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Raised Bed Gardening

 raised bed garden | hello, sweetie!

raised bed garden | hello, sweetie!

"Everyone's doing it!"  "It looks easy enough!"  "It's so much healthier!"

Right?  Well, those are the arguments that won me over.  And it doesn't take much more to convince my husband than when I suggest a little trip to Lowe's.   I did about a day's worth of research on constructing the box, what wood to buy, bargain hunting for the best deals on plants, soil and wood.  I felt completely confident.  Then I handed all the plans over to my darling husband.  Easier planned than done, I suppose.

Hmm...well we aren't the laziest couple on the block.  We definitely attack it whole-heartedly.  But, life gets in the way, right?  I think we started this project the weekend before Mother's Day.  It's over six weeks later and we are finally done! (I imagine parents, neighbors and coworkers are cheering somewhere.)  With better time management and allotment for unexpected funds needed (umm, TOOLS)...you too can have a beautiful raised bed garden, in less than a couple weeks.  

 raised bed garden | hello, sweetie!

raised bed garden | hello, sweetie!

After speaking with some guys at the lumber yard, we decided against using cedar planks even though they were the most recommended on all blogs and sites.  The cost was over four times as much!  The lumber yard suggested using fir instead.  For our 4'x8'x12" box, it would have been over $300!  Instead, we paid about $70.  They suggested not treating the wood, as I have also read on other sites, but if you find a food safe sealant, that could be used.  I decided to go with a topsoil and compost mixture sold in bulk from the garden center by our home.  They weren't the most inexpensive, but it was the most convenient for the price. (It was about $50 to fill.)  Plants came from there as well, but just a few of the starters (broccoli, green peppers, tomatoes and herbs).  The carrots, green beans and radishes were all seeds.  I bought mostly what we loved.  The radishes were a last minute whim.  The carrots are with great hop it will inspire my kids to eat more of them.  I would have loved to grow lettuces, but didn't want to deal with the extensive rinsing after harvest.  It's like clams...really good until you get that one grain of sand, then it's all over.  Peppers are so expensive at the supermarket, it was a no brainer to have those in the garden and tomatoes...well there's just nothing like a home grown tomato, sun-warmed and fresh off the vine!  I added the herbs I cook with the most (sage, thyme, basil, chives, parsley), plus some lavender...but that was just because I think it's pretty. 

 our new apple trees | hello, sweetie!

our new apple trees | hello, sweetie!

After one of my several trips to Lowe's for random spades, water cans, hose, garden containers, etc., I came across a great deal on the trees and berry bushes.  I couldn't resist.  Imagine the look on my husband's face when I told him we needed to go back with the larger vehicle to pick up the two apple trees I just bought!  Well, in my defense, they were 50% off (just $10 each) and one was a Fuji...we LOVE FUJI APPLES!  But, it's a cross-pollinator which apparently means you need to buy a second apple tree of a different variety that is listed on the tag.  Luckily there was one available, a MacIntosh.    If we even get a dozen apples from them, it will have been worth my money.  But more importantly, it makes me smile to look at them!

De-mystifying Homemade Freezer Jam