Building the Perfect Garden Spot

We have been super busy over here getting our garden area ready for planting.  The raised garden bed has been built, the bed liner is in, and it’s now filled with rich garden soil.  It looks so beautiful and sometimes it is hard to believe that “we” made it.  We believe we took the correct route to make our own raised garden bed rather than just purchasing a raised bed kit, as it was a huge savings for us.  For the size of garden that we had in mind, it would have cost us around the $500, so building our own raised garden bed from untreated wood saved us a lot!

We already have our onions planted in the garden, but the rest of the plants won’t go in until May, but we have so much more to do before we’re done.  For example, we had a flower bed next to our garage that did not look that good, so we decided to get some beautiful retaining wall/landscaping bricks to beautify it.  We started out by digging the flower bed wider with an edging shovel, then had to remove all of the grass pieces (not an easy task to do), had to remove some of the plants we had in this bed like our hostas to another location, turned over the dirt in the bed to get it ready, and now we’re working on installing the bricks. 

The most important part of installing any type of landscaping bricks is making the first layer “level”, because if it is not, your wall will look horrible when completed, and uneven.  Every brick needs to be level, every brick.  It also helps when you use a string line measured to the height you want your retaining wall as this gives you a good visual idea if you are on the right track or not.  The next important thing to do with every brick laid is to “measure”.  With every brick I laid, I measured the distance from the side of the garage to the front of the brick and kept that same measurement for each brick laid.  So far, I have completed more than half of this new retaining wall for our new flower bed.  Once all the bricks are in, we will fill with our good rich garden soil and we’ll plant our strawberries and zucchini in this bed.  Ooooh the thought of fresh picked strawberries in a nice cold strawberry banana smoothie for the summer sounds so good, or a nice piece of zucchini bread straight out of the oven makes my mouth water!

Our next item we are working on is our garden wall & gate.  The garden wall, the keep the deer out since we are in a heavily populated deer area, will be constructed of those really nice heavy metal garden stakes across the entire backyard.  Then we will attach, with black tie wraps, black poultry fencing, two rows high (6′ in height when complete) to deter any of the deer from even thinking of nibbling on our garden plants.  When we were planning this out on paper months ago, we started to think – – how are we going to “enter” the garden when this fencing was in place?  That is where we came up with the idea of making a “garden gate” or door as an entryway to our garden.  We constructed the door out of two long pieces of thin wood and laid two shorter pieces on top and bottom to complete the frame of the door, then used wood screws in each corner to hold it in place. 

We painted the garden gate door all black because we wanted it to match the black poultry fence and blend in nicely.  After painting the door, we laid out a strip of the poultry fencing on the door frame, cut it to fit, and adhered it to the door with a staple gun.  The door is now complete, except for adding the two hinges and a little latch to keep the door closed.  We are so proud of our neat garden gate idea, and very happy on how nicely the door came out!  Heck, how else would we gain entry into the garden, right?

With all of this going on, our little sprouts are coming along nicely and getting bigger by the day.  We planted the majority of them already into their own nice peat pot, and ever since we did that, they are taking off and growing by leaps and bounds!  We are getting a real kick out of watching them grow up everyday, and it’s hard to imagine that these little guys all came from a tiny seed and are now growing into healthy plants, so I guess we can’t call them sprouts any longer. 

We also purchased this really neat wood lattice trellis for the garden that opens up to something that looks like an “A”, but we are going to remove the hardware at the top, and screw the two pieces to the sides of the garden for the cucumbers to crawl up on.  TIP FOR GARDENERS:  We were going to get something that was made of metal for the cucs to climb on, but when we were doing our research, it stated to NOT get anything metal for your climbing vegetables because the metal gets hot and will scorch the vines.  DID NOT KNOW THAT, nor would we have ever thought of that, but it sure makes sense, so if you are getting something for any climbing vegetable in your garden, make sure it is not metal!

Getting all of this done before we actually plant has been a little difficult in our area due to all the weather changes.  One day it can be nice and warm enough for shorts, then the next, we’re back to a heavy coat, so trying to complete our projects has been an off and on kinda thing, so we just have to wing it.  But all in all, we are happy with what we have completed so far, and we’ll continue to work around our weather conditions to ensure everything is in place for next month plantings! 

We hope that you all enjoy watching how our garden comes together, and keep watching/checking back often after we get everything planted.  It is an experience for us since we have never done anything like this before, but we have learned so much! 

If anyone is interested in two great gardening sites, here they are:  www.alltomato.com and www.vegetable-gardening-online.com   Both of these sites have the most incredible information, and everything you ever wanted to know about any vegetable, from planting, to picking them, to freezing them, to recipes!  Check them out when you get the chance and let us know how you liked the sites! 

More about beautifying our garden will follow once the rain stops and we can head back outside.  Until later…