Raised Garden Beds, yay!

This last weekend the first half of my dream came true! The hubby was finally convinced that building me raised garden beds would make our life much better, and I promise, it will.
The planning and research has been taking place since we purchased our home, and I knew I wanted my beds located with full afternoon sun. I found the area of our yard that isn’t shaded by a fence and instructed a landscape company to install the sod and irrigation uncentered so I would have plenty of room. He was a little surprised and it took some explaining on why our yard is over there rather than in the middle, but I think he is fine with it now.
I shopped lumber and found Redwood in 2″x10″x8′ and also 12′ at Lowe’s for a reasonable price. Had them cut the 12′ in half since I can only reach in 3′ or so -halfway from each edge meets in the middle. We joined the edges, and leveled the tops and outside corners so there is less risk for abrasions while I am leaning and working. The wood is slightly warped and each board is within 1/4″ of advertised size so there was a little leveling and balancing to make it neat and perfect. So for under $200 after tax we have two 6’x8′ raised beds. The unexpected cost was the hardware, at a whopping $5 per bracket, and two on each corner, we spent almost half on just securing the beds. I really wanted to used reclaimed wood but he wouldn’t go for it, and these are the kinds of things we compromise on. I get the garden I want, he gets to build it with the materials he wants.
We made sure to space them far enough apart so I could fit a wheelbarrow between, as well as kneel comfortably. I can access the beds from all sides as well, important since they are pretty large.
The next step is fill dirt (since we don’t have extra), topsoil, compost, and peat moss. I need to turn the existing soil beneath the beds and then mix in the above materials, plant some seed and maybe some indoor starts I will buy from either craigslist or a farmer nearby… I am so excited!
I will be planting things that I have had luck with in my mother’s garden growing up, we are the same- temperate zone 5. From seed I will start squashes, cucumbers, beans, greens, onions, chives, oregano, maybe more. I will plant tomatoes, peppers, and basil from indoor starts. I will also try to plant things between rows that attract bees for pollination (just found this gem- http://www.organicgardening.com/tags/honey-bee-menu-for-pollen-and-nectar) and ward off other pests who might be interested in consuming my harvest before it’s time. This is the learning curve, let’s see what I come up with. I am reading magazines checked out from my local library to help me with this process; Country Woman, and HGTV had the most attractive articles this time around.
So, wish me luck and if you have any tips… do share!

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