Hey Guys! I don't know about ya'll but we have had a busy busy summer. Working at my Uncles produce stand and just regular chores around our own farm has kept us very busy.
So much happened over the summer, from new projects to new animals! Which we will be talking more about in future posts.
But for today, we are adding our new raised beds. So back in the spring when it was planting time, I wanted to raise some items in a raised bed. Well, I will say I scoured over Pinterest, looked at all types of plans and material to make them out of. I ran into some pretty awesome plans and some pretty good deals. But honestly, with lumber being so expensive during this whole covid thing, I just didn't want to spend 100$ or more on a garden bed. I wanted two beds, built identical in front of this little building that I use as a greenhouse. So, let's just say, when you are planting, fertilizing, watering, picking, washing, and canning all this stuff yourself, well for 200 bucks you could buy a lot of already canned items from the grocery store and walla no work at all! So for me, it had to be really really cheap!
So in these two very large boxes, I have about 20 bucks! This is just for the box of screws. I did invest more buying a few bags of river pebbles to make the walking up part nice for when I'm watering and weeding, but that is totally up to you and you don't have to have those to make the bed.
Now you can see there are wood planks involved, but they are scrap pieces that were laying under a shed on our farm. So I didn't have any money tied up in that. I also wanted to add that I don't' have exact measurements of these bins. The grain bin was located on our farm and was falling apart, so I took it down in a day's time, and used the rings to make the beds. You can see the size of the actual bin I used by looking to the left in the picture below. It took a day and a half from start to finish to make the bed once it was taken apart.
As you can see the ground where I wanted to place the bed was not level. So we had to start digging around the ground to level it. This is very important so your dirt will drain right once
it is filled. Praise the Lord for my wonderful husband. He gets that look on his face when he sees me coming up with a new idea, sweating by myself cause he knows this will turn out into a mess if he doesn't help me!
Getting it level was the hardest part, and not for the weary. We did have to dig down pretty deep on one side. If you have a level spot to sit the ring of the bin to start with it, it will make your job so much easier!!! We both had blisters the next day from the digging.
I wanted a box built inside so it would contain all the dirt, but would allow me to have a seating ledge to work out the weeds, along with the garden to use up as much of the space as possible. These beds would contain things like tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, watermelons, and then in the fall we just finished picking our pumpkins. The other bed now contains spinach and arugula! These beds have really really been worth the time.
Now I will say that if you didn't have all this stuff lying around it might be more
costly than 20 bucks. But the size, for the amount you would spend still, would give you more veggies for the money. Especially the soil. We do have cow pastures and I was able to get my dad and my son to use the tractor to fill up each bed with the soil straight from the pasture, which has made for excellent soil. If you had to fill them up from Lowes or by the bag it would be more costly, I would suggest checking with a company that hauls dirt or rock, most of the time they will also haul topsoil and a better price than by the bag.
As you can see, the seating ledge works great for also storing your veggies as you pick them. I had some leftover polyurethane and I covered the wood with that to preserve them from the rain. These beds did the trick! I was able to raise enough cucumbers without breaking my back to pick them, and fill two churns full of sweet pickle to can, my mom two churns full, my aunt and I made a dozen jars of dill pickles and sweet cinnamon pickles for the holidays! We had them coming out of our ears!
Like I was saying above, you don't have to include the river rock. But I think it adds a nice touch and I did it because I was already tired of weed-eating up inside of the bed to keep from running into snakes. I like to be able to work and not have to fret that. I laid down plastic to keep the weeds from busting through and then bought about 8 bags of rock for each bed. I made these at the beginning of summer, but didn't want to post until I knew for a fact that it would work. And I must say, it's one of the best things we have made yet!! Happy Homesteading!