Friday, June 1, 2012

Raised Gardens

I have always wanted to try out raised gardens and set them up to be tiered.  I will probably experiment with it next growing season, but many people do it every year!  I decided to check out how it was done so that if I do decide to do it sooner, I can.  I have found a how-to for one that requires no digging.  This no dig vegetable garden is pretty straight forward and encourages you to recycle newspapers, cardboard, and compost to make it.  That means, you won't be buying tons of potting soil to fill it up.  There are a few layers that they use to make theirs to boost the soil that you're making and using but for me personally that just seemed like a lot to go out and buy. 

Big benefits of raised gardens are less weeding, a clear walkway so that you don't accidentally trample your plants, less bending to ease strain on bad backs, better soil drainage, and warmer soil for earlier planting in some areas.  They can easily take the place of weedy or bare areas in your yard and add an attractive feature to your overall landscape.  Build one with legs and you have one that you can put on a deck or other hard, even surface that can be moved around for convenience in the winter months, assuming that it's not too big and you've taken the dirt out.

For someone who has less horizontal space and more vertical space, tiered gardens are a beautiful touch.  These are what catch my breath every time that I see them done creatively.  Sure, there are plenty of terrace gardens on hillsides and front yards but I'm talking about real space-saving gardens that can be grown between buildings, on balconies and stairs, or even just small yards and are staggered little boxes of color and lush greens!  Check these ideas out for fun. 

Putting gardens on shelves or troughs are another option for people with minimal space.  Next year, my big project is to put troughs up the sides of our little shed.  It gets plenty of sun and because the wood made to build it is of poor quality, I get to cover it up with plants where it's rotting away at the bottom.  My plan: combine a tier and shelf build so that there are different sizes of troughs (bigger at the bottom and smaller at the top for herbs).  I also want to "tilt" them a bit as they go up so that I can see the plants, but not too much because we don't want the soil to drain out!

If you have not checked out the windowfarms that were posted from yesterday,  definitely look into those, too.  They're another way to recycle old plastic bottles and got me really excited to do.  There's no reason to only do them indoors or in a window, though!  I would totally put them on a porch if I didn't include the watering system with them.  I think that they can help to keep herbs going inside during the winter so that you don't have to rely on dried ones for cooking.  I had done that in a pot beside my sink this past winter.  I had chives and basil all winter and the plants are outside now getting a good drink in the rain and lots of sun when it stops.

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