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Steph, thanks for the how to. I'm curious...how many raised beds to you have now? How do you group your veggies? How much space do you leave for "viney" veggies (squashes?).

We have an acre but the issue we have is that we are backed up to woods where there is a plethora of wildlife. And as if to directly contradict that, we also live in a development that does not allow fencing which is tantamount to putting up an "all you can eat for FREE" buffet sign should we put in a garden.

But...we have been given the OK to use some land that a friend owns and are actually going to attempt a small garden and see how it goes.

I did want to caution you on one front. The hardwood mulch, esp if you're getting it from someone clearing trees for free. Mulch like that is known for having LOTS of seeds, whether it be tree or weed or whatever in it. I spent two years after laying that type of mulch in my perennial garden trying to undo the damage all the seeds caused. I had a great tan that year though.


I currently have 4 raised beds in my cedar boxes. My two additions last years were a patch that was not framed for the vining varieties. That area was a valuable lesson in what not to do and why you should not dismiss the spacing guidelines...oh and why you should believe the packet when it tells you that squash will cross pollinate. Let's just say, I will be doing things differently for squash, cantaloupe and watermelon this year. What exactly, I have not figured out yet!

Last year I also added my potting soil row, and though not framed on both sides, it is essentially a raised bed as we used a row of cinder blocks on one side to help level it. I am debating if I need edging this year on the other side now that the bags have been removed.

If I had it to do over again, I would be much better about how I grouped my plants and follow a better rotation plan. I have tried to stick with The Vegetable Gardener's Bible lists of good companion plants but I have not been scientific about anything. I really need to work out a rotation plan going forward. This is where my perfectionism nearly kept me from ever getting the garden started, so I pretty much ignored those details in favor of getting things planted.

Debbie Hopper

I started with 2 4x4 untreated wood for my raised beds. One is 6 inches high and the other is 10 inches. I used the directions from Square Foot Gardening to build, and also used pvc to make dome over box. Can cover with plastic in cold weather for protection. I used weed clother underbox, set box and filled with cotton bur compost, garden soil and top soil. I covered 3 ft around box with weed cloth and covered with pine bark mulch. I love it. It beats the tilling and hoeing.

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