As soon as the holidays are over, the winter weather finds me daydreaming about the coming spring. I decide which annual flowers I will plant and create my kitchen garden plan including a shopping list.
Next I list the foods we like (no point in growing something we can’t or won’t eat) and quantities necessary for preserving the crops. I also grow enough to share with friends. I look over last year’s garden plan and map out what crops will be planted where. This is important as it is necessary to rotate crops and amend your soils every year. Even if you are a container gardener, soils must be new or amended every year. It is a good idea to keep a garden journal to keep track of past garden spacing and note problems if any occurred. If you continue to plant the same plants in the same location in your garden year after year, the soil will become depleted of necessary nutrients. It also can invite diseases.
Each season fertilizer or compost is added to the soil and crops are rotated from the previous season. The materials used in our garden bed project should last for many years and the beds are an attractive addition to our garden.
I have a raised bed kitchen garden area my husband and I built. Although I love gardening, I’m not fond of the maintenance and back aches. In the past I have made raised garden beds from wood, which looked unsightly after a season or two and were expensive to construct. I wanted an inexpensive and attractive alternative to build my raised beds.
One day, as I sat on my front step thinking about this project, I noticed the raised panels on my neighbor’s garage door. Suddenly I realized I could make raised beds from garage door panels.
- My husband and I received free, slightly used garage door panels and struts from our local garage door company.
- We purchased resin reinforced vinyl fence posts and finials at a home improvement store.
- Hardware was found in the vinyl fencing section to attach the panels to the posts.
- My husband cut the door panels with a jigsaw to the length and width needed for each bed.
- Two struts were attached, one at the upper section and one on the lower section of each panel for strength.
- He cut each fence post to a length just above the panel height and added the finials.
- After attaching the panels to the posts with the fencing hardware, we added heavy-duty commercial pond liner to direct the drainage to the center of the bed. This also keeps water from seeping out under the sides of the beds. The liner leaves about a 5-inch wide by 3/4 the length (of the bed) opening in the center of the bed floor area.
- We then placed the beds on a layer of rock and filled the beds with garden soil.
- We used a station of our sprinkling system to add automatic watering for the beds. A valve is located on each bed so the water can be turned off each bed separately.
I cover the top of the beds with plastic for some crops such as tomatoes, cutting a hole to plant each tomato start. This eliminates weeds and keeps animals from digging in the beds. We built these garden beds years ago and they still look great.