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Last year was our first year to have a garden in our new house.
In one of our previous houses, we had an incredibly large raised garden bed. We saved money by doing one large bed, instead of several raised garden beds. We did have to buy more compost/soil for the bed, but we saved a lot of money in wood.
This time around, we don’t have space in our backyard to create this large of a garden. We also needed to do something cheap – like really cheap, quick and easy. My husband was in the hospital that January and while he was capable of doing hard work, he really wasn’t supposed to strain his heart at all. I ended up being sick most of last Spring so I didn’t have much energy to put into working on something.
Well, my husband works for a nursery and they were getting rid of orchard boxes they had that weren’t in good condition. It occurred to him that these might make good raised garden beds.
So any they were getting rid of that wasn’t in too bad of condition, he kept for us. He would bring a couple home at a time in the back of his pickup truck.
You can see them above. They have the same footprint of a pallet and at the bottom have slots for a pallet jack or forklift to move them.
We needed to level the spots we put them, which took a bit of digging. We put them along our back fence, which used to be the driveway of our house before we owned it.
These ended up being perfect! They are super high, so took a lot of soil. I started looking around on Craigslist to see what I could find for soil/compost. I found several decent options for cheap manure/compost, but most would need some time before we could plant in it. Otherwise, the seeds/plants would burn. And all the dirt, soil and compost places I could find online was quite a lot per yard of compost.
My husband suggested called our garbage/recycling company. In the town he works in they sell it really cheap compared to the other businesses, like about half the cost per cubic yard! So, I called them up and sure enough, they sell it in our town as well. We were able to pick up several cubic yards reasonably priced and our raised beds are full of this.
You can see we put in the dirt we dug out from leveling the ground before we added compost.
My youngest son was thrilled to help fill the bins up. He was filling up his tonka trucks, then wheeling them over to a raised bed, then picking them up and dumping them in.
These beds are perfect for square foot gardening. They are approximately 4′ x 4′. We didn’t have enough space to plant everything we wanted to plant, but we never do. It was nice to be able to have planters for each type of plant. So we had one just for tomatoes, one for all the different peppers, one with carrots, beets and radishes, plus more.
We drilled holes in the south facing side on a couple of these for strawberry plants. Don’t mind the reddish/yellow leaves of the strawberry plants above. I don’t have the pictures I took of them at the end of summer anymore, so these pictures are from winter.
I hope you enjoyed seeing our raised garden beds.
If you aren’t lucky enough to just happen into these like we were, you can check Craigslist or other places. I know the nursery my husband works for, just purchased more of these, in good condition off Craigslist for cheap.
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