Our First Raised Bed!

Hello reader,

The weather has remained warmer than usual for this time of year. I became timid about waiting to start our cool weather crops because of the warmer temperatures. My husband has been amazing with his hard work. He went out and prepped the ground, clearing out all of the grass and loosening the soil before placing down our first raised bed. I know last time, I said my next post would be out “how to” for building these, but I had to sneak in this post before next weekend!

We plan to get our soil from the recycling center in town, where we can get a bulk amount for a slightly less amount of money. It’s also a great quality for garden use. Unfortunately, the soil isn’t ready to purchase at the recycling center yet. But there was an alternative way to get soil for a cheap price! On our trips to Lowe’s, we kept checking for their opened/damaged bags in the lawn and garden area. Our firs time checking, we were able to get soil and black mulch for 25 cents a bag! The most recent time we found opened/damaged bags for sale, we got peat humus, cow compost, top soil, and more mulch for 1/2 price. When it was time to fill our 3×6 raised bed, we mixed together the top soil, compost, and peat humus with a goal of having a 2:1:1 ratio (with it being 2 parts top soil). I don’t know if this is right, but it’s what we’re trying out. Sometimes, you just have to do the trial and error method, and that’s okay! I did try to research what we should use, but there were a lot of different ideas out there, so we’ll see if this way works for us.

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One of our chives, ready to be planted in the middle of our first 3×6 raised bed.

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In this raised bed, we’ve planted spinach, lettuce, carrots, and the chives. I’ll be planting the second container of chives later on.

I started out with one container of chives, but they got knocked over. So, we hurried and replanted the tiny chive seedlings. I don’t know if you’ve ever had to dig through spilled dirt for tiny grass looking seedlings, but it isn’t easy! We re-planted and then they got knocked into the sink! We re-planted once again, but they didn’t fit back into just one container very well. We ended up needing to put some of them in a second container, sprinkling a few more seeds to help fill it all in. Believe it or not, the twice re-planted chive seedlings survived and thrived despite their rough start! Now that’s what I call a hardy plant! And now, they are getting to be big enough to transplant into their more permanent home.

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Spinach seeds being planted after soaking in a wet paper towel overnight.

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Ta-Da! Everything is planted and watered. Now to wait for sprouts.

I didn’t expect to be so excited for the purple carrots, but I’m especially anxious to see if the carrots will work out this year. I tried carrots before without luck, but it was later in the season  the dirt wasn’t very worked through. Hopefully a raised bed makes a positive difference! They were free seeds with my purchase, so why not see what happens? And the lettuce and spinach will be extremely welcome! We love making salads with homemade vinaigrette, and the spinach should be able to freeze well for later use! Whatever it is you are excited to grow for your cool weather crops, I hope you have fun crafting your garden!

Oh! One more piece of excitement… We have an update on our pepper seeds. Just FOUR days after using the paper towel method combined with heat source, we have a Jalapeño seed that has germinated! I have to admit, I’ve never had great luck with growing peppers from seeds. Then again, I’ve never had a heat source for them – oops! Seriously though, this is just awesome!

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Our first pepper seed – germinated in FOUR days!

Until next time fellow gardeners!

UPDATE 2/21/17:

Today I came home from work prepared to plant 1 Jalapeño Mild Pepper seed, and maybe a few Forget-Me-Nots… To my pleasant surprise, many more seeds had germinated! I decided I needed to update since last night.

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As of now, we have 2 Banana Peppers, 5 Ozark Giant Peppers, 4 Cayenne Peppers, 6 Jalapeño Mild Peppers, and a LOT of Forget-Me-Nots. They are now planted in some potting mix for now (for moisture purposes). I forgot to mix it with seed starter mix… But, hopefully within this next week we’ll start seeing some sprouting! I’d say using the heating pad we already had on hand worked beautifully! I’ve not had success germinating peppers very well in the past, but between the continuous moisture from paper towels and heat, we have take off my garden friends!

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