When we moved from Southern California to our cabin here in Northern New Mexico, it was the first time we had a lawn. The little house where we lived for 30 years had a heavily shaded ivy and dirt yard and not much grew in that deep shade, so no grass and no flowers. On the sunny side of the house we grew a veggie garden, but the only flowers I planted were marigolds to help protect the tomatoes.
The cabin here at the Nickel and Dime is surrounded by lawn. It is beautiful, restful and green, but I realized that my 18 foot Growing Dome can only hold so much and I wanted to be able to grow more stuff. So the south lawn is being converted to raised beds along with a bee and hummingbird friendly perennial garden.
Here's what we have so far:
Above is a long view of three beds already made and three waiting for their lumber. There will be 6-12 by 4 foot beds and 3-4 by 4 foot beds. Wow.
Here's how the beds are prepared: The lawn was dug away and leveled where the bed would stand. Weed barrier cloth and then a staggered double layer of chicken wire are laid in the bottom. We have a gopher problem, thus the chicken wire. I wanted hardware cloth, a heavy duty half inch mesh, but the cost was insane. So the chicken wire is staggered to make the holes smaller and I will hope that is enough discouragement.
Sticking up out of the ground is poly hose with a threaded end. I decided to screw on a soaker hose rather than use emitters because I have more watering choices that way.
The wood is 4 inch by 6 inch by 12 foot treated timbers stacked three high. At that height I can sit on the edge and not have to crawl around on the ground when planting.
The timbers are secured on the inside with corner brackets and straight brackets. The sides are lined with more weed barrier cloth to preserve moisture.
So why do I have raised beds? Well, I am lazy, that's why. Weeds are more easily controlled in raised beds with weed barrier cloth and I can mix the soil by adding bagged planting mix and ranch dirt. There are composted raspberry canes in there, too. If I don't like the soil I can add some bagged mix to the bed. Plus, if I wander around a bit I can start a cow pie collection and have some nice manure, as well.
The bunnies who hang out in the yard don't climb, so my lettuce should be safe. Don't get me started on ground squirrels, though.
When I plant lettuce in this garden, though, I will probably add some PVC hoops and row cover to protect the little seedlings from hungry birds and other marauders.
Here is a shot of the perennial bed running the length of our deck. The plants are still small, but they seem to like it there.
Underneath the gravel are weed barrier cloth and drip emitters to each plant. I was excited to see hummingbirds almost as soon as the plants were in the ground.
Surrounding the raised veggie and strawberry beds is more weed barrier cloth which will be covered with bark.
The garden is finally coming together and although it may be too late to plant everything I would like to grow, I will have plenty of time to do more research to see which plants would do best up here in the mountains at 7400 feet.