What in the world is a self-maintaining raised bed? Well, I’m about to share the beauty and simplicity of taller raised beds.
Towards the end of March, I mentioned in my newsletter that Robert accepted an opportunity to work on cargo planes.
I was going with him and our first tiny house property at Quail Grove was being listed for sale.
Temperatures were pretty cool and right before we left, I decided to shrink the garden into three raised beds. These beds are 23 inches high, measuring 2 ft. x 4 ft. and filled to the top.
You can get an idea of what these beds looked like in March right here.
After being gone for over 4 weeks, we returned the first part of May.
I wasn’t sure what to expect…
I had been tracking the weather during our departure and felt confident I would be greeted with healthy raised beds.
Friends, it was better than I expected. It was an amazing sight; zero weeds and my plants were doing great.
I owe this success to Startle Garden because these smaller and taller raised beds made all the difference.
The soil was moist and the one thing that did require my attention included topping off the two beds I installed prior to leaving.
These new beds packed down about 3 – 4 inches.
I was expecting this because I used a lot of natural material in between each layer of soil; this is how I establish all my raised beds….
Soil settling was easy to fix especially since I had leftover dirt from breaking down beds in March.
I spent an afternoon moving soil… Wow, did I ever get a workout moving that dirt…
At Quail Grove, I’m gardening in Blackland prairie clay, an experience of a lifetime y’all and eventually I figured it out.
I’ve been amending this material since we arrived in 2017 and three years later it’s looking sweet…
Get my some of my amending clay soil tips here.
I also did a little transplanting because some of my herbs came back with me for my travel garden.
Almost all of these plants were originally propagated from our farm.
Which means when it comes time to sell this property, I’ll take these plants with us. I only had to drive by our farm one time to realize that leaving plants behind when you sell a home is a big mistake.
During this entire process of topping off, I was taking notes on how moist the soil remained between rainfall…
I give thanks to that Blackland prairie clay because it definitely helps maintain moisture in these taller raised beds.
If you want to decrease gardening hours of maintenance, these beds can help do that when the soil is established correctly.
You can learn how to do just that with my book Startle Garden Now.
As I was moving dirt, I was also emptying lower raised beds made from 2 x 8 ft. boards.
Two ended up in the burn pile and this smaller 2 x 6 ft. frame was placed in the corner where I transplanted 2 lantana plants and a drift rose bush.
This shorter raised bed was established the same as the others and in a few weeks, I’m positive it will need topping off.
At our next visit, I’ll paint, stain and possibly include new garden flair.
Before we left, the final step was to make sure each bed was watered really well.
Nature will take care of the rest while we’re gone as it normally rains about once a week until we get into the hotter months of July and August.
My plan is to continue sharing these updates after each visit so you can experience the beauty of low maintenance gardening.
To recap on planting – these beds are currently filled with perennial herbs, drift roses, variety of lilies and a few annuals.
In the past I’ve successfully grown a variety of herbs, berries, vegetables and cut flowers in these same beds.
For taller plants I like to grow in shorter frames, about 1.5 ft. tall because it makes harvesting easier and viewing pleasing to the eye.
Self-maintaining raised beds is focused on allowing nature to work for you. This garden is a gem, requiring very little of my attention.
If you’re seeking to grow in a small or large space, it’s my hope you consider Startle Garden.
Thanks for joining me and hope your day is amazing.
Smiles and Sunshine, Carole West