We’ve just started ripping out this year’s vegetable garden. The previous owners had put a vegetable garden behind the woodshed, which is a great spot, but they had laid railroad ties between all the rows. This made it really convenient to dig and weed, because I could stand on the railroad ties, but it also took up more than half of the available space.
But when we moved into this house in April, there was no time to rip it all out and start over (and we had a few other things on our minds as well. Moving, for example), so I planted what I could, quickly, and knew it would at least be something.
This is what it looked like in early May:
There were already strawberries in the back left corner, and I planted green beans, carrots, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, and herbs (basil, parsley, dill, cilantro, and rosemary).
Well, it didn’t go all that well. Our entire harvest from the garden consisted of two meals worth of green beans and ten tiny tomatoes.
Why? Well, a groundhog came along and dug a burrow under the compost pile, and he ate all my zucchini, carrots, and most of the green beans. The herbs never came up, no matter how much attention I paid to them. The tomatoes…I don’t really know why the tomatoes didn’t get any bigger than golf balls, but they were tasty nonetheless. And birds ate all the strawberries.
So we picked the last of the tomatoes a few weeks ago, and pulled out all the timbers. To the left of the garden right now is a wooden sandbox frame, full of sand and weeds, that we’ll empty out, and then build an identical box next to it. Here’s what it looks like now:
We’re going to try raised bed gardening next year, double-digging the soil down to about eighteen inches, and using that to fill these boxes, adding a little topsoil and compost. The raised beds should give us a bigger yield with much easier ways to control pests and weeds.
We went to Lowe’s last night to price out what it should cost to built a second raised bed, and it’s about $200 (including the tools we don’t have but should). Lumber, dirt, a garden fork, etc. It’s going to be some back-breaking labor, but it should be worth it, repaying the investment of time and money many times over in the years ahead.