We have been reaping the benefits of our newly built vegetable garden for the last few weeks, spending weekends digging in the dirt, planting seeds, and even enjoying a happy hour or two in the space. I am over the moon about how it turned out, and was even more excited when the response from my instagram community was the same. Holy moly I got lot of questions about how we designed and built it, so I thought I’d answer all of the questions in one place with a big garden FAQ post. Get all your garden questions answered below: How did you decide on the design and layout of the space?
On one side of yard there was a plot of grass that was fairly level, got good sun, and wasn’t really being used for anything at the time. My husband and I measured out the level space and I mapped it out on graph paper, drawing up a few options for how I could lay out the raised garden boxes in the space. Once I had a rough plan sketched out, I ordered the boxes! When the garden beds arrived I laid out the space out on the ground to finalize the layout. Getting the empty boxes laid out where I wanted them before filling them up with soil and compost was key – I’m a visual person and seeing the spacing and how they aligned with other features in our yard helped me with a final layout. Then we filled them up with soil and compost, put up the surrounding fence, and filled the inside of the space with pea gravel.Did you DIY or buy the garden boxes?
In our previous iteration of our veggie garden, my husband built one long cedar box and we bought a few smaller ones online. This time around I ended up buying garden box kits that had reinforced metal corners. We get a large swing in temperatures and some pretty rough weather in our coastal town, so I wanted to invest in boxes that will hopefully last several years. I bought most of mine from Gardeners.com, and I linked a few similar styles from other retailers below.
How did you install the fence?
We installed the fence on a bit of a whim! I was looking for some edging to go around the garden and while we were browsing, my husband spotted this smaller cedar fence with a cute latch gate. It’s a no-dig fence system called Yardlink – available at Walmart and Lowes – and you tap in a base for each fence post with a mallet. We liked that it was flexible for our space, really easy to install, and the fence panels can be removed if we need to wheelbarrow in extra compost or reconfigure the space down the line.Can you share details on the table and chairs in the space?
My original plan was to have one long garden box down the center of the space, but once I got it laid out, I had this vision of entertaining (post-covid!) in the garden and really enjoying it when it’s in full bloom. I needed a table that was fairly narrow, and something durable enough that it could weather well, being out in the garden and having plants and dirt all over it. I picked a simple cedar picnic table and paired it with metal bistro chairs (they stack for easy storage in the winter!). We also have an outdoor heater – classic covid purchase – that we put out there to make use of the space while the spring nights are still cool, and I LOVE it.
Can you share your favorite gardening tools and gear?
Yes! I hunted for a sturdy, easy-to clean garden tool carrier for months and ended up getting a metal condiment carrier from Target to carry all of my tools and seeds in! It’s really compact and I can hose it out when it gets dirty. In my garden tool tote I have one good garden trowel and I’m in love with this bulb-planting digger. It makes a perfect hole in one motion that’s meant for bulb planting, but I find it works really well for transplanting seedlings too. I like these mud brand garden gloves – I have tiny hands and they fit really well – and I keep a set of Fiskars clippers in there for opening seed packets and snipping herbs and roots.
Any tips or tricks for gardening with kids?
If you have kids, my favorite trick for keeping them busy in the garden is hiding these Melissa and Doug plastic bugs in the garden beds! I have Jane and her friends hunt for them, bury them, rinse them off. We’ve kept them in our garden the last 2 years and they’re still in great shape! I also kept a portion of the garden beds open just for kid-friendly-digging the last few years, no plants or seeds, just a free spot to dig! It’s always been a hit and makes little kids feel like they’re involved without you having to worry they’re digging up plants.What’s your planting plan?
I’m so glad you asked! I did a lot more research this year than I have in the past about companion planting and worked to make a plan that will maximize our new space. A few of the books that have been helpful to me are linked below!
I made a layout on my computer (simple boxes on PowerPoint is all you need!) and sketched out all of the ideas I had. As I’m in the garden starting to plant, I’ve been making little tweaks and changes and notes; I love the idea of having these maps year after year to track what’s working and how I can improve each season! My plan has lots of veggies and herbs, and outside of the raised bed garden I’m planting lots of pollinator plants and wildflowers to bring in the bees!