"If you are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade; plant trees; if you are planning for a lifetime, educate people"
|First Garden Raised Bed|
|Blueberry Shrub 1 (planted summer 2011|
came back spring/summer 2012)
|"Reaping the benefits"|
|Blueberry Shrub 2 (planted summer 2011 and came back spring/summer2012)|
The past three summers I had planted organic edible nutritional foods. Last year, summer 2012, I had decided that I wanted to plant vegetables in the ground but in a garden raised bed formation. Normally, I would just plant tomatoes in the ground, herbs and strawberries in pots. First I laid out a plan and did research on how to go about creating my very own garden raised bed. After healing for two months from having a major surgery (March 2012) in removing endometriosis and fibroids I knew I had to kick my health in high gear in keeping healthy and eating non-toxic foods. I wanted to grow foods that would help benefit my health, save money on grocery bills, and pass on to family and friends. I had made several trips to the farmer's markets and Home Depot to get supplies. It was very hard to narrow my list of plants I wanted to grow in the bed. I had to sit and think what I wanted most and what can save me money in buying certain produce in the supermarket that was expensive and hard to find.
What did I decide on to "reap the benefits" in?
- Bok Choy
- Mesculin Lettuce
- Sweet Basil
- Cayenne Pepper
- Yellow Tomatoes
- Red Tomatoes
- Kirby Cucumbers
- Green Peppers
- Turkish Figs
- Bay Leaves
- Aloe Vera
Wow, right? I got so overwhelmed in buying seed packets and sprout seedling plants from the farmer's market (Union Square NYC) that I out grew my garden raised bed before I had officially put it together. I was so excited in the idea of building a raised bed that I bought so much seed packets. This year I was able to use some of them in planting for this summer garden 2013. This is why you need a written out plan on what you want and how would you organize it.
How did I go about it?
- Set a budget. How much are you willing to spend on material.
- How much labor and time are you willing to put in. A garden is "manual" labor.
- Maintenance is extremely important. Just like humans plants need to be feed and properly cared, such as, the environment and soil has to be right, physical check ups observing the plants making sure they are not under attack from pests and diseases. Fighting pests off with non-toxic homemade remedies.
Gardening is an emotional and spiritual experience. You connect yourself to a world of nature and planting a tree gives a legacy for generations to come. It helps you to relieve stress and spending 45 minutes or more is equivalent to doing time at the gym.
Gardening is beneficial to overall health because it helps:
- Burns calories
- Speed weight loss
- Relieves stress
When you garden you are constantly bending, standing, stooping, lifting, kneeling, shoveling, weeding, and watering can burn more than 300 calories an hour. How about that! (I sure did burn a lot the past two weeks - outside for 3 hours!) My legs, shoulders, arms, and especially inner thighs were so sore I couldn't walk or bend for a few days.
|Make a trip to a store that carries gardening materials|
- A garden raised bed easy assemble kit.
- Garden soil (the number of bags depends on the measurements of how big your garden raised bed will be)
- Peat Moss
- Tomato cage
- Trellis (cucumbers)
- Weed Block
*Make sure you have a good shovel and garden gloves (protect those hands).
Gather all your plants that you would like to plant and water them so that you are able to loosen the roots a bit.
|Plants waiting to be transplanted to garden bed|
Now find a location in which you would like to have the garden raised bed. Clear the area from weeds, roots, debris, etc.
|Perfect spot for the garden raised bed|
Find a location for your tomatoes if you do not want them in the raised bed.
|Tomatoes were neighbors to my blueberry shrubs|
|Dig hole about the size of an 8inch flower pot|
|Root source unknown|
Have your material laid out and on hand next to your working area. This will help keep you from going back and forth in lifting the materials.
|Place materials next to your working area|
Time to assemble your formation of the raised bed. Fortunately, I found something simple for me to put together since I'm not a carpenter person. (By the way, recruit helpers if you feel the need for extra hands). This raised bed kit was on sale at Home Depot for $29.99 plus tax. This kit you do not have to drill any holes just lock and click. Simple as that!
|This kit was easy to assemble.|
|4 ft x 4 ft|
Now measure and cut your natural weed block mat to go underneath. This will help prevent weeds from shooting up in your raised bed.
|Weed Block prevents weeds from coming into your raised bed.|
|Ready for soil and peat moss|
Grab your soil and peat moss. Start mixing it in.
|Warning this does smell like manure|
|Helps with drainage and moisture|
|Ready for plants or seeds|
Grab your plants to transplant. I had planted some seeds in the front row, mesculin lettuce, beets, and kale in the next row.
|Transplanting plants pinch the bottom of roots so it can spread out|
|Add mulch on top|
|Add mulch around the raised bed|
Garden raised bed done.
Back to the tomatoes...
Also added more mulch to my blueberry shrubs (planted them summer 2011)
Water your plants.
*It's best to water your plants early morning or evening.
|Repotted my aloe vera plant|
amazing how quickly it multiplies with several leaves
Enjoy the beauty of your flowers...
Relax and pray for abundance of fruits from your hard labor.