Earning a Green Thumb- My First Raised Garden Bed

When I bite into a pea pod fresh from the garden, whether the first one of harvest or the 50th, it always takes me back to my early childhood. We had a huge garden when I was a kid and I still remember helping my dad plant the peas as he would lay them out and I would poke them into the soil and cover them up. Radishes and peas were my favorite right out of the garden and none of them ever made it into the house. We always had a great harvest of all of our vegetables.

So when my wife and I bought a house I couldn’t wait to have a garden again. When Spring arrived, I decided to start by building a raised garden bed. I did everything right. I picked the perfect spot in the backyard that gained plenty of sunshine all morning and afternoon. I tilled up the ground underneath to allow for proper drainage. I used beautiful Cedar wood for the box and I had all my soil/compost ready to plant. This is when I realized just how much more room my childhood garden had…

In this very small 8×3 garden bed…I planted everything and way too much of it. I planted 2 rows of lettuce, 2 zucchini, 4 rows of radishes, 2 rows of carrots, 2 rows of peas and 2 rows of green onion. As many of you know, carrot and lettuce seeds are VERY small so the results of the coming weeks should be of no surprise. The lettuce grew out of control and well beyond the 2 rows. The Zucchini leaves were the size of dinner plates smashing into the lettuce and the carrots exploded and crowded the peas. It was a mess. Needless to say, I needed to make some adjustments to make better use of the space I had.

The following year I left out the zucchini and carrots to open up more room for radishes and peas in hopes of a better harvest. I also spaced the lettuce evenly which produced well for us all summer. More than we could ever eat. The radishes never made it into the house and the peas were eaten as fast as they were plucked. They were just as I remembered them as a kid. We also had a fantastic yield of green onion which has become one of our new garden favorites.

I just finished planting this year’s crop and am excited to get things started. Having learned from the past few years, I am hoping for the most radishes and peas yet. If you are looking to get started on your first garden, there is an abundance of information out there to help get things going. Otherwise, dive in, get your hands dirty and see what works best. After all, that’s half the fun!