Garden Projects: Expanding the Raised Beds (Part 2)

I’ve finally managed to complete the new garden beds I started several weeks back. I’ve spent the time in between gathering supplies:

  • Tons of paper shopping bags and cardboard, most of which came from local liquor stores who were happy to get rid of it.
  • 2 yards of garden compost and ~2.5 yards of mulch, purchased for approximately $250. Not cheap, especially with the increase in delivery fees from the company that delivers it in bulk. The compost is very high quality, though, and I know those beds will go well and start out weed free.
  • Herb starts from around the garden. I wanted the mulched beds around the veg beds to become two herb gardens – one for herbal teas and one for culinary herbs. Because I currently have a lot of different types of herbs tucked in her and there around the flower gardens I have been saving small herb seedlings that I have found popping up out of place as I clean up the flower beds. They’ve been shoed in to the veg garden beds waiting for the new herb garden space to be ready.

Here’s what the beds looked like as I was installing the mulch. You can see several layers of carboard over the grass. Over the course of the summer, that grass will die and become compost. Where I had enough unfinished compost to do so, I also added it under the cardboard to add nutrients to the soil underneath as it breaks down. My compost bin is now basically empty and ready to start filling again. The same layering happened in the raised beds, where plant material and cardboard lie under 10″ or so of garden compost.

When the beds were finished, they looked like this:

Because it is still getting down into the 40’s F at night, I’ve done limited planting in the new beds so far. The raised beds will hold tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and squash. The mulched beds will become herb gardens (one herbal tea garden and one culinary herb garden, although there will be overlap between the two).

I’ve started planting the tea garden with rosemary, thyme, lavendar, bee balm, horehound and calendula. I am debating whether to add chamomile and/or sage in the remaining spaces. I generally avoid annuals wherever possible in favor of perennials, but calendula and chammomile may be the two exceptions for this garden. Here it is so far.

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