Raised Bed Gardening

Submitted by Faye Mahaffey

OSUE Brown County Master Gardener Volunteer

Growing up on the farm we had a huge garden. My mom and I worked in it every day, and my dad would hoe weeds if they got ahead of us. My mom loved flowers and loved to take a vase of cut flowers to church each Sunday. I remember my Grandpa Haines asking my Mom what she had planted so far, and her reply was, “4 rows of Zinnias, 4 rows of Cosmos and 4 rows of Gladiolas.” Not the answer my Grandpa was looking for!

Raised garden bedAs my parents aged the garden grew smaller. Finally, we built some raised beds for some tomato plants. We were not canning like we had in the past, and we were tired of fighting weeds. It was nice to be able to mow around the beds and spend less time weeding around plants.

When I moved to our current home, the garden was larger. I even attempted to grow some sweet corn, but the raccoons beat me to the harvest. My husband used to have a huge garden because he went up and down between the rows with a tiller. When I arrived on the scene and tried to convince him that tilling so often was creating more weed issues, the garden became mine. I wasn’t interested in canning lots of green beans for just the two of us, so the garden started shrinking in size. I make a batch of pickles every other year and still like to can some chili sauce each year.

Remember the crazy weather we had last summer? Every time it got dry enough in my garden to hoe weeds, it seemed that there were other things I needed to be doing. Then….it would rain again! I threatened to put boards down in between the rows so that I could weed but didn’t get that done either! When it came time to pick green beans, I had to use the weed trimmer in-between the rows! That was the day that I resolved to make some changes.

I knew that I wanted raised beds but wasn’t sure what size or shape. The research started on Pinterest and my Raised Bed Board was soon full of a variety of raised beds. I would sit and look at each photo and made notes about my favorites.

I researched online at Ohioline.osu.edu, the University of Missouri Extension, and Purdue Extension. Of course, I purchased a book, “Raised Bed Revolution” by Tara Nolan and did research at Mother Earth News.

The results are exciting! I have 3 large beds that are 16 feet long, 22 inches high and 4 feet wide. Some fun additions to the garden are 2 pieces of old Pride of the Farm Hog feeders, one of which will be where I plant asparagus. We are building a 2-bin composting station this week.

I am looking at a variety of planting plans and am really interested in a 3-season raised-bed plan that I found in a Garden Project book. I will share more as the weeks pass. For now, there will not be a fence around the beds. But that might change, since I just counted 5 deer walking by my potting shed!

 

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