Tuesday, February 02, 2010

How to start a box garden in Johnston Co

I've had several questions on how we got started in our gardening and what steps to take. I'll try to answer all the questions so ask away.

Why a raised bed? According to local farmers Jo Co soil is NOT the best quality for producing high quality crops. So we were told to build a raised bed and truck in our soil.

How do you make a raised bed? The dimensions for the bed are 8 long X 4 wide. We bought our wood at Lowes which costs about $50 per box (you'll use less wood if you are not on a slope). You need to be able to move around all sides of the bed and reach into the center of it. Making it too WIDE means you can't prune in the center, which is really important.
In designing the garden we staked out the bigger picture of the whole garden then each year we add 1 or 2 boxes to increase it in size. In constructing the box use wood and rope to make the box square. Then put the posts in the ground first. We add 1 post at a time and regularly check it with the wood to make sure it never loses it's shape. Hint: buying a post level really helps this process.

How deep/tall is the bed? I don't like to bend over too much so we made our beds a little taller in height than most people. Our land slopes so Paul had to take that into consideration as well. In most of our beds 1 side is a lot taller than the other. That's fine with me, the height is perfect for me to sit on a bucket and prune. The only down side is you'll pay more in dirt to fill it up. Still it's worked out great. You need to determine how much/little you want to bend over and then start with that as the tallest piece of wood.

Where do you get the dirt and how much is it? We ONLY use full compost or turkey manure. Paul has a truck which we take to Triangle Landscape Supply and fill it up for about $25 which is 1/2 ton load. It takes 2 1/2 truck loads for a boxe b/c we are on a slope and I prefer taller beds. That may not be the case for your yard.

We are planning to add 1 to 2 more boxes this month and I'll try to remember to take pictures for the blog. The new boxes will be 4X4 to connect the 2 previous rows together. Box 1 will be connected to Box 2 and 3. BTW if you are looking for a spring crop then you need to start making boxes in February as planting for crops starts February 1.

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