How many of you have dreamed of having your own home garden, imagined the wonderful smells of fresh basil, thought about taking that first bite into a freshly picked plump red tomato? Since the outbreak of COVID-19, have you found yourself with more time at home? If so, now may be your perfect opportunity to build your own home garden oasis.
Now, some of you may be intimidated by the thought of building your own home garden. But, don’t fret. We’re going to guide you through an easy-to-follow, step-by-step process to make this dream a reality for you!
First, you’ll need to create the bed frame in which your soil and plants will rest. To do this, understand that the frame itself will need to be at least six inches high. This height provides easy access and gives the roots substantial room to grow and flourish.
Step 1: Measure and mark the length of the walls you’ll want to have for your garden and then cut the boards. Keep your fingers a safe distance away from the saw. Measure and cut 2 x 4s for the corner posts so support the walls of your garden. They should match the height of the garden bed wall. If you want additional support, cut posts to install along the walls.
The boards for each wall should be clamped together. Set the corner posts on top of the wall boards, flush with the ends of the 6-foot walls and set back 1-1/2 inches from the ends of the shorter walls. Drill pilot holes and attach the posts with screws. If you choose to cut additional posts for more support, those should be attached as well.
Drill pilot holes and connect all the sides with screws to form a box. The posts should be on the inside of the bed.
Choosing Your Location
It is essential that the location for your garden has enough sun exposure. Without enough sunlight, your plants will not grow.
Choose a flat area that has ample access to sunlight to build your raised garden bed.
Remove with a shovel any ground that restricts the bed frame from resting on a flat surface.
It’s possible to stack your raised garden beds, so you can grow plants with long root stems. If you want to add a second level to your garden, repeat the steps you took to build the initial bed frame with a second level of lumber.
Line with Landscape Fabric
This may be one of the most important steps you take when building your raised garden bed. Create a barrier between the soil in the bed and the soil in your yard in order to keep weeds and grass from growing in the bed from below.
Add Your Soil to Your Raised Garden Bed
When you use a raised garden bed, it allows you to control soil and amendments to help the plants you are growing to flourish. It’s important to follow the proper steps to ensure the best health for your plants:
- Choose the right kind of soil for the plants you want to grow.
- For most circumstances, the recommended mix contains 60% topsoil, 30% compost, and 10% potting mix.
- The ratio of soil and amendments will vary depending on the particular plants you choose.
- Make sure you add enough soil to fill the entire bed.
- Use the formula LENGTH x WIDTH x DEPTH to determine the correct amount of soil you need to fill the container.
Add Seeds or Plants to Your Garden Bed
Your next step will be adding seeds or plants to your garden bed. Enough space is necessary between the plants or seeds in order to allow them enough room to grow.
Arrange everything in such a way as to not have the taller plants block sunlight from the shorter ones.
As your plants grow, make sure you support them with stakes, props or cages.
Consider using bird netting to keep unwanted visitors to your garden.
Be sure that your plants are consistently getting enough water.
Once established, it is recommended that plants need about one inch of water per week in order to grow.
Now comes the fun part! What should you plant in your garden? Well, it really depends on what you like! If you love salads, consider planting the following:
- In the front of your raised bed, plant carrots, radishes and onions.
- In the middle, plant lettuce and baby spinach.
- In the back, plant chives and basil.
- Once your plants are mature, it’s important to harvest some of them every few days, so that the plants continue to produce.
If you want a kitchen garden, consider planting the following:
- In the front your raised bed, plant oregano, cilantro and parsley.
- In the middle, plant thyme, sage and rosemary.
- In the back, plant chives and basil.
If you like fresh salsa, consider planting the following:
- In the front of your raised bed, plant one oregano plant, two cilantro and ten red onions.
- In the middle, plant one serrano, fresno chili or chile de arbol pepper, and one Roma tomato. Make sure the tomato is caged to protect it from unwanted visitors.
- In the back, plant two tomatillos. In order for tomatillos to flourish, they must be planted in pairs, so they can cross pollinate.
We hope you enjoy the outdoors as you embark on your home garden journey! We’re here for you!