Sunday, April 3, 2011

Building Raised Bed Gardens

There are so many ways to grow food in an urban environment. Window boxes, pots or buckets on stairs or a flat roof are great options, and are how I gardened for many years. Tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers and herbs are all easy to grow in containers. And the online resources for container gardening online are endless.  If you are fortunate to have a little piece of earth outside your door, as i now do, raised beds are a great option. For the first few years that I had a yard, I gardened in the ground and had my soil tested and also added lots of compost and lyme to it to help things grow, but last year we finally managed to build raised beds, which allow us to grow more food in a smaller space and guarantee that our soil is not contaminated with lead or other toxins. You can purchase raised beds online, or build them yourself rather cheaply. Click here to read a detailed post on how we built ours using inexpensive but sturdy douglas fir wood.

What are you growing and where?


  1. Hi Tagan:

    I think I am going to get a small raised bed for my backyard (don't really have the time to build one, and they have some made of recycled materials that are fairly reasonably priced). There are a couple of size options, and I think I want to keep it small just to test out how we make out in our yard. There's a 4'x 4', 3' x 3', and 3'x 3'. They also have nets that cover because, in my memory, the birds basically made it kids. My question is, with this limited space, what's the best way to maximize it? I'm thinking lettuce, kale, snap peas, peppers and not sure I can really fit anything else! I want to do tomatoes, but will be doing those in a separate pot. Any ideas based on your experiential wisdom are appreciated!

    ps-saw the article in the slc mag-great work!

  2. HI Sabrina, not sure if this comment will respond to you so let me know. tomatoes in a separate pot is good. they need a lot of soil, so a 5 gallon size bucket is good. you can get cucumbers to grow up a structure and also snap peas need to climb, so figure out where things can go vertical. you can probably google vertical gardening and find some good ideas. you need to think about the shade that this will create on the other plants, so position wisely according to the path of the sun. the other suggestion would be doing successive plantings, so with sugar snap peas for example, plant one row and then a week or 2 later plan another row right in front or inbetween the first. you can do this a few times to get a longer lasting crop. the same can be done with lettuces, planting every 2 weeks. you also can plant lettuce in a dense mass, not spaced out for individual heads. there is a link form last year on my blog of a video of this incredible urban farm on 1/10 acre, that you wont believe: another thing to look at is some of the varities you grow. some lettuce are good for spring and fall, but not good in real hi heat, others are, so plan accordingly. I would plant a lettuce mix, a cucumber plant growing up, sugar snap peas going up, maybe 2 little greenbean bushes and a whole bunch of good herbs in pots. so great!!! good luck! xo-T