In an effort to become even more self reliant we have decided to start our own little backyard garden. This is a first for us so I’m sure there will be some mistakes along the way mixed in with a lot of learning.
When we had the idea to start our own garden we decided we would build a raised garden box. We were going into this with a small budget and were just looking for something basic to get started with. What we ended up with was a box that is 5 feet by 4 feet with 10 inch side walls. The box itself was actually very simple to build. We started with a 2″x10″x10′ and a 2″x10″x8′ board and cut them both in half. To hold the boards together we purchased four L brackets, one for each of the corners. These L brackets were screwed in and than we hammered in a nail at the top and bottom of each corner. Yes we know there are better ways to build a raised garden box, but like I said, we were on a budget and were just trying to build a basic cheap box.
After the box was completed we placed the box on top of the small rocks that make up our desert “lawn”. We dug out a little area the size of the box we had built so we could create a snug fit when we set the box down. Once the garden box was in place we leveled out the rocks in the inside and built up some rocks on the outside of the box for more stability. The next step was to fill the thing with soil. Our original plan was to build a raised garden box that was 12 feet by 4 feet, we are glad we didn’t do this. We had to go back to the garden center to get more soil because our estimate was way off. Even with the smaller size of our garden box it still took a lot of soil to fill it up. What we used to fill it was a mixture of potting soil, top soil, and steer manure. Once again, we are new at this so we are hoping we are doing the right thing when it comes to soil.
Now most of what we will be planting requires that the seeds be started indoors. Some of them can start outside and those have already been planted. When we were purchasing seeds it seems we may have went a little overboard because we noticed our raised garden box is just to small for everything we have. So our solution? Well instead of building another box we decided we would just test out this hard desert soil we have here.
What we did next was we decided to remove rock from an area of our lawn to expose the clay like soil under it. Once we got at the clay, we started to till it until we had something we could work with. Our next step was to add some better soil to the top of what was already there. We added the same kind of mixture that we had used in the raised garden box. The area that we created is about 5 feet wide by about 3 feet deep. We are sure we will need more room in the future so we will be adding another 5 feet of width to this garden. Hopefully this little garden works out since the only cost was some top soil and some digging into hard clay to soften it up.
Well that is the project we started this last weekend. Two gardens, one raised and one in the ground, and hoping we can get both to flourish. Oh and I almost forgot to mention what we plan on growing. So far we have started Watermelon, Cantaloupe, Cayenne Pepper, Jalapeno, Sweet Pepper, Yellow Onion, Butter Lettuce, Cabbage, Strawberry, Cucumber, Broccoli, Corn, Tomato, and Eggplant. Wow after typing all of that it looks like I better get started on that extra 5 feet of space.