Sunday, June 2, 2013

Planting in the Raised Bed Garden

The weather finally warmed up enough to start planting in my raised bed garden I built last month (see how I built it here).  I went to one of my favorite nurseries and picked up half a truckload of 'Super-Soil", organic compost and manure.  They were very nice in helping me figure out how much of everything and in what portions I would need based on the dimensions of my raised bed.  We literally filled half of the back of our 8' pick-up bed with soil & materials.  Then it was my job to shovel all of this into the garden bed...however it was 50 feet away and over a fence so I could not simply back the truck up to it.  So I had to get creative...

I pulled a bunch of plastic storage tubs out of my garage (I use these for so many things!).  Then I placed two of them side-by-side on my Farm & Ranch Steel Utility Cart that I had just recently purchased.  It is rated to hold 400lbs and this heavy dirt was a true test of its ability (and it performed wonderfully).  After the 2 tubs were full I pulled the cart over to my fenced in dog run where I built my raised bed garden frame. I repeated this for 16 tubs worth!!!  I filled the garden frame with layers of super soil, then compost, then manure and mixed each layer a bit before beginning the next set of layers.  Once it was full I let it sit a few days to warm up in the sun.

On the weekend I was ready to start planting my seedlings that I started in my mini hothouse indoors.  I planted some Okra, Watermelon, Cucumber, and two kinds of Squash.  I watered them by hand with a light sprinkle the first day, then set up my automatic sprinkler the next day.  The reason I built the raised bed inside the dog run is because I figured the fence and dogs would keep deer, javelina, and rabbits from eating my veggies. To keep my dogs and cats from getting up in the bed, to see what I had been working on, I wrapped some chicken wire around the tops of the blocks, about 12-18 inches above the blocks.

The next morning I went out to look at my new little garden and discovered that one of the cats or dogs had climbed up on the wire and ate the tops off of most of my plants!?!  I wrapped another round of chicken wire around the top of the first row of wire to make the fencing 3 feet above the top of the blocks and they still got in!  I was getting so mad at them now.  Thank goodness I still had some seeds left so I was able to replant the veggies, but this was going to have to stop or I would not have a garden at all this year.

With some investigative work by my husband and I, we discovered that the cats were most likely the culprits.   Prior to planting the seedlings in the garden I had allowed the cats to come and go from the kennel area through a small opening at the bottom of the gate.  But when I started planting I didn't want any critters coming in that opening so I closed it off.  When I did this, the cats could no longer get out to roam (they wouldn't jump the 4' chainlink fence) so they were stuck inside the fenced area and apparently got they explored my garden and ate my plants.  So I weighed the risks and re-opened the gap in the gate for the cats.  No more visitors in my garden since.

Now that the cat issue was resolved my garden has begun to grow again.  I had to add some mulch to the garden because the wind (it is always windy here) was drying out my dirt.   Now the plants have no one eating them and they are staying wet longer between waterings, so they are happily thriving.  I have added a few more seeds directly in the garden which are coming up nicely.  You can see that I have different stages of the same plants like my squash because the cats ate half of them so I had to replant.  Here are my plants so far.

New Zucchini seedlings I planted to replace the ones eaten. Older Zucchini that survived the cats are also in picture.

Brand new cucumber seedlings restarted.

New Roma Tomato seedlings (needing thininng).

New Watermelon (second planting)

Bell Peppers that were not eaten by the cats.

See the tiny baby 'Okra bloom' already?

Have your started your garden yet?  What are you growing?

Keeper of 1 husband, 2 grandkids, 3 dogs,
3 cats, and 17 Chickens!
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Did this post stir something inside of you? If so, Please leave me a comment, I would love to know what you're thinking!!!


  1. I pinned this since I'm wanting to do raised beds in the future when I actually have a yard! Right now I have to settle for apartment windowsill gardening! lol.

    Visiting via the Clever Chicks Blog Hop!

    Blue Eyed Beauty Blog
    Exercise Encouragement Group Blog

    1. Cool, thank you Helen! I hope you do make a raised bed garden, I have found I can grow just about anything in a raised bed and have the hardest time in a regular garden on the ground.

      PS, sorry for the delay in publishing your comment, blogger just notified me today???

  2. Nice idea, I love a raised garden, sure is easier on the back. I'm sure your rewards will be great with all those fresh veggies. Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week; I hope you’ll join us again!

    Kathy Shea Mormino

    The Chicken Chick


Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to leave a thoughtful comment...I love hearing what is on your mind!