Raised Beds

by Julie

My home garden is often neglected. There are a few reasons for that - 1.) I am way too busy in the spring and don't have the time, and 2.) I would rather go swimming in the summer than weed. Yes, it's true. Our Vermont summers are so short, that I often make choices that don't benefit the garden come August. So in the early spring, before I get too too busy at Red Wagon, I try to make gardening choices that will entail less work come summer and get the plants off to a really good start so that they are strong enough to handle my abuse and neglect later in the season.

This year, the Red Wagon crew came over and installed some great raised beds in the back yard. My regular garden is quite shady because of some neighboring trees (not mine or I would cut them down!) so I decided to put in some raised beds in the overgrown meadow behind the house and hopefully this will help me tame the wild. It's a sloping, wet mess with a huge forest of Japanese Knotweed trying to take over everything in its path. I have dug a trench around the knotweed and Elise covered a 20 x 20' patch of it with black plastic that my neighbor, Paul,  gave me (I think he is worried it will spread to his yard, I would be too if I were him). Hopefully the combination of black-out and containment will slow it down.

About half way through the installation, the raised beds look like this:

We filled the raised beds with leaves, composted donkey manure and a thick layer of compost from Red Wagon Plants, which is mainly potting soil from years past that was given to us by the plants that did not sell. It's a great fill for raised beds, and not readily available to home gardeners, but I would recommend a mixture of top soil and compost. In the first year of a raised bed, the bottom layer can be some rough organic matter such as leaves, lawn clippings, etc. Just make sure that there is a good amount of the actual planting medium (at least 8").

I used a thick layer of cardboard and burlap coffee bags under everything to smother out the grass.

Here are the finished beds:

Our workshop on April 17th will be all about raised bed gardening with special guests Markey Read and Tim King. Please call us or email us to register. ..... 802 482 4060 or julieATredwagonplants.com.