The first summer we moved into our house and got married just 2 months later so we didn’t build a vegetable garden until the second summer. The first summer was about just moving in and cleaning things up to have our wedding at home.
So the second summer, we got right to it. We built a few raised bed gardens (instructions to build) around the house. Three smaller beds now hold the strawberries after failed asparagus attempts. One large bed holds the vegetables. For the veggies, we picked a nice sunny spot that was tucked in a corner of the yard. Unfortunately it was a little far from the house for watering and the view from the house soon became obscured by the mountains of wood my husband cuts, chops and splits.
After 6 years, it was a little worse for wear. Every year Kevin adds some more compost or manure to the bed and uses the rototiller, so the sides had taken a bit of a beating so we decided to rebuild it. We had originally used some salvaged rough boards – hemlock I think because it is so hard. We were able to reuse most of that wood and added some longer pieces so overall it was much larger, but not quite as high. We moved it father from the wood and a bit closer to the house so it is much more visible.
It would have been nice to really dig out all of the grass, but it was much too dense and thick to do by hand. We just rotatilled and pulled out some of the grass that was easy to get on top. In retrospect, I think it would have been helpful to have covered it with black plastic last year and over the winter to kill off any grass, but I was recovering from having baby #2 and we didn’t do anything last year, but build the new frame.
We had LARGE pieces of cardboard from the deck furniture, so we opened the boxes all up and had plenty to layer over the rotatilled lawn to help kill off the grass below. Then we dumped on a couple of truckloads of dirt from the garden supply place. We added 5 bags of dried manure. It was still pretty stinky and it was nice and dark. The dirt we got first was pretty blah so we also added some of the dirt from the old bed. We are building the new compost pile right next to it (see the fence!) and also dump the wood stove ashes there too so we will have some good compost to add next year. But man do we need to do something about the horrid fence!
This year we planted lettuce, tomatoes, zucchini, rosemary, basil, and some giant pumpkin seeds. We had been given a few pumpkin seeds by a farmer who was into competitive pumpkin growing so who only knows what we will get! We have never had much luck with pumpkins, but with these suckers I hope we can get at least a nice size one, even if it isn’t gigantic. We threw down some old pavers to make weeding easier in the middle!