This is the first in a series of posts about the process of creating a kitchen vegetable garden in my yard using elevated wood garden planters.
Last summer after realizing that we were eating more veggies and enjoyed getting them fresh right from our small garden every day, that it was time to go bigger with our vegetable gardening efforts.
We did a lot of planning, watching how the sun moved through our yard during the day and found the best spot, much better than where the previous owner created a small garden that we had been using.
The spot that was best to set up the garden is in our side yard that borders the lake, right next to a hose connection and door to the house.
I wrote about it briefly last summer after we read the book Square Foot Gardening and began in earnest to learn how to become better at growing and maintaining a garden with just enough for our needs.
So What Exactly is a Kitchen Garden?
- A Kitchen Garden is an opportunity to incorporate fresh foods into your kitchen to ultimately lead a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle.
- Kitchen Gardens consist of raised beds typically located near or around your home for optimal access to your kitchen. It is a smaller scale, more manageable opportunity to incorporate gardening into your lifestyle.
- You can grow small or large quantities of your favorite veggies while adding an aesthetically-pleasing touch to your home. It’s a simple way to add a little of your own harvest to every meal.
Getting the Kitchen Garden Set Up
To add more space and sunlight to the chosen garden area, we had a tall pine cut down, then over the winter, Ed removed tall shrubs that covered the side of the house and another row of them that borders the cove along our property line so the sun would not be blocked from reaching the area.
He also dug up the grass in the area and placed landscaping cloth down that for now he covered with pine straw.
We were thinking of using pea gravel under the area where the elevated beds will be, but with pine trees all around us, we may just stick to keeping the area natural using pine straw mulch to designate the area.
We also plan to move the herb and tomato planters to the new garden area to create one easy to access place to grow what we need and easier to maintain.
At the end of the row of whiskey barrels you can see the original small garden we used for the last 5 years. Ed is going to level that area and seed so grass will grow.
What’s Next for Getting The Kitchen Garden Up and Growing
- Create a garden floor plan on how to best set up the the planters – two with a trellis or arch and barrels in a pleasingly aesthetic way.
- Stain the outsides of the elevated planters and repaint the whiskey barrels that hold herbs to coordinate with the wood deck on the lake side of the house and natural surroundings.
- Add cedar strips to create a square foot grid on top of each planter.
- Fill with a soil mix that the Square Foot Gardening book recommends and begin planting.
- Eventually as we build upon the area, we will add a fence, create a compost area, build a potting bench and build upon the area each year to see what is needed and what is not. It will be a little trial and error until we find what works best.
Why We Chose To Use Elevated Wood Planters Instead of DIY
Orignally when we were planning the garden, we were going to DIY raised garden beds ourselves with cedar lumber.
I nixed that idea when I found these easy to assemble elevated garden planters online that were delivered right to our doorstep.
If we went the DIY route we would have had to rent a truck to bring all the lumber needed home from Lowes or Home Depot.
It was much easier and the cost for the lumber, truck, rental and gas was about the same to buy 4 easy to assemble rectangular elevated wood garden planters.
The planters arrived last week and Ed put them together in a few hours right in the house as he watched golf on TV. :-)
All that is needed is a screw driver. Each piece fits easily into slots. All the screws came with the kit for each planter.
They come with a cloth liner in the size and shape of the box that fits the inside of the planter perfectly.
A few other reasons that I like the elevated planters is that:
- They are high enough to keep the rabbits out.
- No bending down on hands and knees to take care of what we grown inside each of them.
- Can be placed on a deck, porch or patio for when you don’t want or need a large garden
So now it is my turn to stain the exteriors of the planters and change the color of the whiskey barrels.
I will be staining the planters the color of this trellis.
I still have to decide on what kind of trellis or garden arch I want to use for string beans and cukes.
If you have a style or type you use and like, please let me know in the comments.
Where To Find The Elevated Wood Garden Planters
- Best Choice Products Raised Garden Bed – 48x24x30-inch
- The Book: All New Square Foot Gardening