Raised Bed Gardening Tips
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Another one of my European-inspired country fantasies…. RAISED BED GARDENING!! Everything about it makes me squirrelly. The nod to formal gardening…. the convenience…. the ease… the endless possibilities… the joy!! Similar to square foot gardening and container gardening, raised bed gardens offer a simple and flexible style of gardening. Perfect for kids gardening.

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Tracy Porter Be Inspired Tracy Porter: Well, we’re at my folk’s house today you guys and this is a really fun segment. Now, I have to share with you guys, you know my dad, Dave. We’re down at their property. But just to give you a little frame of reference here, our house is just at that way. So, what I’m always telling you that the kids just run down the hill through the woods, this is the little path they come down to grandpa and grandma’s house and calls all sort of rocks and all tons of trouble down here. Dave: Oh! Not really. We love it all four of them Tracy Porter: So, we have a good topic and it’s one that I’m very excited about because this year my vegetable garden is going to from one great big wild bed to raised beds. So, I have a honey-do list for John that is really long and raised beds are on the list. So, I thought I’d bring you down here incase you do not know what raised bed gardening is or you’ve never seen them before my dad has three gorgeous raised beds and we’re just going to talk about some of wonderful things about raised bed gardening. This is the perfect time of the year to start one, build one, or put it on your honey-do list if you’re looking for something else to add on the list. So dad, get us in here, tell us everybody how simple this is. Dave: Raised bed gardening is the easy way to garden as far as I am concern and believe me over the years I’ve had the old Victoria Gardens or Victory Gardens but this is just so easy. You can move around them real nice, you can reach across them, and the soil works out beautifully. They may take a little more watering than a normal in-ground bed because they can dry a little bit around the sides of the wood and everything else. But the plants are here, the produce is clean when you want it. You can come out pick before you and it comes along and you get stuff for your salad like a half an hour before we have salad and everything. It’s wonderful. I just can’t say enough about them as a matter of fact we’re going to add a couple more this year. This have only been here about three or maybe four years and I just can’t even tell you the amount of produce that we pull out of these things between tomatoes, beans, lettuce and everything in a relatively short period of time. Tracy Porter: So the cool thing about them, just so you guys are very, very clear, you know, they are very European these raised bed garden especially I love the way that you build them but the whole concept basically, is that you're taking some material, whether it’s wood or cinderblock or bricks or stone. I mean you can do raised bed gardens with pretty much everything -- treated wood, untreated wood, depends on if you’re growing vegetables, or just flowers. And then you’re building sides, you can put them on gravel if you want or on just dirt or even on brick if you wanted to do something more temporary. You build them with -- what do you use dad here? Dave: These are about 8 to 10 inches deep. They are not in the ground they are right on top of the ground. These happened to be 4x6. They appear a little bigger than that but you’d be surprised that what you can squeeze into a bed even this size. It’s really quite remarkable and everything else. Like I said they’re just they’re so easy to work with. If a person ever had to, you could lift these out and move them to another spot or something rather than just leave them here. It’s great. Tracy Porter: It’s nice because you can seat down and garden. The goal with the raised bed garden is that you make it only wide enough that you could reach into the garden, into the center which of course is great. As you can see, could easily hold. You can make them as long as you want but usually they’re typically not more than, I would say, wouldn’t you say like four feet or so is about right? Dave: Yes. I think four feet is a really good size. Tracy Porter: Watch it. Mom is going to come over and she’s going to rip that thing out of your hands because they’re going to be… Dave: I know. There are some plants left in here from last year, I think. Tracy Porter: There are a few little plants planted here and he’s going to get himself in trouble here. Dave: I think 4x6 is a real nice size. I wouldn’t go any wider. You could go 8 or 10 foot. Tracy Porter: Because you want it to be able to... Dave: Yeah. You could go 8 or 10 foot for length because in this way, you can reach all the way across if you stay with the 4 foot width and everything else. Tracy Porter: Yeah. Dave: But what’s nice about a two is that there’s no mowing problem. Tracy Porter: That’s great. Dave: We love this look with the European look with this… Tracy Porter: I love the pebble around it. Dave: Well, we have kind of a red kind of gravel that we had brought in Tracy Porter: So cool. Dave: And when we put a couple more here, we’ll be adding some more so that we have freedom to walk all the way around and not have to worry about it when the lawn mower goes by you aren’t throwing grass and everything into your beds. It keeps them nice and clean. Tracy Porter: And what’s cool about it too is that, you know, I love that yours are rectangular. But really, you could do them in any shape. Dave: Sure. Tracy Porter: You could do a center piece one that was sort of octagonal, you could do triangles around it. You could create your own version of a formal garden if you wanted to which is neat. I love how yours are all in a row and very symmetrical and you just have the obelisk. Dave: Yes. Tracy Porter: And that’s something that I want to point out to because that’s a cool point that you have. They put these obelisks in the middle and that’s really wonderful. And they have, what do you have, clematis growing up here? Dave: We have clematis on it right now but… Tracy Porter: Yeah. And it’s so pretty and it’s summer. It’s all… Dave: We decided that in this year to enlarge the garden a little bit and get it a little bit more produce our of it. Tracy Porter: Yeah. Dave: We’re going to move the clematis some place else and put a climbing, we think probably, beans, string beans or something like that on the obelisk now. Tracy Porter: Yeah. And that’s, you know… Dave: Which is beautiful too, I mean, it gives you… Tracy Porter: And to have architecture and height… Dave: It gives some height in your gardens Tracy Porter: Yeah. Dave: It gives you a nice look, a lot of leaf. They do have a flower on them before the bean comes. Tracy Porter: Elegant. Dave: Absolutely. Tracy Porter: You guys use them for a lot of herbs and I think one of the great things about raised bed gardening is that, the maintenance is really easy. You can water them easily. So think that in your regular garden you are watering everything. So what a huge waste of water, right? But in these literally you’re watering just this. You’re fertilizing just this. You’re composting just this versus a huge garden; you’re spending all that money composting the whole thing and weeding. I nearly killed myself last year weeding my vegetable garden. And then I went to Hong Kong for two weeks in the summer and the whole thing just got out of control so I said to John, “I need a new plan.” Mama needs a new plan for gardening and these are going to be it. Dave: You know one of the unique things about a small bed like this too is when I plant varieties of lettuce I mix them together right in the seed sacks and everything else. And I’ll plant them just like you’re planting grass seed. Tracy Porter: Yeah. That’s good. Dave: They just come up in mass and you can just do it. You can do the same thing with beans and everything else. You do not have to go the old way of putting on a roll of this in and a roll of that in everything else. You’re right here where you can work with all this stuff. Tracy Porter: Sure. Dave: You know. You’re beans and a lot of those. Summer time is beautiful and they’ll be up like this. Tracy Porter: Oh yeah. Dave: These are absolutely emerald green with lettuces and things when they’re working. It’s really a joy of work with this than the old type of gardening from I guess you might say, “Years gone by.” Tracy Porter: Yeah. They’re practical, they’re beautiful. I also want to point out, just one more thing; again you can top them beautifully. So, for instance; I love that these, that you did this little cap on top of it which you don’t have to do but I think it adds that little extra bit of elegance and it finished them off nicely. And then these beautiful finials, you can buy these things pre-made. Dave: Anywhere. Yeah. Tracy Porter: Anywhere. Any kind of garden center or any of your big… Dave: Lumber companies. Sure. Yeah. Tracy Porter: Lumber companies and they have these big bins of these things. So you do not have to pay a lot of money for them. But these are so simple. I think, what did you say, dad you put all these together in a couple of hours? Dave: Yeah. I think it was maybe three hours. Tracy Porter: Oh man. That is amazing. Dave: A few screws. Tracy Porter: Yeah. It’s incredible. Dave: Power saw. It takes nothing to do it or you could have them made because somebody could bring on in on a truck. You know what I mean you could almost literally order them some place from a local carpenter or something like that too and have a drop with… Tracy Porter: They’re not crazy expensive. Dave: They are not heavy. Tracy Porter: No. Dave: Two people can set one in place. Tracy Porter: Yeah. Dave: These are actually are just setting in and there’s not even stakes on the inside the whole are in place. I left it up to the dirt and anchor itself to the ground underneath it. So, they don’t move around at all. They are just… Tracy Porter: They have a lot pure problems with weeds and things too. And if you want it to, depending on your style of gardening or if you’ve never gardened before and this will is new, this will be great and if you are a beginner gardener, this will be a perfect way for someone to start a little garden. Dave: I think a real deal would be for, like your sons. Tracy Porter: Yes, exactly. Oh. I’m going to literally have one for each of them till they’re at ten. Dave: Yeah. Like one for each child or something. Let them do what they want to do when they are gardening. What a wonderful way to start child learning or something like that. Tracy Porter: Absolutely. Dave: With a little garden of their own and let them do what they want. Tracy Porter: Yeah. Play around with it. Dave: What I like about this too, if you do need to add a little organic matter or something like that to it, you don’t have to stuff all over. You dump or push a basket full of stuff in here, you’re ready to go. Tracy Porter: Yeah. Dave: Work it into the ground a little bit and you’re ready to go. Tracy Porter: So, whether you guys are seasoned gardeners or whether you’ve never gardened before. You are just thinking about the idea of it, this is not an intimidating way to start gardening it’s a beautiful way to start. You could put whatever you wanted, herbs, vegetables, flowers. You could do a mix of things and you could add architecture with an obelisk if you wanted to. You could put a beautiful little statue in the middle or pretty little water feature like a fountain. There’s a gazillion things you could do but just know that it’s beautiful. We’ll probably come back down here when these things are in full bloom and then when our vegetable garden raised bed is starting to go. We’ll give you another peak and you know, let you know what we are doing and I think we’re going to wrap it up. Dave: Happy gardening! Tracy Porter: Happy gardening