• Jenn

Raised or In-ground Garden?

Were you ever lucky enough as a kid to have your grandmother grow the most beautiful garden? I remember as a kid stealing peas and raspberries out of my Naney's garden all summer. It was the best thing about summer.

I’ve always wanted to have my own little garden but despite all the green thumbs I’ve descended from I’ve never a developed a knack for the garden.

It looks like Jon will be home significantly more this summer due to COVID-19. As a team perhaps we can develop more of a green thumb this summer.

We started by picking a space in the yard that we both agreed on. It is small but until we get the hang of gardening its better to keep it small. Trust me, I have a dream of a bigger garden, big enough to produce enough veggies to get us through the winter as well as enough produce other treats like salsa and tomato sauces.

We choose the space by the garage because it has good drainage (on a hill) and because it is south facing. We also chose it because it is closer to the house and close to the shed where we keep most of our gardening tools. You can see in some of the photos we used some old pieces of chipboard to stop any animals sneaking around under the garage from getting into the garden.

Next was deciding on an in-ground or raised-bed garden. The soil in our area is mostly clay and it can be hard to work with. There is probably a way to utilize clay in the garden, but our lack of experience makes using the clay even more difficult (maybe one day). So, we decided on a raised bed so that we can just fill it with soil ourselves.

We had some left-over boards from another home project and some black mesh from my last attempt at a herb garden. Jon cut them all to size and stacked them two high (14 inches). With some consultation from our gardening books we determined that 14 inches would be deep enough for the plants that we want to grow. (Stay tuned for the plants we decided to grow and why). After Jon and I put the raised bed together I then of course had to paint it! I am of the mind that anything can be made beautiful with simply a coat of paint. *insert Jon's eye roll here*

We did a bunch of research on soil and composting (I’ll post about the books I’ve used another day). We were torn between just using topsoil and topsoil mixed with manure. We decided to visit our neighbour who just so happens to have a beautiful commercial garden across the road. She told us that she doesn’t use any manure in her garden simply because its hard to transport and hard to spread (she doesn't have the equipment to do so). She recommended sticking with topsoil and enhancing it with our own compost and ashes from our wood stove (how we heat our house).

So topsoil it is! For years Jon has been piling grass clippings and we have a small pile of our own topsoil out back. We will have to purchase some soil to fill the remaining space in the raised bed.

It is certainly a learning curve. I’m sure as we develop our knowledge we’ll be trying new and different methods to keep our soil alive and healthy and ultimately develop a larger garden!

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