The first item on my family's Sand Pail List can now officially be crossed off! Our family's raised garden bed is finished and planted. :) It took a little longer than we had originally planned, but there were several steps involved to make sure the frame was built right, the soil was well fertilized, and we would be able to keep out the local wildlife.
My husband put tall posts at each corner of the frame, and installed the netting. This should deter the deer and the bunnies. ;)
Next up was the planting of the tomatoes. I decided to place a mixture of crushed egg shells and Epsom salts in the hole before planting each plant. I only did this with the tomato plants. This mixture is supposed to provide the young plants with extra calcium and minerals, and eventually a higher yield of fruit. We shall see. ;) This season I just planted 3 kinds of tomatoes- a Big Boy and then 2 different heirlooms, Brandywine and Mr. Stripey.
The finished raised garden bed! (Notice the protector and guardian of the vegetables?)
I also planted a row of poblano peppers and a row of jalapeno peppers. I have high hopes that I will yield enough homegrown tomatoes and peppers to can my own salsa this summer. (Fingers crossed!) I planted marigolds all around the border of the bed to naturally ward off pests. My son also sprinkled crushed egg shells around the base of each plant to keep the slugs away. Apparently, they are not too keen on the jagged edges of the shells. The shells also allow even more calcium to eventually seep into the soil and to the plants' roots.
I kept it local and bought all of my plants from a local greenhouse. :)
I am looking forward to seeing how our first experiment with raised bed (and natural!) gardening turns out.