With no experience gardening, raised beds can be a great way to start. At our first house we dove straight in and built three raised beds out of wood. We had great success the first year, growing squash, peas, onions, herbs and a few other things.
By the time our second year rolled around the wood for the best had warped and rotted out. We realized that even though they were cedar boards, 12″ by 1″ planks were not the best for building beds. I’d suggest 12″ by 2″s now! We upgraded from wood to cinder blocks and increase our number of raised beds from three to five. We were growing, and already growing ambitiously.
By this point, we ventured into the idea of some longer term plans in the garden. We started some asparagus in one bed and some raspberries along the fence in another spot (no in a bed, but nearby). Free woodchips from the city and made nice paths between the beds. And we filled the holes in the cinder blocks by planting herbs. We kept planting squash that second year and added a few more adventurous things, but weren’t always successful! I was very excited to try growing artichoke, but failed miserably, The same with fennel. In those beds though I was ecstatic to have successful basil, which I haven’t been successful with since.
Those beds also led us to try out drip watering. Increasing our beds from three to five meant I couldn’t keep up with the watering by hand before I had to head to work, there was just too much to cover. Jer having been in landscaping at a young age, meant that he had a plan for building a drip system. We tried a variety of drip styles over the years and were constantly changing and updating how we approached things. At some point I’ll make a post outline the varieties of drip systems we’ve tried with some tips of how to approach that setup in your garden.
I’ll end this post for now, by saying, if you can, try a raised bed or two. Start small, do something! It can be a great gateway into wanting to have a farm of your own. Plus the more space we create to grow our own food at home, the more we help save on food transportation costs and environmental effects of what we eat.
Plus it just tastes better!