Jodi - I started my square foot raised garden last year! It was sooo addicting, I loved it. I don’t have near the land you have….(I am uber jealous….I mean uber) but I still had a beautiful little raised garden. I can’t wait to get started this year, we have a late planting season so I still have a ways to go…but I am starting my seedlings soon. You should enter baby sister’s photo in I Heart Faces Bundled Up theme this week. You/she would soooo kick butt and it would bring in more people to discover your little gem you have here. Good luck on your garden, you are a person after my own heart. Big family, big garden, beautiful photos. You are awesome!

  • Cynthaz - They look great. I just wanted to make sure you are using untreated pine to make your beds. Treated pine will leach chemicals into the soil and contaminate your vegetables, making them unsafe to eat. I hope I haven’t been the bearer of bad news here. We use untreated hardwood sleepers around our veggie beds as I haven’t been unable to source untreated pine locally.

  • Sarah - Ashley- you blow my mind, I can’t get over all of the amazing things that you do. I never get half of this kind of stuff done and I don’t have kids to try and wrangle at the same time. Thank you for the inspiration.

  • Rachel Ridd - This looks like tons of work – i applaud you!

  • rachel denbow - I had grand plans for this little scene in our backyard but it didn’t happen during spring break due to…lots of unexpected reasons πŸ˜‰ However, next weekend I’m ready to tackle it! We’re probably only going to do two small boxes or one long 4′ x 8′. I tend to kill living plants so I thought we should start small for our first season!

    Can’t wait to see this progress! And I’m so impressed with your tool handling skills!

  • maegan - How fun! We have ONE raised garden planned. Hopefully we’ll get to it this weekend.

  • Heather - You ARE wonder woman!! It really is a ton of work, but so fun once it’s set up. Our garden started out small and slowly over time it’s gotten a bit larger and larger. It’s so awesome to do with the kids, too. You guys are going to love your new garden!!

  • pamela - yippee! i hope to be doing this as well in a few weeks!

  • the inadvertent farmer - I didn’t think I could love your site anymore…I was wrong. My gardener’s heart is in love with this post! Great job and I hope you have a great abundance of goodies from your new garden, kim

  • julie - do you think that I could float one or two of these in my pool?

  • Dawn - SUCH great pictures! We don’t have raised beds, but I wish we did. Either way, gardening will happen this year, right? I am excited to follow your gardening with Inadvertent Farm! This will be fun!

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