Howdy Friends! It’s been a long time since I updated you on how the High Altitude Kitchen Garden is progressing.
I’m excited to share, it’s built, a small array of veggies are growing and we are enjoying our first serious adventure into gardening.
Remember when I shared my High Altitude Kitchen Garden plans with you back in the winter? I am so grateful I put the time into dreaming up our garden this year because what has resulted is very different from what I had originally envisioned. But the first series of dreams guided me and acted as a foundation for the current finished product.
Let’s take a tour shall we?
Deciding where to build our kitchen garden has proved to be the hardest decision in this whole process. The entire reason I wanted to use stand alone elevated beds is so we can move things around if need be. Also we would rather spend our time tending to the plants instead of dealing with voles, bunnies, and deer, so up off the ground and close to the house it is! We waited for clocks to change, then we started to watch the sun. There were two possible locations, and I was open to even splitting the containers between the two spots. One location was south-facing, the other faced the west. Both get 6ish hours of solid sun a day (thanks pine trees). In the end, I landed on the location that was closest to our water source. The west-facing deck. I realize that in so doing, I’m sacrificing the potential for faster growing, bigger veggies but ultimately practicality won the day. So far so good. Everything is in place, and happily loving their home.
Building Elevated Garden Beds.
Remember when I showed you the picture of an elevated bed that was slightly lower than waste high? While we were in the midst of deciding on a plan for how to build them, I stumbled across some great galvanized containers at Wal-Mart. Voila! Inspiration arrived. I quickly did research on if gardening in the galvanized tubs would be safe…and it is. I snatched up four different containers and a huge wooden barrel planter. Then went across the street to the hardware store and bought cement blocks to set the galvanized containers on. Even though my original plan included raised beds made out of wood I love what we ended up with!
- They are very light (ugh except the barrel and the spool duhzies). Which was especially important this year since we didn’t want permanent garden fixtures.
- Since most of the containers are metal the soil warmed super fast! It does mean that I need to be super diligent about watering the veggies but I knew that would be part of the deal no matter what.
- I was able to set everything up myself in an afternoon, after my son drilled drainage holes in the bottom of each container.
- It provides a fun industrial look to an already very brown palette on our deck.
- They are very budget friendly. I bought four galvanized containers, the barrel planter, cement blocks, and organic soil for around $100.00. If I wanted to be extra strategic I could have bought things over the course of several weeks to spread the cost out, but I was just so excited.
The Spool Planter
In addition to those five great containers I made a sixth, a spool planter. Back in the winter on an unseasonably warm day, my son and I were heading back to the car after an orthodontist appointment. Then out of the corner of my eye I spotted a spool poking out of a dumpster at the other end of the parking lot. We jumped in the car, headed over to it and I squealed with joy when I realized it was in awesome condition. After we managed to get it home I dreamed many dreams, over the course of nearly three months, about the potential that spool could hold. We decided to build a planter out of it. It provides us with a 6th raised container and I love the look of it!
In time, I’d love to get another one to place amongst the galvanized containers. I simply polyurethaned the outside of the spool for weathering purposes and kept the rest of it as is. We are doing a little curb appeal update to Pine Daisy House this summer and part of my plan is to have natural/light wood accents all throughout the front of the house and the spool definitely adds to our plan!
I started seeds inside in late March early April, but hardening them off was not successful. So once I got the entire garden set up I waited until after the last frost date and I replanted some lettuce and carrot seeds. As it stands now we have Oregano, Basil, Celebrity Tomatoes, Cherry Tomatoes, Spinach, Romaine, Carrots, Strawberries, and Jalapeno growing. Aside from the lettuce and carrots, the rest of the veggies are starters. It’s been very warm so far this summer and we haven’t had much moisture so I haven’t needed to cover anything for fear of hail/frost. We are staying plenty busy with watering and keeping the beds clear of pests, and pine needles. Depending on how this year goes, I may add another aisle of containers next year to the deck, because there is obviously plenty of space to grow the garden.
Welp, that about covers it for part 2 of my High Altitude Gardening series. We’re working hard to stay diligent with our little garden and as a family we are enjoying seeing small successes and fruits of our labor each day as the vegetables grow a little more! Stay tuned, I will update you again toward the end of the growing season as we start harvesting!