Animal Troughs As Raised Garden Beds – Why Not?
I’m so excited that Spring has finally (officially) arrived. I’ve been looking forward to working on my mostly unfinished backyard, and my new raised garden beds. We’ve had some early warmth here in the Puget Sound region in March, but the soil still hasn’t warmed up to a consistent 50 degrees.
I’ve mentioned in past posts that I’m adding a raised garden bed. I actually decided to add two smaller raised beds as well, in the form of stainless steel animal water troughs. I’ve seen them in the restaurant gardens, looking so chic, but they’re also so practical! I found a couple online, and they’re now in place in the backyard. If you decide to invest in these, plan on spending around $110-200+ depending on the size and brand. The two I purchased are approximately 46” L x 22” W x 12” H. Here are some photos of them before the compost was added:
I finally broke down and hired a nice landscaper to fill in the three raised beds with new soil and compost. The soil is warming up, and should be ready just about the time the new baby plants are as well. Speaking of, this is the first year I’ve started seeds inside, under a new grow light. I’ve got Kale, Beets, Merlot Lettuce, Carrots, Endive, Dill, Basil and two types of Brussels Sprouts getting ready for planting soon! Very excited to see how they all do. I’m using seed from several sources: Irish Eyes Garden Seeds (available here) and of course, Mike the Gardener’s Seeds of the Month Club.
I’ve also been trying to focus on getting some of the foundational items into my yard, before going crazy with new plants. I’m working to have a plan, and stick with it. (Even though I SO want to run off and buy new plants at the nurseries!) I purchased a lovely Korean Dogwood “Milky Way Select Dogwood”, with white blossoms for a partially shady area of my yard. It was selected in part due to the estimated full growth size that will fit best in the garden area, and not overwhelm it when mature.
Underneath this area I want to plant shade plants. Unfortunately, before I do that, I realized the horrible new construction soil had to be amended, and quick. It’s clay, and refuses to drain any water, so with our spring rains came large pooled areas of water. The same nice landscaper removed the destroyed sod from the area, dug down about 3”, added new top soil, and a layer of compost. With time, and continued amendments, this should be a nice area to plant. I’ll add some hostas and other shade plants this year and see how they do.
Still some minor steps to take in preparing the raised bed area:
- Remove additional sod and lay mulch down over soil for path areas
- Continue to amend the planting areas with compost
- Keep an eye on the soil temperatures to monitor for readiness to plant!
And some fun updates! My ‘Annas Red’ Helleborus is doing wonderfully!
My Peony ‘Mon Jules Eli’ is also coming up looking extremely healthy. I really believe it’s due to the early season treatments with Authentic Haven Soil Conditioner Tea applied. Give it a try!
So enjoy your early spring garden chores, and spring blossoms, and the gorgeous early spring greens that come with the new growth. See you in the garden!
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