Why We’re Choosing Garden Boxes

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“I grow plants for many reasons: to please my soul, to challenge the elements or to challenge my patience, for novelty, nostalgia, but mostly for the joy of seeing them grow.”

– David Hobson

Gardening. My most favorite spring/summer activity. My also worst talent.

Spring is calling my name. I’ve eaten at the nuts I gathered last fall and I’ve woken from my slumber. Hangry and fat.

I’m ready to plant shit!

Here I was, thinking that this past weekend we had 50 degree days — and I finally thought spring was here. Only to wake up with an extra dose of the Monday blues because it is sleeting rain. Who the hell said that was okay?!

But anyways, I clearly haven’t lost my zest for planting season. I’ve been planning this all winter. And it’s finally time I put my big mouth to work.

We’ve chosen to use tall garden boxes this year. Clearly, I’ve been slacking and we still need to make them, but at least we know exactly what we want now. Here are a few reasons why we’ve chosen garden boxes over other methods of gardening.

caroline-attwood-225496-unsplashI’m a lazy composter

Seriously, I don’t turn. I don’t add enough water. I don’t calculate ratios.

I just fill the bucket and dump.

We’ve been filling our garden boxes all winter with kitchen scraps and rabbit manure and bedding.

Come spring when it’s actually time to plant, we are going to purchase some composting dirt and top soil to mix on top. Hopefully, the kitchen scraps will provide essential nutrients for our plants to grow.

Oh and I’ll throw in a couple containers of red worms to help compost the kitchen scraps. I told you — I’m lazy. I’ll let the worms do the work. I’ll just sit back and hopefully enjoy the fruits of the worms’ labor.

I’m a lazy gardener.

You’re probably sensing a theme right about now. This is probably why I don’t have a green thumb. But sometimes, my black thumb thinks MORE IS BETTER. And if you’re in the gardening world and actually know what you’re talking about. More isn’t always better. That’s usually where I kill off all my plants because I think they need a tsunami for them to grow.

But I’ve also been on the other side, where we didn’t water enough. We didn’t have an outside spigot last year so it left us using buckets to water the plants. And needless to say, anyone can figure out that didn’t work. So hopefully, having that compost in there can also help enrich the soil to lessen the need for watering. Because again, I’m lazy.

And we’ve opted for taller garden boxes than the ones just directly on the ground. Again, because I’m too lazy to bend over and weed those beds. I like hip level weeding. No bending. No broken knees. Easy.

Honestly, this sounds like I’m just a turd laying around on the couch hoping our homestead will just produce for us without even trying. But that is the furthest from the truth.

Homesteading is hard. Take for instance, we got a tree cut down 2 weeks ago. They left all the wood, including the limbs. It was up to The Beard and I to cut, haul, chop, move, rake, and sweat it all out. All the animals still need fed and  watered, dishes need to be cleaned, laundry to needs to be hung, and the list goes on.

So I find anything that can work for itself, makes it much easier for the homestead to function more effectively. And again, the less I need to deal with our plants — the less likelihood I’ll kill them. I should probably have spent a couple nights in jail for how many plants I’ve already killed.

I’m a bitch with a hose and somebody has to take it away from me sometimes.

 

gabriel-jimenez-241711-unsplashPoor soil.

Our driveway is gravel and it’s started creeping into our grass. Okay — and maybe the guy before us had someone dump a bunch of fill dirt filled with rock under the poor grass.

The ground last spring and summer was all cracked. Grass really didn’t even grow on it. And there was so much gravel, we had a hard time digging fence posts into the ground.

With the garden boxes, we have a system that we hope will work. Hugelkultur is what we’re trying to master with a little twist. Hugelkultur is where you put tree logs and limbs of varying sizes into your garden boxes and then add top soil. Over time, the logs will break down and turn the soil to it’s most fertile levels. We’re just adding one extra thing. Our compost — because yes I am lazy!

Hopefully with decomposing tree logs, compost, and worms, we will have the perfect soil for the highest levels of produce production.

markus-spiske-406073-unsplashLimited space.

We live on a bluff and there isn’t much level ground. Our hill isn’t even walkable. We slip multiple times a year, cursing the dogs — hoping we didn’t fall into piles of shit. So gardening on our hill really isn’t feasible.

Our land is also surrounded by trees. and we put a 11 ft tall cabin up in the back — pretty much on the most ideal place for our garden. Put those two things together and we get a lot of shade. We had this huge tree right in the middle of our yard, shading the only other flat part of our property where we could put a garden.

So when The Beard got a hell of a deal on cutting down the tree, we jumped at it. $300 to take it all down. The Beard shook the guy’s hand before he could change his mind. And then there was light.

This is the exact place we are planning to put our garden boxes. They get optimal light and it’s flat enough to garden on.

We’re using garden boxes to help make everything uniform to optimize the limited space we have.

hamish-duncan-560330-unsplashIt’s all about aesthetics.

This one is last on the list but quite critical in our situation.

We have an AirBnB on our property so we can’t look like any hillbilly Joe around here. Things need to look good and I also like making them look that way. We’re going super uniform to make things look as clean as possible. And clearly, I love a good insta pic of gardens.

We’re already having a hard enough time hiding our junk pile. I don’t want to have to hide our garden too. And honestly, I think gardens look so peaceful when in full production.

 


annie-spratt-139547-unsplashEvery property is different. Square foot gardening works for one person, while row gardening on some acreage may work for another. I’ve even heard of hay bale gardening which sounds perfect for me, the lazy gardener. I’ve also experimented with container gardening and heard about vertical gardening. Vertical gardening may also be an option to add in the future since we do have limited space. And I’m still begging The Beard to build me a greenhouse on our forever homestead. It doesn’t matter how you garden, just as long as you are. And I know there are some of you out there, okay most of you gardeners out there, are far better than me.

So I’m begging you to give me your insider tips and tricks. We live in Zone 5 so help a struggling gardener out. I don’t know if I can handle another year of an unsuccessful garden. A garden is one of the most critical parts of any homestead.

How do you garden?

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything.” -Cicero

2 thoughts on “Why We’re Choosing Garden Boxes

  1. Here is my one suggestion: Don’t try to fill the whole box up the first year. Fill it halfway up the first year and add to it each year until it is full. Good quality soil is not cheap. Do it the right way over time with good quality soil (get a truck load from the local nursery not the bagged stuff, its way cheaper), compost, and red worms instead of filling it up with nutrient deficient dirt just to have it filled. Be patient with it, it takes months and years for the soil to become a healthy living ecosystem. I like your idea of using logs as filler. I also use straw or alfalfa hay as filler because it is cheap, it decomposes easily (faster than branches), and doesn’t reseed. Good luck and happy gardening!

    1. Love your idea to not full the boxes completely! I wasn’t sure how I would keep adding nutrients after I filled them but that definitely solves the problem.

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