Monday, October 10, 2011

Homegrown - A raised garden bed, literally

What would you do if you had one wooden bed frame that's too musty to use as a bed...

...and one slopy, overgrown corner of the garden that gets a lot of sun?

Well, if you're gardening mad like me, you would build another raised garden. Wood is expensive after all, and you can never have too many veges.

The process
It took me a few weekends to clear this corner, with a bit of help from Paul who dug out a particularly chunky stump and helped me lug all the extra branches and weeds up to a trailer headed for the dump.

To transform the bed into a raised garden, I turned it upside down and used the headboard to help wedge it into the ground. I removed the plywood cover and all the cross-beams I could, although there are still a few in there to keep things stable. I'm going to have to work around these in my planting, which is not ideal.

The footboard had previously snapped off, so I turned it upside down and nailed it back into the end of the bed frame to seal things off.

I filled the bottom of the empty bed with twigs and branches cut off from the hedge. On top of that I added some topsoil from another part of my garden, and on top of that on the left-hand side I've poured in two bags of Tui vegetable mix.

This morning I ordered eight x 40L bags of Zoo Doo compost, which I will use to fill the rest of the bed and improve other gardens around the yard. If you checked out my garden plan last week, you'll recognise this as the spot where I'm going to plant potato, broccoli and cabbage.

Along the fenceline I've planted two passionfruit vines, and am trying to work out what to plant in between them. Possibly nasturtiums or lemongrass, or maybe more tomato plants as the trellis is already there for them to grow up and the passionfruit will take a while to fill the wall. 

A few things I discovered about this corner of the yard while clearing it:
  1. It's where all the broken clothes-pegs of the last decade have come to die.
  2. Our cat, Bonty, relishes it as a favourite toilet spot.
  3. There were concrete and brick paths hiding under all that undergrowth. 
  4. The hedge is a nasty one that sends out root runners under the soil so that new bushes can pop up. These roots took a long time to dig out, and I'm not confident I got them all because of the concrete path. (I also pulled a muscle in my back doing it, but that's healed now.)
  5. The next door neighbours have a Kowhai tree that Tuis love to sit in. To entertain myself while I worked, I tried to copy their bird call. I don't think anyone would have confused me for a Tui.
  6. The apple tree to the left of the new garden bed is the perfect height for Lily to sit and play.

Linked up to Monday Mania and Fight Back Friday.


  1. You're going to grow some fabulous veges in that "garden bed", te he. I love to see things getting another use instead of going to the dump, good on you Emma!

  2. Hello Emma

    A fantastic idea for re-using the bed. Happy gardening.

  3. What a fantastic idea! I love recycling stuff like this instead of tossing it in the landfill. Brilliant!

  4. Great idea! Will have to bookmark this for later!


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