All my life I have gardened, but over the last few years, it has been harder and harder for me to get down to ground level. Between Fibromyalgia and knees nearing surgery time and being over weight, kneeling or squatting to garden has become impossible. Since moving into town, my emphasis has not been on flowers as much as vegetables.
To make vege gardening easier, as said in an earlier post, I have had raised gardens built. They have made a huge difference. The gardens have come halfway up to meet me. I have used 150 x 25 mm (6″ x 1″) boards. I brought ones used for fence palings that were ready cut to 1.2m (4ft). Where most raised gardens are only the one board high, these are two high and roughly 33 cm (1ft) high.
I was lucky to be given the bales of hay to use under the soil but I see bales of pea straw are being sold locally for $4-7.00 NZ. I have used meadow hay and barley straw and they are fine. U just want to bulk up the base layer so you don’t need so much soil
The soil was from the local landscape centre and was $7.00 per bag and I used 3 per bin.
The fence palings were just over $3 per board from Mitre 10 Mega so 8 boards = $24.00
Each garden has a double layer of weed cloth and so far after making up 5 gardens I still have about half of the 20m roll I brought for $14.
This makes the cost of each 32cm high vege bin about $50.
The soil is sinking as the hay begins to settle and rot, but this is easily fixed by adding more straw and soil mix before the next (winter) crop goes in. This way means the straw keeps composting and giving you more soil. I have used a lot of sheep pellets between layers of straw and soil and also scatter it on the top to break down with watering. Looks interesting too (giggle) and keeps the cat away.
Here is a picture of how much can be planted in the bins.
I find this size of garden is idea for me. Being just 1.2m sq, it is reachable from all sides. For my last birthday I was given a kneeler/seat shown below. It is my best gardening friend. It has a metal frame as when I tried the plastic ones, they are so narrow, I couldn’t kneel and was no way I was risking sitting on one. I can turn it one way and kneel and have the side frames to hoist myself up on, or turn it the other and it is a seat that allows me to reach over the beds. It is a wonderful item and came from Mitre 10.
Gardening is wonderful therapy and eating what you grow is even better. I am very concerned about the processes and additives that are done to and in, the food we buy. I know what my veges are grown in, that they are picked at the right time and washed in nothing but water. It is so good picking a lettuce, pulling some spring onions, picking a tomato and washing and eating them while they are still sun warmed and so so fresh. It is also good to eat by the season or processing your own veges and freezing or bottling them yourself.
I have made the first batch of mustard pickle using zucchini, onions, cauliflower and peppers from my own garden. (recipe will be added) I will make more pickles as they ripen. I have beetroot to do next. That will be cooked and bottled and put thru the water bath, using the same recipe my mother used – watch for the details of this in the next few days.