The past six months I have been transforming the small bits of overgrown yard around my new home into productive spaces. When Dave passed away the end of January, my world turned upside down. These projects help me move forward with purpose while creating my lasting tribute to the love of my life. Dave is looking over my shoulder and giving me signs of approval.
Shortly after I planted my third raised veggie garden bed.
This pic is of the third raised block garden bed. It is the largest. I was going to hold off on this one until next year but I got an extra bit of funds from Social Security so I went ahead and built it. This bed is for my annual veggies. Right now it has bush beans across the back and bush cucumbers across the front. The holes of the blocks contain patio cherry tomatoes on the sides with marigolds to ward off tomato horn worms. Regular patio tomatoes occupy four of the holes on the corners.
Patio tomatoes are hybrids developed to have thick central stems so that staking is not needed. They are perfect for containers on the patio, deck or stairs. You can even plant a row of them in a window box. Tomato roots do not grow too deep. They need daily deep watering.
The bush hybrids of other veggies were developed to grow in containers and small spaces also. It is amazing that these plants can yield the same size and quantity of their full sized parents.
There are three green pepper plants in the front block holes. Peppers take awhile to reach maturity around here so I’m excited that there are tiny one inch peppers showing.
Dave (my life partner) would have been so proud of how these raised block garden beds turned out. He was a mason. He had often commented that had we met in our twenties, we could have gone into the business together. I have a strong back and math aptitude.
Building with blocks is not for everyone. Blocks are heavy. I like that the weight will keep them in place for the rest of my lifetime. These are dry laid in case they need to be changed or removed. My beds are two courses high allowing easy access. I can sit on the edge as I get older.
The third bed shortly after construction.
My first bed is becoming established as my asparagus bed. It appears that all the bare roots have taken and produced stalks. There will be a harvest next spring.
The holes house strawberry plants. After removing the first set of small flowers and fruit, the plants have been steady at producing nice sweet medium sized berries all summer. One plant refuses to fruit. It has been steady at producing runners. So be it. The baby plants will be welcome additions to the edible offerings from my backyard nursery business next spring.
The left one foot of this bed is producing sugar beets. I’ve already harvested a few and enjoyed a meal of pickled beets. The back of this bed has produced sweet peas.
The smallest of my beds actually lines the end of my side yard thereby faces the front of the corner of my property. It houses two Victoria rhubarb plants I brought with me from the cottage. They are surprisingly taking their time getting established from the pots they have been growing in for the last couple years.
The front holes are planted with baby broccoli while the back holes have curly kale. The left holes have onions, the right holes have marigolds. Two corners of the rhubarb bed have zucchini plants.
The reason for using blocks in this side yard is to tie in the blocks used for the cellar windows in the house foundation. Raised beds allowed me to give architectural interest by layering the space. The yard itself is only 54″ wide. By utilizing above ground areas, I didn’t have to call Dig Safe to go around underground utilities. The pipes for the electricity and cable go between the rhubarb and annual veggie bed. The gas meter is between the two large beds. There is a bistro set for morning coffee or evening cocktails to camouflage the meters.
At the corner of the back of the house is where the rain barrel will be installed before winter sets in. It has been a hot dry summer so the addition of a rain barrel will be a future blessing.