Raised Bed Vegetable Gardening

by Tammy Taylor

My husband saw me on my hands & knees in the garden, struggling with digging out yet more bermuda strands.  (grrrrrr….)  He commented “Looks like YOU’RE not having any fun today!  Why don’t you do something different this year instead of raised-bed gardening?”  I looked up at him as I brushed my wind-blown hair from my face with a dirty glove, smiled and replied “I don’t know how to explain it to you, and I’m not sure I understand it myself, but I *HAVE* to do this, it’s in my blood!”   Several years ago we built three 20′ raised beds in my fenced vegetable garden area.  Now you have to remember that my veggie garden was initially planted in what was previously just a cattle pasture – I needed to amend the soil to be able to produce a bountiful garden.  The raised beds were built with regular 2×4 boards but they have lasted three years so far and will probably last another 3-4 years before they have to be replaced.

Taylor-Made Ranch Raised beds stripped (640x387)

I have two valued friends for my veggie garden:  my rain barrel and my compost tumbler. My rain barrel was simply a 55-gallon drum that my husband hooked up to a downspout to capture rainwater.  He installed a spigot on the bottom and a hand-pump on top.  I use this to fill my watering can for outside watering.

Rain Barrell

I’ve written previously about how roof rainwater runoff is diverted to an underground cistern which I pump out & use as drip irrigation for the garden during the summertime.  These things conserve rainwater and represent 100% of our outdoor watering needs in a typical year.  I love that I don’t have to use potable treated water originating from miles away from my home to maintain our  greenery!

Compost is an important item in our gardening endeavors as well.  I had made compost in a simple bin made of chicken wire for years but it was slow to make compost since I wasn’t very good at turning it regularly.  But a couple of years ago we purchased a compost tumbler and although I resisted this purchase for years, but now I must admit it’s one of the best garden purchases I’ve ever made.  I don’t purchase many groceries that come in cans or boxes, much preferring to shop the perimeter of the store for fresh fruits and veggies, lean meats, and staples such as flour and sugar.  The paper containers from the staples I buy are added to my compost as well as the veggie trimmings, coffee grounds, egg shells, etc.  I even add items other households might shred for security such as receipts, statements, etc.  A splash of water added from rinsing out the compost bucket and a quick spin around and I’m on my way to the rich sweet-smelling compost my veggies will love.  When I plant I’ll dig a small hole, place a handful of this black-gold compost in the hole and add my tender seedling.  A quick pat of the soil and a sprinkle from the watering can and I’m well on my way to a summers bounty of fresh veggies.

Taylor-Made Ranch Compost Tumbler

Now that the garden is ready to be planted, I’ll be looking forward to a summer of fresh produce!

Garden Produce Taylor-Made Ranch (640x480)

~TMR~

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16 thoughts on “Raised Bed Vegetable Gardening

  1. Margo

    Hi, I have a question regarding raised bed gardening.. this is my first garden in a long time and wonder about those seeds that you are supposed to sow directly into the ground. Since they are going to go into raised beds, can or should I start them inside and then plant at the appropriate time? Thanks for your help! Margo Ps… my blog is new…not much on it as yet, since this old woman of 63 is just beginning her homestead journey, but I’m getting things done!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Hi Margo, your blog looks like loads of fun & I’ll be sure to check back often to see what you’re up to! Regarding planting seeds or plants in raised beds – some people plant seeds directly into the beds, some start the seeds inside until after the first frost & transplant them into the garden and some just buy seedlings from the store. I fall somewhere in the middle, I’ll usually plant in my inside greenhouse sometime in February and after the danger of killing frost is over I’ll transplant those seedlings into the garden. This allows me to plant heirloom seeds & still enjoy the convenience of seedling planting. BUT there are many things I just plant in the garden – seed potatoes and green beans for instance, and often quicker-growing summer veggies like squash. (here is my post about using a quick indoor greenhouse to start seeds –> http://taylormaderanch.com/blog/starting-the-garden-early/ ) So the short answer is – whatever you’re comfortable with usually works! Gotta love easier gardening. Glad you stopped by. ~TMR~

      Reply
  2. Hannah

    Raised beds here too! Thanks for sharing with us at Eco-Kids Tuesday!! Hope you come link up again today!

    Reply
  3. Barb @ A Life in Balance

    I love raised beds! What are you planting this year? My dh just prepared ours this weekend. Thanks for linking up at Fabulously Frugal Thursday.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Barb, Unexpected things have me way behind on getting things planted this year, but I’m hoping to catch up soon. We love fresh green beans and always plant them heavily, as well as roma-type tomatoes, cantaloupe, onions, garlic, potatoes, zucchini, summer squash, and spaghetti squash. We’ll see what all we can fit in this year and I’ll be sure to post along the way! ~TMR~

      Reply
  4. Cynthia L.

    Your raised beds are wonderful! I love your rain barrel! I wish I had a couple of those. Thanks for stopping by Feeding Big and linking up to Living Big on Less Money! I always look forward to reading about your farm life! Cynthia

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Thanks for your compliment Cynthia. Our raised beds are a work in progress since we built them in an area that was previously just a cow pasture. But every year the soil gets better and better. I love our rain barrel too and I think my Honey did a great job on it. 🙂 ~TMR~

      Reply
  5. Amy

    This is our very first year attempted a vegetable garden. Or any sort of garden, really. Although I think most of my produce is going to be grown in pots, I’m strongly considering square foot raised bed gardening for subsequent years. Beautiful pictures. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Sally

      This is my 4 th year doing square foot gardening. You won’t regret it. We’ ve added additional beds each year and now total 9 plus a 4×10 for asparagus .

      Reply
  6. Debbie

    Nothing like fresh home-grown vegetables! We mostly grow ours in huge containers, have to keep them under lock & key due to the chickens. lol Love your compost tumbler! We have a huge 3 section homemade compost bin, but like you, we are bad a remembering to turn it. Most of the time only waste from the property is added, because the chickens and dog love to root in it for scraps to eat. And most kitchen scraps are given to the chickens anyway. Saw you sharing at Tilly’s Nest Down Home Blog Hop, again. Debbie 🙂

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Debbie – I resisted purchasing a tumbler for years preferring to do things the old-fashioned way. But MAN I was bad about turning it! Oh it would still eventually make compost but not for a very long time. The tumbler has definitely improved my compost acquisition and use. ~TMR~

      Reply
  7. Kenya G. Johnson

    With all the TLC your future veggies are sure to be as beautiful as what is in that basket! TALU

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Awww Thanks Kenya. I’m SO FAR behind in my veggie planting this year. Today promises to be windy but warm – guess where I’m destined to spend the day? (good thing I love being in the garden!) ~TMR~

      Reply
  8. Stevie

    We do raised beds, too. Although I dump everything in my chicken pasture all year long (manure, scraps, dirty straw, etc) and then haul it by the wheelbarrow to the garden after the chickens turn it for me. if I could just decrease the space between my raised beds and the chicken pasture I’d be doing great! Until then I consider it my exercise program 🙂 Stevie

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      OOOH Stevie – I’ve always heard chicken litter is the best fertilizer. Lucky you! ~TMR~

      Reply

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