I have been interested in gardening since I was a kid. I remember going with my grandfather to his garden to pick vegetables. I loved picking the fresh vegetables and eating them as part of our lunch.
As an adult, I have tried to have a vegetable garden. I had a small house with probably only 1/8 of an acre of land. I planted tomatoes and peppers around the perimeter of the house and I had more tomatoes than my family could eat. I gave them to neighbors, friends and family. When frost threatened the abundance of green tomatoes on the vine, I picked them and canned green tomato relish, or “Chow Chow”. It was delicious.
Fast forward. I moved into a home with almost an acre of land. Finally! I could have a large garden and grow a real abundance of many different vegetables. NOPE! The ground at my new house was Rock. Hard. Georgia. Clay. Nothing grew. I invested a lot of money and got very little in return. Imagine my disappointment. What was I to do? I decided that I had to accept the fact that I would not be able to have a garden.
Then I discovered Mel Bartholomew’s book, “Square Foot Gardening”. I had to try it. My husband built our raised beds at our previous home. We did well with the raised beds, so we decided to build more here. Our first beds were built with scrap lumber from our deck (my husband basically rebuilt our deck).
The beds on the far right in the picture below were built with the old deck scraps.
The beds in the middle and left are pre-fab kits that we found at Sam’s Club. They were around $40 and were very quick and easy to assemble. They are not as deep as our DIY version, but I love the ease of building them. You can find them on samsclub.com. HERE. For the dirt mixture, you can follow the recipe in the Square Foot Gardening book. We ended up just making a mix of peat moss, composted manure, mushroom compost, and top soil. It is also a good idea to work in some perlite or vermiculite to lighten the soil.
I have planted lettuce, onion, potatoes, beets and swiss chard. They are already starting to sprout. The green that you see in the middle bed above is Greek Oregano–it was planted last Spring and survived over the winter! WooHoo!