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My New Suburban Organic Veggie Garden

Gardening has been one of my favorite hobbies for many years, and it still is going strong.  I love my flower gardens and am constantly updating them with new plants, to establish a low maintenance perennial garden.

I equally enjoy my vegetable garden and my berry bushes (Raspberry and Thornless Blackberry).  Last year I also planted a Sour Cherry tree, which has tripled in height over the course of one year, and hopefully in couple more years it will begin to produce delicious fruits.

Three years ago I changed the layout of my original veggie garden, turning it into 3 rectangular beds, using over 120 cinder blocks (one cinder block weighs 30 lbs. so it was a really good workout for me…:-)

I was pretty happy with my new garden, until this year after reading an article about cinder blocks, and finding a lot of conflicting information about Fly Ash used in concrete production.  I contacted the concrete manufacturer and was reassured that they use only .35% of fly ash, which is quite safe and nothing to worry about.

Well, it bothered me that it contained even a very small amount of fly ash, so I decided to reconfigure my garden once again, and use Cedar lumber to build the raised bed boxes.  I did utilize my cinder blocks to construct a walkpath on the outside perimeter of the garden, and to build a cement platform to support a small firepit at the end of my garden.

Today I will share few pictures of the planning and building process of the new garden beds, as well and the completed project.

After drawing several different plans to invision my new garden, I settled on the above blueprint, even though I still made couple minor adjustments later on.  Having this blueprint also helped me in calulating the amount of wood and screws I needed for this project, as well as the overall cost.

With the COVID19 pendemic issues, finding lumber was a challenge, however I was able to purchase it in a neighboring state, and my daughter assisted me with picking it up, to avoid high delivery charges.

Since this year’s growing season was slowly coming to an end, I decided to begin my project, working around the few remaining plants.  I also moved my garden plot 4 ft. upward, to avoid a shaded and wet area in that part of the yard.  This required carefully moving all my perennial herbs from that bed to a new area, without disturbing them too much.

I used the existing cinder blocks to mark off the new beds and to support the piled up dirt into the new bed area.  Even though it looks like a mess, it actually worked very well, and it made it so easy to install the new cedar wood frames.

Here are well fitted new raised bed frames.  One bed is 8 ft. long by 4 ft. wide with an easy acces from all sides, and the other one is also 8 ft. long by only 3 ft wide, for easier access from one side only, the middle walkpath, as the other side is butted against the fence.  I will be planting cucumbers in that bed, so the fence will serve as a trellis for them to climb on.

These bed frames are constructed from 2 cedar pieces of 2″ x 4″ x 8′ for each long side,  and 2 cedar pieces of  2″ x 4″ x 4′ for one end, and 2″ x 4″ x 3′ for the other end, to close them off.  Since the long sides of these beds run perpendicular to one of the long sides of the third bed, that long side closed off nicely the ends of these two beds.  I also used 16 pieces of 2″ x 4″ x 12”  supporting stakes used in each corner and the middle section of these beds, to anchor them down and to level them.  It worked like a charm!

My husband and our grandchildren were assisting me with building the garden bed frames. Our grandchildren enjoyed learning how to use power tools to drill holes and to screw the wood pieces together.

This is what the garden looks like from the other end, with my herb bed encoring the two perpendicular annual beds.  Note that I created a 12″ wide walk path against the fence, to be able to reach into the 4 ft. wide bed from that side.

I intentionally made the long bed by the fence only 3 ft. wide so I would be able to reach across it from the middle walkpath, plus to be able to maintain a straight line along the full length of the garden, facing the yard.

Here you see what I mean about keeping the whole garden patch in one straight line along the edge, facing the yard.  This picture also provides a clear view of the cinder block walkpath around the 3 sides of the garden.

Since I have very hungry rabbits visiting my yard on regular basis, I needed to protect my plants by installing a 24″ high chicken wire fence all around the garden, with a small gate for my easy entry.

To use up the remaining cinder blocks, and some leftover pavers from my daughter’s firepit project, I constructed the above firepit.  It will be very convenient to use for a small fire to roast marshmallows and to make smores with the grandkids, or to burn up some of the dried up plants from the garden, at the end of a growing season.

I enjoyed working on this project, even though it took almost 3 weeks to complete, and am very pleased with the outcome.

All ready now to plant winter garlic in my herb bed.  Also after harvesting the remaining veggies still there, I will be ready to prepare the other 2 beds for spring planting.

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