Greetings Growers! It’s my belief that sustainability starts in the home with urban gardening solutions. Here I show you one of the projects I’ve undertaken to become a true urban gardener: building a home garden. The design I selected is called a “raised bed”. Essentially it’s elevated garden boxes which contain the plants. As I’m a hands-on person, I built the entire garden from scratch with a total budget of about $200.
First, I selected the site for the garden. There was an empty area on the side yard that was just large enough. The soil was hard-packed and needed loosening up. The total area was about 9 feet by 21 feet, but with a two-foot boarder between the shed and the garden the workable area was about 7 feet by 21 feet in total.
The next phase of building the garden was to draw up the concept. Some adaptations were made to the design. The features design included were: garden beds, a rain barrel, and a compost pile. Getting your idea down on paper is critical to success.
Like sustainability, planning for the future is a must.
The boxes boards were cut into two 6 foot lengths and two 4 foot lengths. Corner posts were installed to brace the corners of each box. Measurements and cuts can be made at your lumber supplier, but for these beds measurements and cuts were done at home. The board dimensions were 2 inches by 10 inches by 10 feet.
Originally three boxes were planned for the space, however for aesthetic reasons, one of them needed to go. The two-box design still offered 48 square feet of growing area. From the local greenery a truckload of dirt cost $20, which filled two beds. For good measure, worm castings were added to enhance soil quality. For irrigation, I was able to tap into the backyard pond and use nutrient rich pond water to irrigate the grow beds. With my setup, I went with a PVC pipe spray system that waters the beds hassle free. However, in general I just recommend using a rain sprayer hose attachment. Automation is convenient but in my experience on this scale it does not save a significant amount of time.
Urban gardening solutions are completely attainable for anyone willing to give them a try. I was fortunate to have enough space to construct a full garden such as this. However, raised bed gardens are not the only urban gardening solution. The low cost of production is a small price to pay for the quality taste of freshly picked fruits and vegetables. As mentioned before, sustainability begins in the home, and owning your own garden could mean you are one step closer to an independent and sustainable lifestyle.