Monday, May 5, 2014

{Organic} Raised Bed Garden, Part Two {Filling the Bed}

After the wonderful progress that we had made the weekend before constructing the raised beds, I figured this weekend would be easy, just filling the bed... Read about the bed construction in Part one of this series here.

We started off with a plan of plastic lining the bed. It was made out of linseed oiled coated un-treated pine, and the less water sitting on the wood the better. I had done some research about the difference of lining the bed with black plastic vs. clear plastic. The only difference I could find was that the black plastic would make the soil warmer faster when the sun would start to heat it up. My concern then, would it be too hot for seed germination? I found absolutely nothing about that online. I live in Minnesota, and a warmer bed a week earlier than other beds would be nice, but our summers are very hot too, and I don't want to kill the seedlings either. If anybody has any information about this, please share.

We ended up covering the inside of the bed with black plastic. Stapling around the inside of the bed and around the poles. It was an easy job, but tedious. Once the first bed was covered, hubby and I head out to grab some pulverized organic fill dirt. In doing more research, it was recommended to do a 50% dirt, 25% compost and 25% peet mix in the bed. An all compost bed would keep decomposing and start to shrink. I plan on one whole bed being perennials, so a shrinking bed didn't sound good to me. We got one scoop of soil in the back of the pick-up and it was only $15! But it only filled the bottom smaller bed... Well four more scoops later, we had one bed filled. Yes five scoops to do just one side of the beautiful beds.

One extra I did add to the tallest bed is a worm compost tube. I had seen this on Pinterest and it sounded amazing to me. I have had compost bins in the past, and they didn't work out so great. I hate throwing away all the fruit and veggie scraps, but didn't have a way to compost them at the new house. This option was perfect for me. I took a pre-cut three inch sections of PVC pipe and drilled a bunch of holes in the bottom half of the tube. I spaced them out about two inches between and made four rows all the way around the tube. These don't have to look pretty, they are going to be buried in the soil and just need to be big enough for worms to fit through. I put the tube in the center of the taller garden bed before any soil was put into the bed. I then sat on the ledge of the deck with my foot over the hole to: 1) keep dirt out of the tube and 2) keep the pole straight in the bed. Hubby and my older son then shoveled the soil into the bed. Now that it is full we are able to put our organic fruit and veggie scraps into the tube. When the worms are hungry, they crawl into the tube, eat the scraps, and then crawl back out. They are then able to crawl through the garden beds, aerating and leaving their wonderful waste behind as the wiggle through. It is a win-win!

But wait, only one bed is filled! Yes, we are planning on getting a few more scoops full over the course of this week. It would have been ideal to get this step finished up in one weekend, but you know how when you plan something, other things always get in the way.

So during this week, we are hoping to fill the second bed, put in the second worm compost tube, and I am hoping to add a large mailbox to hold hand tools outside for when I need them. We are also planning on U-clamps inside the bed to hold flexible PVC for clear plastic (frost protection) and bird netting if needed. Should make for a busy week.

Stay tuned for Part Three in this series:What am I planting?

I am sharing this post with all of these lovely bloggers.

To read Part 3, CLICK HERE!

To go back and read Part 1, CLICK HERE!


  1. I had never heard of the worm compost tubes before - what a great idea! I have a worm composting system that I use and it makes beautiful soil, but doing it right in the garden sounds like fun. I am sure your raised garden beds will provide you with lots of goodies this year. Good luck! I will be waiting to see what you grow.

  2. The farmer down the road just worked up a plot for us and we're preparing it this weekend. I love the compost tubes! I'll bet we can get that going :) Thanks!

  3. Love it! well done! I do appreciate you sharing with Home and Garden Thursday,

  4. Good luck with your garden! Hope all goes well and that you have a bountiful summer harvest!