We met with a client two weeks before lockdown in February, 2020 with a plan to convert a rose garden into a productive vegetable patch. Then we put everything on hold. Two years later, we revamped the whole concept and created something much better.
Our client shared an impressive story. She was at one time paralyzed and was told she would never walk again. But when we arrived for our first meeting she came to the gate…very much walking, with big dreams of a vegetable garden.
The problem with the existing raised beds was that they were tucked under two trees. They were mostly in shade, and we were concerned that there wouldn’t be enough light for tomatoes and other veggies that needed more light.
The idea of reaching into these beds also had the potential to be daunting for our client. Add to that the local visitors (rats, racoons, and squirrels) and we knew we needed to protect the beds in a way that was easy for the homeowner to use.
We excavated the grassy area in front of the existing rose garden and installed elevated raised planter beds. 2 2x8s, 1 4×4 and 1 2×4 gave us almost as much space to grow as before, but these beds were easy to reach into without kneeling down.
The cages (with zip ties to keep them securely assembled) lift off with 2 handles at the top of each cage. They are a little cumbersome to lift at times, but they do a great job at protecting crops from curious interlopers.
We continued the gravel from the existing planter area to include the new raised bed area. And to ensure solid footing, we only installed a 1″ depth of gravel instead of 2″. The pathways were roomy enough for homeowner to easily walk between beds, add a seat, or use a walking stick.
What Did We Plant?
All the cool-season veggies went in on planting day: Spinach and lettuces, peas, cauliflower and broccoli, cabbage, green onions, loads of lettuces, and a few herbs. We also planted beets and carrots from seed.
The homeowner can easily water those seeds by hand with a nearby hose until the seeds sprout and the drip irrigation takes over. We added mint to a pot in one bed, to keep it from consuming the entire bed. And then we planted strawberries right up front, so the family can come snack from the garden when they ripen.
Our client is thrilled with her new elevated garden and looks forward to harvesting from it in about a week. The family will be eating fresh salads all winter long, and enjoying fresh herbs in their cooking throughout the season.
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