Like so many Georgians, I wanted to have a small vegetable garden but
found that the local hard packed clay soil wasn't suitable for one.
Then I became aware of a gardening concept called "raised garden beds"
which I found out is a garden built of a wooden frame which can be
filled with locally bought bags of humus, top soil and compost.
I had heard that cedar decking planks would be ideal for the
construction of such a garden due to its resistance to rot and insects
invasion, so I purchased enough lumber to build a garden measuring 8
ft. long and 4 ft. wide. Since i had read that it is desirable to have
the garden at least 12 inches high I built two frames and stacked them
one atop the other since the planks were about 6 inches wide.
The corners were securely joined using metal angles bought at the
hardware store and I used wooden dowels to secure the top level to the
bottom level. The screws are special ones used for building decks and
are treated to resist rust.
Next I purchased about $35.00 worth of the soil needed from the local
garden center to fill the frame . The soil comes in 40 pound bags each
costing between 95 cents to $1.25 each. I calculate that I needed 24
bags of the soil for my 4 ft. by 8 ft. by 12 inch high garden.
As i filled the raised garden I blended the various soils I had bought
and added turkey litter fertilizer which is used extensively on golf
courses and is organic. It cost $28.00 for a fifty pound bag. I had
prepared a coffee can with large holes drilled into it as a shaker to
apply the litter. As each bag of soil was added I would sprinkle
additional fertilizer into the build up of soil. This way I was assured
that the needed nutrients for the growth of vegetables was distributed
throughout the soil.
Since seedlings are so inexpensive at the garden center I chose to buy
and plant them rather than growing from seed myself indoors.
As might be expected, the garden flourished during the spring and
summer. But with autumn approaching I decided to replant as a winter
garden. I found that the garden center was selling vegetables such as
cabbage, collards, broccoli, and cauliflower seedlings in September. So
I added a bit more fertilizer into my soil mix and planted each of
Much to my wonderment, the garden began to grow very rapidly. The
greatest benefit came when i realized that the same vegetables that had
been planted in the spring and had been literally eaten up by bugs had
not been touch by insects in the fall.
The growing time for the vegetables I planted was listed as 90 days an
it was plain to see that frost might become an issue. With this in
mind, I made preparations at the first prediction of an October frost
to afford some protection to the garden.
The solution was simple. I bought two metal garden stakes and drove
them into each end of the garden. Next, I attached a piece of square
cut lumber long enough to reach from one stake to the other. I joined
the wood by installing screws through the top holes of the stakes into
the ends of the wood. This provided a means to drape a suitable
tarpaulin over it to form a tent which was secured along the bottom to
keep the wind from affecting it. As an added precaution I ran an
extension cord with a 100 watt light bulb and hung it from the top of
the frame so that it would not touch the material or the plants as a
source of heat. The tent was easily closed at each end using clothes
pins. The tent is easily removed once the frost danger was past and
mild weather ensued.
I am looking forward to enjoying Christmas dinner with fresh home grown
broccoli and cauliflower and then a New Years Day "good luck" feast of
fresh collards to go with my black eyed peas and ham hocks, a southern