|Our 2012 garden.|
They are each about 4x8 feet, and about 12 inches high. The taller you make your raised bed, the less trouble you should have with weeds. At 12 inches there are still a few weeds I have trouble with. I tried to put newspaper underneath, hearing that it would help deter weeds. I am not entirely impressed with this, however, because when you go to mix the soil it will move the newspaper and then it no longer serves its purpose. You might be able to get some sturdy landscape material to put under your beds if you are really worried about weeds. The less weeds you have, the less work your garden will be, but every garden has at least a few weeds.
|Some of our 2012 year (not counting the egg - ha!)|
Here is what we used for our raised beds to fill them, and so far things seem to be growing great!
- We use the 1/3 rule. We used 1/3 of compost manure, 1/3 fill dirt, and 1/3 of rice hulls/straw/etc.
- I think we got enough fill dirt for all three beds for about 25-35$, I can't remember exactly because we split it with the rest of our family. Also, we did our own delivery so we weren't out any money there.
- We purchased composted hummus/manure the first year we gardened. We bought this at the Wal-Mart garden area. However, now we save money by using composted horse manure from our own pony! See my blog post: Manure Monopoly
- We also bought a bag of rice hulls the first year and used that one bag across the three beds. Rice hulls help to loosen up the soil a little to allow the roots to breathe, since the top soil and manure mix is really dense. This bag costs around 15-17$. This year, to save money, we just bought a bale of straw for about 5$ and use that to loosen up to soil.
So in one of our 4x8 beds, we put 1/3 topsoil, 1/3 rice hulls (or straw), and 1/3 compost manure. Then we planted our seeds and seedlings. Pick what seeds you like, and just follow the directions on the back of the packet for planting. Once you have your bed all planted, lightly spray/mist your seeds. Do this every evening. It is important not to put too strong a stream of water on them at first or you might move the seeds below the surface. Also, once weeds start coming up, be sure to pull a few weeds each day if you can. This will make your job a lot easier than if your garden begins to be overtaken with weeds. Then you will have to work long and hard to get rid of them.
|In winter, overgrown with weeds.|
As far as what to make your actual beds out of, you can use different things. We used non-treated lumber, just because my brother-in-law had some laying around and so he built our beds for us. (CHEAP and FREE!) I don't expect these beds to last too long since they aren't treated, but they work for now. You can also use cinder blocks, these make a more permanent garden.
Cost Break Down:
(Not counting seeds)
- First year garden costs: $85 (included fill dirt, compost manure, and rice hulls)
- Second year garden costs: $5 (straw)
|The beginnings of our 2013 gardens.|
(Buying straw instead of the rice hulls really lowered our cost this year and of course using compost pony manure instead of paying for it from Wal-Mart saved us lots, too. Also, we have not bought any fill dirt this year so far, but we may have to at some point. If we end up getting some, this will cost us somewhere around $15 because we only need it for one bed.)
Happy Gardening!! Leave any tips or experiences in the comments below.