By: Becca Badgett, Co-author of How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden
Communitygardens continue to grow in popularity throughout the country and elsewhere.There are lots of reasons to share a garden with a friend, neighbor or a groupof the same. Usually, the bottom line is getting fresh and often organicproduce to feed your family, but not always.
Flowering gardens are sometimesshared across a property line, improving the appearance of more than onelandscape. Perhaps, you’re growinga cutting garden with plenty of blooms to supply fresh flowers for twohouseholds. While most garden sharing is for the food, keep in mind there areother reasons too.
Communal gardening may spring froma community garden or simply from sharing and working a plot of land with oneor more neighbors. A long-term joint garden may result in fruit and nut treesthat produce heavily after a few years, saving you money at the grocery store.As you may know, gardeningis great exercise and can provide a sense of community and belonging.
Even if you just growvegetables that complete their life cycle within a few months, you can getlots of healthy produce from a relatively short growing season. Why would youget involved in such a collaboration? Again, the reasons are numerous.
Maybe your neighbor has anexcellent garden plot laid out that requires just a few amendments, while yourown yard does not even have a good, sunny spot. Maybe your yard is too small toadd a garden of any size, or you don’t want to disturb a nice lawn. With theright planning, sharing a garden can easily provide enough food for twofamilies.
Depending on your area, you may beable to grow food for several months of the year or even year round. If you’regrowing with one other, or just a few, take the time to layout a plantingschedule with foods you both like and will use.
Include herbsfor everyone. If you have a general idea of how much each family will use,plant enough for both, with a little extra. Remember to include successionplanting for favorite crops.
Discuss and agree before gettingstarted what will be planted. Divide the responsibilities evenly so you knowwho will be in charge of what task. Agree ahead of time on what type of pestcontrol will be used.
Take stock of tools, what you haveand any you may need to purchase. Include where and when they’ll be stored.
Share in the harvesting and splitthe surplus as previously agreed. You may even have extras that can be divviedand shared with others. Work together to clean up the garden spot wellfollowing the harvest.
Stay involved and in constantcommunication. If things should change, like with the addition of more plants,a new design or even the inability to perform tasks as planned, you’ll want todiscuss these changes and alter them as needed.
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Raised garden bed plans are exactly what I need to jump start my vegetable garden this season. With these simple raised bed garden plans, I can grow crops more efficiently and organically. Whether you are a gardening beginner or a seasoned green thumb, you’ll need to plan and make a layout of your vegetable garden to ensure gardening success. Find out how these raised bed garden plans can help you grow a vegetable garden with sufficient yields!
With the excitement of spring, I’m sure you’ll want to grow as many vegetables as you can. Grow cool season crops first in the early spring and plant the rest when all risk of frost has passed. Check these spring vegetable garden plants for plant suggestions.
Start cool-season vegetable seeds in the late winter season indoors. Using indoor grow lights will be very helpful. Take advantage of the cool weather and grow cool season crops in early spring. Look for plant ideas for cool season vegetable gardening here.
Avoid growing cool season crops like cauliflower and cabbages in late spring or early summer if you don’t want them to bolt or flower. Timing is important in growing cool season crops.
After harvesting your cool season vegetables, the soil will have been conditioned for warm season vegetables. This allows for crop rotation which is great for organic gardening.
You won’t run out of vegetables to grow in the warm summer. Most vegetables are grown in summer, so you must take advantage of the season. This plant list for ideal vegetables to grow in the summer season can help you.
For a vegetable garden in the south, you can grow a cajun garden in a raised bed garden during the summer. Growing bell pepper, growing tomatoes, and herbs are great in the summer.
Different season crops can catch up with each other in a raised vegetable bed. This way your raised bed won’t have an idle space and will keep on yielding.
Always keep in mind to group compatible plants only. Look for more plant ideas for a cool season vegetable garden here.
After harvesting your summer vegetables, fall vegetable seeds must have been sown already in time for replanting. Clear your raised bed and amend the soil with compost for your fall vegetables. Plan your fall vegetable garden with this fall vegetable garden layout.
Start planning for a fall garden in the middle of summer. Vegetables like broccoli, carrots, and brussels sprouts need a long growing season so it’s better to sow your seeds by the latter part of summer.
When growing a pumpkin patch for Halloween decor use, start sowing your seeds by the middle of summer depending on your hardiness zone.
There is a good number of vegetables that grows well in winter. They tolerate light frost and can be harvested in the dead of winter with season extenders like raised beds, mulch, and a greenhouse.
Few vegetables can tolerate a light frost in the early winter. But this is for very good reasons. These cold hardy vegetables in the warm weather have a taste which adults dislike and kids don’t tolerate.
Brussels sprouts, spinach, kale, and collard greens improve their taste with a light frost. Growing these vegetables in a raised bed will allow protection like row covers or mini greenhouse.
Find out how to prepare and maintain your raised bed garden soil in this video:
If you’re a gardening beginner, a busy mom, or limited in space, you’ll find growing vegetables in raised beds convenient. I’m pretty sure these raised bed garden plans will be very helpful too. So what are you waiting for? Grow a vegetable garden now using these raised garden bed plans and ideas!
What are your thoughts about these raised garden bed plans? You can share them in the comments section below!
Find out what plants you can grow in every season to grow a four-season vegetable garden in raised beds.
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Here are some tips for using evergreens to create a flowing structure that will hold up throughout every season:
Choose one plant as the focal point and add others that compliment its color, texture and form. Head over here if you want to know more about plant groupings.
Repeat the same grouping or plan a complimentary grouping farther down the border. Repetition helps to create unity and flow in the landscape — learn more about this here.
Between the evergreen groups, plant deciduous shrubs and perennial plants. Showcase one or two with outstanding winter interest.
For a more casual, cottage style look, stagger evergreen shrubs so they don’t line up in neat rows.
Quick Tip: Interested in adding more depth and dimension to your landscape? Check out my post on Landscape Layering to learn more.
The beauty of this particular raised bed build is that it is cheap and easy to build. The wood and rebar will cost you no more than $50 if you're using untreated pine planks, and the entire build can be completed in less than an hour's time. The untreated pine might only last five to 10 years, but due to the nature of this build, each board is easily replaceable without taking apart the entire bed. For a 4-by-8-foot bed, you’ll need:
On a level section of ground, lay the boards down with their inner corners touching. Stand one long board on its side, and, using a rubber mallet, hammer two pieces of rebar 1 foot from each corner, a few inches deep into the ground.
Use a piece of rebar at the center of each for temporary support. Next, prop up the second long side and adjust the alignment of your frame as necessary. Then hammer rebar a few inches deep 1 foot from each corner of the second long side.
Hammer rebar a few inches deep a foot from each corner of the short sides and remove the temporary supports. Add two pieces of rebar 2 feet apart along each long side. These will reinforce the frame when it’s filled with soil. Then hammer in the rebar until 6 to 10 inches are exposed above ground.
Line the bottom of your frame with newspaper or cardboard and wet it thoroughly. Finally, fill your bed with soil to within a few inches of the top.
The possibilities for building materials are endless:
Weave a frame with long, flexible sticks. The kids will have fun collecting them, and the results are usually Pinterest-worthy.
If you’ve recently cleared a tree, logs can be a cost-effective material. Choose pieces that are straight and at least 1 foot in diameter.
Placing the blocks with open ends up provides extra growing room. Tuck herbs or decorative flowers into the cavities.
High and Mighty
A waist-high bed is accessible to those with physical limitations.
Build your beds somewhere that receives at least five to six hours of daily sunlight — the more, the better! Orient them north to south to prevent plants from shading each other out. Beds should be at least a foot wide, though no more than 4 feet across to make weeding and harvesting manageable. Six to 8 feet long is typical and cost-effective. Ten to 14 inches is an ideal height to accommodate strong roots. Leave at least 2 or 3 feet between beds for walking and wheelbarrow access.
The brilliance of a plank-and-rebar design (see above) is that each individual wall is easily replaced. Try naturally rot-resistant varieties of wood, such as oak, cedar, and redwood.
You want the kind that’s dark, rich, and loaded with microorganisms. Fill your beds with a mix of 50 to 60% good-quality topsoil and 40 to 50% well-aged compost. Before each new growing season, test your soil for pH and nutrient content. You can buy a kit at most home-improvement stores. If your test shows a need for additional nutrients like nitrogen and potassium, raise levels by working in amendments such as bone meal and kelp. Dress beds with an additional ½ inch of compost later in the growing season to increase organic matter and boost soil health.
If you’re building your beds in high summer, it’s not too late to plant fall crops. Sow seeds like carrots and lettuce directly into the soil, or buy midseason transplants for crops like kale and broccoli. If you’d rather wait until next year to plant, cover the soil in your new raised beds with a mixture of grass clippings and shredded leaves in autumn — the material will compost before you’re ready to start in spring.