Starting a garden through the usage of raised beds can be a lot of fun and have a more organized appearance. The two beds in the picture above were made from siding for houses that you can buy at the hardware store. To fill the boxes, we purchased organic gardening soil and mixed perlite in it. Perlite is a naturally occurring siliceous rock and is used for moisture retention. Too much perlite can make it hard for seeds to sprout. The bed above received more than what was needed, but adding more soil to the top helped to even it out.
With the soil in place, my dad began drilling holes for the screws. The screws are used for tying the twine which is a key component to the square foot gardening method.
Each square will hold a different plant. Depending on the size of your plant, you can leave empty spaces to accommodate a larger plant.
Laying down newspaper along the paths or under the raised beds helps to prevent weeds. We went through all our neighbors recycling bins to collect enough! After laying them down, we covered them with mulch. This is a more eco-friendly approach compared to weed control fabric. It does decompose though, so you will have to add more as the season progresses.
This is my lettuce bed. The Bib lettuce is starting to taste bitter because it is getting ready to flower. I just started some new lettuce seeds in trays and I transplanted Swiss Chard into the bed. The collards are the biggest plant in the box. They taste great after being boiled for five minutes.
This bed has four different species of tomato, four eggplants, a nasturtium, alibi cucumbers (for pickling), and Marketmore cucumbers.
There are so many different options for growing plants. You can exercise your creative skills when it comes time to transplant or start seedlings. The picture above is a garden box that we built back in 2009 when I was just beginning my gardening adventure. I have learned so much since then. It works well for gardeners who want to avoid underground pests or just want to keep avoid all that back bending.
This is a great way to recycle old milk or orange juice cartons. These sunflowers are doing great in the “pots”.
Raised rows are another option. My dad is planting lemon grass in the other half of our yard to distill for essential oil.
Anything from crates, to boxes, or pots can be used for growing. In Florida though, it is harder because the intense heat dries out the soil. Bigger plants are happier with more soil so their roots can spread.
I hope you enjoyed the tour of my vegetable garden. I also have a butterfly garden as well where I rear caterpillars into butterflies. I will continue to keep you updated as I learn new things in gardening and post pictures of the different places I travel. My next trip will be to Haiti, April 28- May 4. In the future I will share some of the projects my dad and I will work on while we are there.