Raised Garden Beds


Two weekends ago, Gary and I cleared out our raised garden beds, topped them off with new soil, and planted seeds and seedlings. We planted heirloom carrots, beets, radishes, arugula, mustard greens, mescalin lettuce mix, onions, cherry tomatoes, herbs of all sorts, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, and beans. Since it’s the start of the fall planting season here in Florida, our crops should be ready for eating at the end of October.

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For those wondering how much time and space gardens take, believe me, I once wondered the same thing. Gardens seemed daunting, and the time spent didn’t seem to outweigh the money saved. Until, that is, I married a farm boy.

Gary grew up on a farm in Southern Illinois; his parents grew enough with their one acre to feed a family of five around the 12 months of the year. What they couldn’t eat in the summer, they processed, canned, froze and pickled. What I’ve learned from them and Gary is that, yes, it does take time to grow and keep produce, but both the cost and flavor factors are well worth the energy.

We live in the heart of our mid-sized college town surrounded by neighbors on all sides, yet we’ve managed to squeeze five garden beds in our backyard. Gary put in a drip irrigation system so we don’t have to water it ourselves (this saves on water, too, since it drips a prescribed amount right into the soil instead of some of it evaporating into the air, like with sprinklers.)

Spending a few weekends a year to re-haul the garden is well worth it; the countdown now begins until the first harvest.

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