The Raised Bed Garden

I delight in eating vegetables grown organically by my own hands, which began about 30 years ago. But the earth is looking farther and farther away as my joints become more resistant to bending down. My dream has been to create a raised bed garden and decided to make my dream a reality.

After much research and a summer of working in someone else’s raised bed garden, I decided to create something that I could nourish and it, in turn would nourish me, throughout the year, not just in the summer months. The summer’s experience taught me what to do as well as what not to do to create my dream garden.

Recently finished, it is a delight. With the help of an inspired and patient landscaper/carpenter who designs projects much bigger than mine (the waterfall/rock display at Pound Ridge Nurseries, for example…see his information below), I am joyfully gardening throughout the year without challenge to my joints and with great benefit to my mind and body.

I live in ‘critter country’ so my garden had to be impenetrable to deer, woodchucks, rabbit, raccoons, squirrels, and birds (who would eat my blueberries). The ground was laid with galvanized wire so nothing could burrow in, and fenced in all around and above with deer netting on timbers of Ecolife, weather-resistant timbers. An overview of the rest of the features are as follows:

  • landscape fabric over galvanized wire to keep weeds from growing
  • gravel/rock over landscape fabric for a clean, weed-free surface
  • beds, created from Ecolife, are 2 feet high, 8 feet long, 4 feet wide with walking space all around for easy access to all sides of the bed. Aisles between beds are wide enough for a small cart for carrying materials
  • each bed contains an organic soil mix over a bed of sand which provides great drainage
  • each bed has a removable trellis on bamboo stakes
  • each bed has a wood lip for comfortable seating while weeding
  • each bed contains a soaker hose and each hose is controlled by its own valve and timer so each bed can be individually programmed for irrigation when I am home and when I am away
  • the lip of each bed is drilled with holes for removable PVC hoops to support row covers for bug protection or protection from the hot sun for more tender crops
  • a work table
  • a covered sink
  • finished size of garden is 27 feet by 16 feet. It contains 5 raised beds and one in ground bed for a row of blueberry and elderberry bushes
  • two beds are covered by cold frames for late fall, winter and early spring gardening
  • the exterior of the garden structure is landscaped with deer resistant plantings for a finished look

I’ve served tea in my garden on the work table, while friends comfortably sat on the edges of the beds. It feels like we are visiting in my outdoor living room. Wind chimes hanging from one of the beams sing gently in the breeze. I meditate and hum as I work in my garden and all is right with the world.

Garden designer:
Kevin Cotter
Glencar Water Gardens & Lighting, Inc./ Christmas Lights Inc.