Friday, October 7, 2011

easy raised beds

I do love the little kitchen garden I put in the first year we lived here. It's just off the back porch and it's small, but it does hold lots of good things. This year I grew tomatoes, peppers, carrots, lettuce (three kinds), onions, scallions, green beans, rhubarb and garlic. I also have a few herbs that grow out there too (mint, cilantro, chives, rosemary). This little garden runs into the "remembrance" garden I put in last spring on the south end of the kitchen. The gardens are "L" shaped, with the kitchen garden taking up the smaller side of the L, and the remembrance garden on the larger side.

  (Here's the garden plan I worked from last spring when I put in the remembrance garden.)

Anyway... I was out on the back porch the other day pondering the kitchen garden and thinking how nice it would be to grow some strawberries. I have seven fruit trees planted on the east hill in the back yard, and raspberries and blackberries growing down the hill on the north... but no strawberries. The dogs have free run of the back yard so planting strawberries has seemed like a pointless project... since as soon as the berries ripened, the dogs would eat them. Planting them outside of the back yard would be even more pointless, as the deer would eat them the minute they discovered the tasty treat I'd planted for them!

So I started thinking about raised beds... It would be nice to have some lovely wooden raised beds, maybe on the east side of the kitchen garden... where I've been meaning all summer to put in a nice garden fence but have never gotten around to it. It would be hard for me to make a raised bed from wood though... I never use the table saw, and there is no other good way to cut the wood. Hmm... what to do? As I pondered I looked absentmindedly out across the land to the east and my eyes fell on the old metal horse trough down by my neighbor's barn. Suddenly I saw that beat-up old trough in a different way... an old metal trough would make a lovely, and easy, raised bed!

It only took a couple of days searching on Craigslist to find a couple of old metal troughs.

They are each 8' long and approximately 2' high and wide. The kids and I drove up north to get them and then I wrestled them off the truck through the yard and into place. It was a bit of work to get the one I put by the back porch level, but it's done now and they are ready now for some rock in the bottom (for drainage and so they don't need as much dirt to fill them), soil, and planting in the spring.

(This is the view from the east looking back towards the house... I just took this picture, isn't the sky a brilliant blue?)

I'm pretty happy with my new raised beds... and can hardly wait to see them filled with strawberry plants!

M's hip is healing well (thank you so much to those who've sent cards!!) and little by little we are making progress back towards "normal". First we put away the big ice pack machine, then the walker went back out to the barn, and a few days later the raised toilet seat made the same trip. He's down to one crutch now and should be walking with no crutches next week. His hip has made an incredibly fast recovery! Unfortunately, his GI system is still pretty shut down. The days are hard... trying to figure out what he can eat (and all of us being so tired of the few things that don't make him sick!) and dealing with his anger and upset over his limited diet. He's destabilized a bit too, which isn't helping things any. I've registered a formal complaint with the Patient Reps. at Children's Hospital over the GI department not doing the consult M's surgeon requested, and the Behavioral Sciences department also not following through on the support he was supposed to receive while inpatient. We'll see where it goes...

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