There are hundreds of different ways to start a garden. A simple Google or Pinterest search will show options upon options. It takes a little research to figure out what is best for you.
After (what seemed like) a million hours of reading countless blog posts, we settled on a raised garden. The area that gets the most sun in our yard (how much sun you need depends on what you plant) backs up to a neighbor’s pasture that doesn’t have the best drainage during the spring rains. We only have about a half an acre to work with, so beggars can’t be choosers in our case. So, to take advantage of the sunny spot, we decided to build our own raised garden.
Since we are amateurs, we decided on a small plot – 8′ x 4′. We figure we can always expand if we decide to farm it up later on. We don’t have random lumber lying around, so this was something we had to spend a little money on to get going.
3 – 1″x12″x8′ boards (one of them should be cut in half)
1 – 2″x4″x8′ (you’ll have to cut this, so make sure you have a saw available)
4 – Angle brackets
4 – 12″ wooden stakes
This was the easiest garden ever to build. We basically joined the four 1×12 boards with the angle brackets, and then added sections (3’10” each) of the 2×4’s for sturdiness. We used wood screws to make sure they would hold. We screwed the wooden stakes into each corner with the pointed end jutting out on the bottom. This way, we could hammer it into the ground so it wouldn’t move, but it can also be picked up and moved to a different location if need be.
Fun fact: This project looks easy enough to knock out on your own, but it DEFINITELY would be easier with two people. I completed this one solo while T and E were at work/school, and the neighbors were blessed with a few expletives. Being vertically challenged with short arms has disadvantages.
Filling the garden was another issue. I’ve never been able to find a good volume calculator for the amount of soil needed in terms of bags. Who cares about cubic yards – just tell me exactly how many bags I need! So basically, I guessed.
After milling around Lowe’s and annoying as many associates as possible, I ended up with 14 bags – 6 bags of topsoil, 4 bags of potting soil, and 4 bags of compost/manure. Sounds like a good mix, right? I thought so too.
After 30 minutes of whining, huffing, puffing, and crying, we finally carried all of the bags across our backyard (note to self: invest in a wheelbarrow). After laying down a layer of newspaper (to kill the grass underneath), we basically just dumped them all in and mixed them up. It was Saturday, and for some reason, 8 year-olds find playing in dirt (and poop) to be super fun, so we let them have at it.
We probably could have used a few more bags, but my back was saying otherwise, so this was good enough for us!
Either way, raised garden – check!