How to Build A Raised Vegetable Bed: Part II

There are several pretty big, if shallow, holes on our property. When one deepened, it became a pond. Another one is slated to become a dry creek bed … someday. Despite my husband’s protests that the indentation in the front yard would be a terrific sand trap for a cross-yard driving range, we’ve filled the final hole with autumn leaves chopped up by the mower and deposited in thick layers.

So how exactly does this relate to building a vegetable bed? Well, it means that after scooping the top layer of chopped leaves away to use as mulch along my rhododendrons, I have a nice pile of dark – free! – dirt to fill my new vegetable beds.

I filled each bed halfway with the decomposed leaves, then topped that off with four bags of purchased topsoil. Finally – at long last – came the step I’ve been long awaiting: planting.

So far my tiny crop consists of:

  • Big Boy Tomato
  • Better Boy Tomato
  • Roma Tomato
  • Basil
  • Cilantro
  • Zucchini
  • Cucumber
  • Anaheim Pepper
  • Yellow Bell Pepper

I planted my basil alongside my tomatoes in the hopes of infusing some exciting flavor into the vegetable. I also added a few marigolds in that square for cheer and to attract pests away from the edibles. Alongside the plants are markers I found on Pinterest: dowels with the name of each plant written on an attached clothespin.

Tomatoes and Marigolds

It almost sounds like I know what I’m doing, doesn’t it? In all actuality, when I arrived at the local garden center to select my plants it hit me that this is really my first vegetable garden. All of this knowledge soaked up from helping my mom in summers past is being put to use for the first time. It was a funny feeling to stand there frozen in place with a biodegradable pot crumbling into each hand as I thought about all of the watering and weeding ahead … and then imagined feeding my family sauces cooked from my own tomatoes and herbs (perhaps more realistically, one and half sandwiches featuring my homegrown produce, but let’s start out optimistic, shall we). For some reason, I felt overwhelmed at the thought of it all, when earlier I had been so excited for such work.

Peppers and Zucchini

That feeling was there later too as I scooped dirt out of the way and tucked each tiny sprout securely into place. As I pulled off my glove to scratch between the dog’s ears, it occurred to me that the feeling was probably because I’ve been maxed out on nurturing lately. It was nice to remember that my garden is anything but demanding. It’s my little oasis, a place where I can go and think about absolutely nothing.

I dug a little further then Akira and I sat there enjoying the view, taking turns sniffing happily at the odor in the air of freshly disturbed dirt and impending rain.

Guard Akita

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