Starting Raised Beds
While it may be winter outside, you need to start putting it in your mind that it is time to start planning for planting. It might help you beat the winter blues by dreaming of fresh organically grown crunchy, sweet peas fresh from the garden melting in your mouth and hummingbirds whizzing past your ears. So, ok, you can have hummingbirds do that even in winter, if you are willing to take strict care in keeping them safe and feed during the winter, here inn the Puget Sound area, but that is for a different post. The main guide that I use is The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible by Edward C. Smith as it has thorough, simple steps for everything from choosing what material to use for raised beds to naturally controlling common pests and diseases. If you don't have them already, you should look around and decide where to place the beds. Take time to know where to base them so that they get the most sun exposure, which basically means facing south without trees in the way. Here are some steps to help you in getting your garden beds ready. Go easy. Any gardener will tell you that a smaller, healthy garden will be much easier and produce better results than a larger, poorly managed one. We suggest getting a few small raised beds or pots for your first season, as they are easiest to weed and ensure good drainage. Plan it out. Mark where the beds will be with stakes and string. Some veggies, like pumpkin, zucchini, and onions, require more space and should be placed further apart than carrots or flowers. Also, make sure you have easy access to all sides of your raised beds so you can weed and water effectively. Prepare for the weeds. You could choose to use weed-killing pesticides on your garden, but those chemicals can be harmful to children, dogs, and other backyard animals. Instead, before planting the beds, try placing pieces of cardboard on top of the native soil, and then put the beds on top. This will prevent weeds from growing up into them. Soil matters. A good rule of thumb is to make sure of your soil. Good organic soil with necessary nutrients that are needed for what you are going to plant. If you’re really committed, think about starting a compost bin to help enrich your soil. You don’t need to start from seed. Here in the Puget Sound region, April is really the best time to plant from seed, unless you have a greenhouse to help start them earlier. Yet you could, instead, pick up some newly started plants from your local gardening store. As long as you’re willing to get a little dirty and spend a few hours outside, gardening is a perfect summer activity. Don’t get discouraged if your plants don’t all flourish the first season — even the best gardeners have bad seasons. Even if it’s just a couple of tomatoes or a head of lettuce, invite your neighbors for dinner and have a fun summer cookout. We guarantee that whatever you grow will taste a hundred times more satisfying than anything you could get at the store. Stop by and check out the Raised Garden Beds we have available.