Thursday, August 2, 2018

Activities for Humans in Equine Rehab: Raised Garden Beds (picture heavy)

If you follow me on Instagram, you already know about this.

The current (8/1/2018) state of the garden.
The spaghetti squash has staged an escape attempt.
Unfortunately, the roses have suffered slightly as I learn about caring for them.

Way back in the start of June, I got a bright idea that I wanted to garden and grow some of my favorite vegetables and plants. Because why not? I barely had time to do everything else I needed/wanted to do, so let's add one more thing. Penn had just been declared to have a tendon injury, I found some free time, and bam, a project was born.

This started out as such a simple project, "I want raised garden beds because I hate kneeling on the ground, and I want them protected from wildlife." Oh boy, this project got a lot more complicated! And I love the final product.

Husband pitched in and helped me build it: aka, I was the support system and he drove the project.

Anyway, without further ado, here's a picture-driven story of building the garden beds!

I helped Husband cut the boards apart, then he did majority of the assembling under a work light in the dark.
Assembled and placed!
Walkway sod has been removed and the beds are ready for dirt.
6/16/2018 - Dirt! Well, half mushroom manure and half topsoil.
2 scoops of each, delivered on Saturday in the morning.
Thank goodness Husband has a Gravely mower/tractor and a cart!
And ramps for the car! This would have been much more difficult without those.
A fun little gif of dirt going in! 4 and a half loads for each bed, then we added even more to each after wetting the soil down. The soil settled quite a bit, we'll have to add a lot more next year.
All full!
Garden cloth down to prevent weeds from coming up through the rock path.
Not enough rocks.
Leftover dirt. We used it to fill ruts in the yard that the truck left over the winter, then planted grass seed.
6/18/2018 - The garden has a door and basic framing for the fence!
Plants purchased!
Yellow Straightneck Squash
Cherry Tomato
Bush Bean
Sunflower Seeds
Spaghetti Squash Seeds
Kaleidoscope Carrots (purchased later)
Radishes (purchased later)
Sunflower seeds planted in neat rows.
4 all yellow Mammoth Sunflower (9-12' tall)
4 Evening Sun Sunflowers (4-5' tall)
4 Mixed Color Sunflower (7-9' tall)
4 yellow and brown Mammoth Sunflower (9-12' tall)
6/18/2018 - I was desperate to get my plants in and growing since I was already a month behind... so everything was planted in the dark at almost 10pm, haha.
Hey look, my calla lilies were doing great and blooming!
6/25/2018 - It took just 7 days for my sunflowers to come up! 13 of the 16 seeds I planted germinated, including 7 out 8 Mammoth Sunflowers. Off to the left, there's one plant not in a row... I wasn't sure if I messed up planting or if that was a weed, so I let it be. It was a weed, lol.
I planted two spaghetti squash just in case one didn't come up. I was SUPPOSED to pull one out... I didn't. I will next time!
Carrot seedlings!
7/1/2018 - Progress on the fencing slowed down as I changed my mind about what kind of fence to use. Originally we purchased large 2"x4" 5' tall fence, but I really loved the 1/2" square hardware cloth that we got for the door. More expensive, but it created a much nicer final product! The mesh cloth ended up almost see through and encourages the eye to look past it.
7/6/2018 - The hardware cloth didn't come wide enough (5' would have been ideal), so we had to purchase 2' and 3' wide rolls, and sew them together with steel wire.
7/6/2018 - The 4th of July holiday long weekend was very productive! We used it to finish the fence and a lot of the final touches.
7/7/2018 - Putting up the outer trim pieces that hide a lot of the staples and the sharp edges of the hardware cloth.
Decorative flowers purchased too!
Oh, and this. As we spent time outside in the yard over 4th of July, we realized we had a Japanese Beetle infestation. The beetles were eating my rose bushes and several of my new vegetable plants, so we got this nifty beetle trap. This was barely 2 days worth of beetles... when we finally threw that bag out, it had about 7 inches of beetles in it.
7/8/2018 - Husband dug up the sod around the beds, and I put garden cloth down.
7/8/2018 - Sod dug, cloth down, roses planted. Ready for mulch!
Another view of ready for mulch and rock!

And the final product!

Humming bird feeder, rain gauge, thermometer, horsey wind chimes, and a cute garden kitty!
The very first produce from the garden!

We found wonderful solar powered motion lights so it's easy for me to water when I come home from the barn after dark.
I just want to put a chair in there and sit in it!

 I know this has gotten rather long, and extremely picture heavy, but here's some more pictures!

Eye high by the end of July?
The spaghetti squash continues to be rebellious and has started growing a squash 5' in the air.
The yellow squash is doing well and producing lots of squash, the carrots are still growing, and I planted another row of carrots in the empty space... they haven't grown yet.
The zucchini was trimmed back a little, yet there's still a lot of it. The spaghetti squash is making a run for it. The beans are just trying not to be covered by zucchini!
The wiggly pink flamingo has been overtaken by radishes.

We've had a bunch of yellow squash, zucchini, and string beans from the garden so far. It's been so much fun growing and picking my own vegetables. Sure, it would have been cheaper to just buy them, but this is so fun! I'm also really happy with how pretty the garden ended up. I was worried about it being in the front yard, and the neighbors being unhappy with this huge thing in the yard. I shouldn't have been worried, the neighbors think it looks great.

As we built the frame for the fence, we also hatched a plan to make it a greenhouse in the winter. We'll have to add a peaked roof over it (because it snows here), and a way to vent it, but it should stay fairly warm wrapped up in plastic. The mushroom manure will heat as it decomposes, and the garden will get sun for majority of the day.

Hey, we were happy when we started the project, and were still happy at the end of it!
We were trying to recreate the painting, American Gothic, but in selfie mode and with shovels, haha.

And no worries everyone, we'll get back to Penn soon!


  1. That's the fanciest baby garden ever. I freaking love it!

  2. Based on my mother's failed attempts at gardening I said I never wanted to do it, but I've seen so many lovely raised garden beds (which my mom never attempted) and I really kinda just want one small one to grow a couple things.

    1. Hahaha "I really kinda just want one small one to grow a couple things" is how we landed on this garden, lolol!

  3. Omgosh that looks incredible - those are some happy happy plants, and it’s all so tidy and organized ! Nice work!!!

    1. Thanks! The zucchini is really telling us what we did wrong (not giving it enough space), and so is the spaghetti squash (I didn't know it vined and climbed...). We have a better plan for next year! I love it though, no bending over, and I can lean on the garden edges to get right up in there.

  4. I LOVE IT!!! I was following your progress on FB and am super impressed! I can't wait to put in my big garden next year. :D

    I am not sure I'm remembering correctly as they aren't as big of a problem out here, but I think Japanese Beetles can overwinter in the ground in the larval stages. I'm pretty sure there's a parasitic nematode you can apply to the ground to control them though! (I get most of my information from the You Bet Your Garden podcast, so you can check out their site for correct info!)

    1. I LOVE my little-big garden! It's def a bit small, but we couldn't realistically put anything bigger in the yard, plus it would have cost a lot more since we would have had to use bigger boards with more waste wood (originally we were thinking 9x9 square, but boards come in 8 or 10', so we went with 8'x9').

      You're absolutely right about the Japanese Beetles- the larva overwinter underground and then come out in June. They have about a 40 day lifespan. I'm hoping we made a dent in the breeding population (so hopefully there aren't too many larva int he ground!). I remember digging up some stuff over the past few years and seeing grubs in the lawn- I was wondering if these are the larva. I'm hesitant to spray anything on the lawn- our lawn is so big it seems to attract the neighbor animals and children.