Last spring, my husband surprised me with the gift of a raised flower bed. He bought one similar to this one on Amazon. We have had it for about a year and I love it. We needed one if we were going to have a mini garden. We live just outside of Atlanta; our ground is mostly clay. We have a number of trees in our backyard, so shade near our house is in abundance. The only non-shaded space in our flower beds is right next to our gorgeous air conditioner. That would have been fine, but we also have a drainage pipe and the cable lines running through the very same sunny spot.
The mixture of crap soil, lots of shade, a drainage pipe, and cable lines was enough for me to throw my hands up. We had already given a planter garden a try; we really don’t have the space to do it right. We had too many pots that quickly got to be too small for our plants by the end of the season. We needed something bigger. We needed a raise flower bed.
Enter my lovely husbands gift.
Last spring we planted a number of items we picked up from the hardware store: basil, Italian oregano, cayenne peppers, jalapenos, okra, and cucumbers. The jalapeno and cayenne pepper plants we put into pots. They thrived until we got a surprise snow storm. We didn’t prepare them properly for the winter and they died.
The basil and cucumbers didn’t make it to the end of the summer. The okra quickly overtook the flower bed and cast a shadow too big for the basil to survive. The cucumbers were doing well for most of the summer. Then they started to take over the patio. We had to murder them to get the chaos to stop. Cucumbers are not good raised flower bed vegetables. The okra produced a ton of fresh veggies we ate for dinner. The downside is that you must pick them before they get tough. This is a little difficult for amateur farmers like me to judge, so we had a lot of tough okra.
This past weekend I picked up some new plants to add to the raised flower bed: basil, purple basil, jalapenos, and bell peppers.
Since we used the flower bed last year, it had plenty of soil. I didn’t need to buy any new soil, but I did pick up some raised bed plant food by Miracle Grow.
I added the fertilizer to the flower bed, and then mixed it into the soil. This is going to feed the baby plants for the next couple of months.
I then cut the plastic from around each of the plants. They came in biodegradable pots. This is great because there isn’t a bulky plastic pot that has to get tossed in the trash after the plants are transplanted. On the other hand, this is a huge hassle if you purchase plants you can’t transfer right away. We got lucky with an overcast day on Sunday. It was perfect for working in the yard.
I placed each of the plants in the flower bed to get an idea for where I wanted them to be planted. I moved them around a bit before digging. I was careful not to plant them too close to one another.
I dug holes that were a little deeper than height of each plant. After digging the holes, I placed each plant in its place, and covered the roots with soil.
I am incredibly excited for our new spring garden. We aren’t going to be living off it, but it is nice to grab fresh herbs or peppers when we are cooking. There is just something nice about eating food you grew yourself.