Sunday, March 18, 2012

Adventures in vegetable gardening (pt 1 of 3)

As you can see, last summer's drought killed much of the St. Augustine in our side yard. Rather than re-sodding this sad little sunny spot, I was inspired to start a veggie garden. It should be a better investment since we will (hopefully!) reap a bountiful harvest of fresh produce instead of watering an inevitably thirsty patch of grass over and over.

"Oh no," my husband groaned. "Another project."

But he was soon on board, like a real trooper, shoveling out the weeds and dead sod to make room for installing a raised bed. Our daughter was on earthworm patrol, pointing out all the creepy crawlies for us.

Just because I was taking photos doesn't mean I didn't put in my own sweat equity. Here's the cleared space.

We bought two raised bed kits from Home Depot. At $29.97 each, the Greenes 4-foot-by-4-foot Dovetail Cedar Raised Garden Kit was simple to assemble, with hardware included.

Along the way, we checked to make sure it was level, but with the overall grading of the soil still tilting away from the house and toward the fence for drainage purposes.

Another little helper pitches in after his nap. :)

Originally, we configured the kits in two separate 4x4 ft. beds. That's before I had the "duh" moment that it would have been smarter to make one large rectangle (4x12 ft), essentially adding 33% more planting space.

The next day, I got out there with the drill to reconfigure the beds.

Ah, progress.

Now, on to the soil. I used 4 bags of Miracle-Gro Expand 'n Gro on the bottom, followed by 3 bags of Miracle-Gro 2 cu. ft. Garden Soil for Flowers and Vegetables and 4 bags of .75 cu. ft. generic top soil.

The Expand 'n Grow soil is condensed and dehydrated, so you add water after pouring it.

It's supposed to increase in density up to 3 times out of the bag. For me, it doubled in size after I added water.

Here's the finished result after I got all three soil varieties mixed in, six inches deep. Stay tuned for planting day details! :)

Total project time from start to finish: 6 hours. 

See also:
Part 2
Part 3