Building the Raised Bed - Part Two

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

With the sod stripped from the ground, it's off to Home Depot we go. We needed boards, brackets, topsoil. Lots and lots of topsoil. I was already achy and tired at this point, and halfway through the task of heaving 20 heavy, one-cubic-foot bags of soil onto the truck, I found myself quoting out loud The Inadvertent Gardener's tagline: It's amazing what we'll do for a few good tomatoes. I was feeling finished for the day, but I knew we still had to unload those 20 bags, construct the bed frame, and pour all the soil into place.

Michael christened the power tools and aligned the freshly cut boards to make the frame. Then came the topsoil, ready for an instant garden.

This is certainly not the only way to build a garden, and perhaps not even the best way, but we were up against time. Since we are no longer residents of the District of Columbia, we had to give up our membership in the community garden. I wanted to save as many of the plants from our plot as possible, for one, because we invested a lot of time in getting things established over the past four years, and, two, because many of the plants have sentimental value. With a glance at the calendar, we found ourselves with limited available weekend time to work on this project, and we know the first frost will be bearing down on us soon. We took on this task in a "now or never" frame of mind. Saturday we built the bed, Sunday we dug many of the plants from our plot and transported them here.

The plants were not at all happy about the move, and they appear to be in shock. I expected this to happen. We did the best we could under the circumstances, though, and now I'm eagerly watching to see if everything will recover. The herbs look like they're doing okay, but the grapevine appears to be toast.

Our friend Albertino gave us that grapevine, so we're really hoping it will pull through. The trellis it's clinging to for dear life also came from our plot, also for sentimental reasons. We have a grand plan to grow grapes over an arbor in our yard, all stemming from this one plant. Here's hoping it survives. Here's hoping anything survives.


Blogger Kalyn Denny said...

I'm impressed, and I do hope that at least some of your plants will survive. I've been wanting raised beds in my own garden for the longest time, but I just can't face the idea of doing it. Someday (when I get rich!) I'm going to pay to have it done.

10:49 PM  
Blogger Muum said...

that is a lot of work. Wait and see if the grapevine comes back in the spring. I don't know much about grapes, but some varieties are incredibly tough. Even if it looks like a stick, just wait 'til spring to see if it is ok.

10:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All your hard work paid off and it doesn't look like a grave anymore.

Congratulations on your beautiful new raised bed.

I hope all your plants make it. And you grow many more in the future.

Now go have a glass of wine.

12:45 AM  
Blogger Gina said...

hey christa! this looks fabulous! nice work! do you mind if I ask what kind of boards you bought? I'm planning to build 3 of these myself and I'm curious if you chose cedar or something more affordable.

8:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can relate - I moved last year from Bethesda to Olney and brought hundreds of plants with me - had to rent a large UHaul for 3 trips. Some got planted but most overwintered in their pots and rotting moving boxes (I was out of pots and stuck with a solid clay yard).

This spring we moved right back to Bethesda, 5 blocks from our old house (Olney was too country for us and the commute was wretched), and I schlepped all the potted stuff with me and finally got most into the ground. My advice is water everything regularly, enough to keep them moist but not soaked. You might lose a bunch (I lost probably about 1/3) but many will make it if you look after them. Some of mine looked dead but then came back in the spring. Hope springs eternal.

And oh yea - we're not moving ever again!!

10:57 AM  
Blogger Whyite said...

Nice job on the beds. Are the beds made with 8 inch boards?

As soon as our first freeze, I am going to move our garden beds around. I would do it know, But I can't pull out flourishing plants. On top of that, I am being lazy about it.

10:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Christa, I'm so impressed that you moved your plants from DC! That's excellent -- I applaud you. You definitely deserve that glass of wine that Chigiy suggests.

11:22 AM  
Blogger Beach Bum said...

It's possible that the grape vine has simply gone into early dormancy. Keep it well watered (through the winter especially, as it's roots are traumatized), and see what happens in the spring.

PS, love your blog! I'm gardening vicariously through you right now.

11:28 AM  
Blogger Rowena said...

Given the circumstances, I think you are doing a fabulous job! I'm enjoying your speedy garden posts immensely...look forward to what you reap!

12:08 PM  
Blogger Christa said...

I think the wood is pine, untreated. Cedar would likely last longer, but we were going for easy and affordable.

Yes, they are 8 x 1 inch boards.

Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comments. I am signing off for a few days of vacation now. Time for that glass of wine!

Back soon with more adventures in the garden...

10:31 PM  
Blogger skykomie said...

if you put white PVC plastic pipes in the corners, about 8 inches tall, you can put hoops over the plot and have a cold frame for the winter. Sunset magazine has great raised bed instructions, if you want to see the pipes in the corner.,20633,1152183,00.html

have fun!

10:34 AM  
Blogger kathy said...

Looks really nice. Good luck.

Also thanks to Danomi for the Sunset link. I think I'll install the PVC cold frame for this fall.

10:51 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

I can't wait to see what becomes of your bed. I know the transition seems to have taken the wind out of the sails of many of your plants, but I bet quite of few of them will perk up in a few days.

I'm rooting for that grapevine: let's will it towards life!

12:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck Christa. I've just moved as well so now will have to get down to making raised beds, rabbit and deer proofing a new veg area. Lots to do over the winter in anticipation of next season!

6:35 AM  
Blogger Mimi said...

I'm really enjoying reading about your new garden adventures (and, I enjoyed reading about your other plot). I'm betting that the grapevine makes it...just because you want it to so much! Enjoy! And, maybe have 2 glasses of wine -- you deserve it!

3:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm rootin' for you! Looks great and they will survive...or not! Gardeners are optimists!

8:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks fantastic...even better when things get growing. Maybe it just needs a few weeds to make it more homely!

3:07 PM  
Blogger Ed Bruske said...

that look good, Christa. Interesting, your choice of 1-inch lumber rather than something heavier.

8:18 PM  
Blogger Annabelle said...

WOW! What hard work!! I am worried that when I start my new job it will be too hard for me so it's encouraging to see what you did.

3:19 AM  

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