Tuesday, March 17, 2015

"Tell us Your Garden Stories" Customer Submission from Darlene Fletcher

We had lived in Victoria, BC, for many, many years, so when we moved to Shawnigan Lake (just 30-40  minutes from Victoria), I knew I would have to adjust a bit as it's quite a bit colder in the winter here. I also have this terribly bad back, and so I thought, here was an opportunity to put in a raised garden area that would be a little more back-friendly.

The little place we bought is a one-level cottage that had a big area of pea gravel in the front that was in full sun but was otherwise going to waste. "Aha, " I thought, "The perfect spot for my raised beds."

The previous year, I had bought three of Vesey's 3' X 6' raised beds in anticipation of our move and putting in the new garden. Now as I stood there and contemplated the new area for the beds, I suddenly had a Eureka moment! Why not set up the beds so that I could just move my little light-weight greenhouse over a new bed each year so that I could grow my tomatoes and peppers under cover but without the fuss of pots!!! In other words, I could practice crop rotation but still be able to plant directly in the ground. I was excited.

The one problem I faced, however, was that the 3' X 6' bed was just an inch or two too long for my greenhouse. Thus, you can see from the pictures, that I made some adjustments. With the three larger beds, I was able to convert them into four 3' X 3' beds.  (Please see greenhouse.jpg). The greenhouse bed contained determinate, bush-type tomatoes and a cucumber and pepper plant. I had a bumper crop of everything and it was so easy to maintain.

One of the beds was just big enough to contain my teepee bean pole, and was underplanted with greens (kale, chard, and lettuce). (See the bean-teepee jpeg)

The two other beds I used for alternating rows of carrots and onions. Please see the two pics raised-before and raised after for the before and after shots! Again, I had bumper crops of everything. In case you are wondering about the bricks, I use those to keep my cats from digging. They're kind of like heavy duty spacers. I could've removed them once the plants grew big enough but when there are little feeder roots right under them so I left them in place to keep the soil cool.

I greatly enjoyed my little garden area for this first summer here. I would highly recommend these beds to others, and also recommend giving the rotating greenhouse idea a shot as an alternative to growing in large pots.

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