I’ve spent a considerable amount of time over the last eight years thinking about getting a kitchen garden started; now is the time for action.
When we first bought our “new” house, I began thinking on a very large scale, green house sized kitchen garden with plenty to share and an extended growing season. Now that I’ve been here a while and am thinking more realistically, I think I’ll start with a small raised 4-feet-by-6-feet bed kitchen garden to supplement our herbs and vegetables during the summer months.
Three things factor into plotting out a location for the garden; water access, sunlight and accessibility; for the longest time the water access was the factor that has held me back, but I recently figured out that with a minor plumbing change I can have access on the back side of my house. The area I’ve scoped out doesn’t have ideal accessibility, but I can see it from both my bedroom and my kitchen and is only a little out of the way to get to. The best part about my future plot is the sun situation; it will have sun from early morning till late afternoon and is perfect for a garden.
The best options for building materials for a raised bed garden have been a topic of discussion for a while now. I’ve eliminated both pressure treated wood and cement block due to chemical leaching and bricks for the expense, this leaves me with wood. I’ll leave the grade selection up to my husband the contractor; high grade wood is more expensive and will likely last longer and low grade wood is more cost effective but he’ll be replacing it in a couple of years; we’ll need 1- 2-inch-by-8feet-by-12-inch board and 1-2-inch-by-12-feet-by12-inch. In either case, I’ll brush on a food safe sealer on the wood before we finish off the box.
The sight I’ve chosen is relatively level and won’t need much work to get the bed set in place, as an added bonus, I’ve selected a location that already has a large boulder just surfacing and causing a mowing hazard. Ground weeds can be kept from growing through the bottom of the bed by placing black and white newspaper from our recycle bin over the top of the ground before we add the soil in; the newspaper is biodegradable and keeps much needed sunlight from the weeds underneath long enough to kill them off. I won’t need to buy any organic material since we’ve been composting leaves since we moved here and are now looking for uses for the results. By my estimation I’ll need about 24 cubic feet of soil, lots of trips by wheel barrow; I’ll add in a few bags of cow manure and some peat moss to help boost nutrients and help the soil retain water.
After eight years of mulling, I’m excited to get started on my garden. Though the ground is still covered in snow the calendar tells me that I’ll need to get busy if I want to meet the planting schedule for the first few crops I want to plant; asparagus, spinach and cabbage.
I found a planting schedule for our zone on-line; take a look if you are interested: http://www.thevegetablegarden.info/resources/planting-schedules/zones-5-6-planting-schedule