Saturday, August 24, 2013

Planning our Garden

We've started planning our garden - to start we'll go with two 2x12 raised beds, surrounded by 3-4 feet of walking space for potted plants, wheel barrels, etc. Eventually it will be fenced in too (before we start planting next spring).

The planned spot for the garden is in the open space between two huge evergreens.


I'm completely new to gardening, so a fair amount of reading of resources on the net was needed before we get started.

Here's a list of the links so far:

http://eartheasy.com/grow_raised_beds.htm

http://homesteadrevival.blogspot.com/2011/03/benefits-and-construction-of-raised.html

http://thepioneerwoman.com/homeandgarden/2011/02/build-your-own-raised-flowervegetable-bed/

http://home.comcast.net/~bcballard/garden/16-raisedbeds.html

http://thefoodproject.org/sites/default/files/DIY-bag-manual-2012_2.pdf

Building the raised beds is one thing - but can't forget the soil. We'll probably buy ours from a local landscaping supply, it's much cheaper than buying it "by the bag" from Home Depot. We use CTI Mulch & More in the Rockville area - they are great. (but be warned: they will dump the soil on your driveway unless you ask them to haul it into your backyard, which costs extra).

According to this online calculator, for a 4 x 12 x 24 raised planting bed, we'll need about 96 cubic feet of soil per bed, or ~3.5 cubic yards of soil. They also recommend a 60% mix of top soil, 30% compost and 10% "soil-free growing mix" that contains peat moss, perlite and/or vermiculite. Ordering this from CTI will cost us $26 per cubic yard of topsoil - plus their topsoil is already mixed with compost. So about 90% of our planting bed fill should consist of this material, or ~6.3 yards worth. That will end up costing us ~$163. Add in 10%  (9.6 cu ft) peat moss will add another $31 (Home Depot). So, altogether the soil will run us just under $200 - or about $100 per planting bed. (Compare that to purchasing all the soil at Home Depot, it would have cost us ~$440 if we bought it "by the bag").