I love the idea of gardening in raised beds. Smaller spaces are a good thing for over-worked gardeners—unless the gardener is me.
We grow a lot of produce. I mean, a LOT of produce. My husband is obsessed with planting things. An increasing number of things. Dave does all of the seed ordering, seed starting, and young plant nurturing through the winter months. He also does a fair amount of the tilling and direct-sowing come April and May. (He knows that we will have very crooked rows if he does not oversee this operation, so he is incredibly helpful during the planting season.) Then, he conveniently disappears from the garden areas for months. (It’s uncanny, really, how many urgent matters materialize for him after Mother’s Day every year.) Then, once our seasonal bounty has been carefully and painstakingly preserved come October, he remarks that the growing season certainly did “fly by” this year. Whatever.
But I digress…
Raised beds. They seem like they should be easier than their massive alternatives for me, but they are not. I think the problem is that we do not plant staple crops in our raised beds. We plant things like strawberries, onions, garlic and lettuce. These crops have early or late harvests and a whole lot of “down time” in between. Plus, our family cannot subsist on the nutrients of any of them for very long. Therefore, our raised beds are often grossly neglected from season to season because I cannot justify neglecting our “bread and butter” crops for garlic. Or onions. And, there’s only so much lettuce one family can eat, and the kids devour the strawberries as soon as they’re ripe. On our little farm, it seems that SOMEthing must always be neglected, so the raised beds are often the obvious choice.
Every year I resolve that THIS will be the season in which I take better care of my raised beds. I want them to resemble the beautiful magazine photos that feature well-kept raised beds with an abundance of thriving produce neatly tucked side-by-side. This is not how mine look.
See what I mean?
But, I am resolving that I will do better next year. (heehee) The kids and I have already weeded (excavated, really) our three raised beds in order to start with a clean slate this fall. I filled one with garlic cloves, will put onions in another and am thinking about transplanting the strawberries out of the third one and filling it with something else. I just need to figure out what. Herbs? Marigolds? Leafy greens?