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  • Brenda Crawford

Raised Garden-Ongoing Project Part I


As I sit at my desk, I am looking out into the yard and watching it snow. Here in Ohio, we have green grass and some of my flowers are still green with life, not giving in to winter yet. I saw a bloom on a dianthus just last month. Even with the tranquility of the pretty, soft snow, there is nothing I would like more than to get outside and start planting in my new garden!



raised beds
Project in progress. Perfect weather for building boxes.

Last fall, I put in a new raised bed garden. The plans started smaller than the project ended up! I was having such a good time building the frames that I got a bit carried away. I have 10 in all, varying in size and depth. The longest are 12 feet long by 3 feet wide. These are for strawberries, raspberries, and veining plants. The deepest is for when I try my hand at growing sweet potatoes and the largest square, 4 feet by 4 feet, is for rhubarb. I'm using one of the small 6 feet by 3 feet beds as a holding place for flowers I have divided when doing my fall bed cleaning. I have always wanted a place to put plants that, at the time, I had no place for and now I do! ( It is the little things in life that make me happy.)


My boxes are built on the cheap, using cedar pickets instead of cedar boards. Much less expensive! I used scrap 2x4s for the corner boards and center supports. My husband is in the process of adding onto the pole barn, so I had great supply of short pieces of scrap. The boxes were then lined with chicken wire or wire mesh, (I used what I could find in the shed) and cardboard~Wire is to keep varmints out and cardboard to keep weeds out.

1/3 each peat, vermiculite, and compost

I followed the advise I found online and starting filling with a mix of 1/3 each of compost, peat, and vermiculite. The fill was a bit more expensive than I wanted to spend. My strawberry bed has this mix, but I switched up what I was doing on the remainder of the beds.


new plants
Newly planted strawberries. My mouth is watering!!

The remainder of the beds have a mix of about 50% 70/30 soil and leaf compost, 25% vermiculite, and 25% peat. It took two days and about 8 yards of soil mix to fill all the beds. Every bit of it, I shoveled myself. Not to bad for a 53 year old woman!

Don't they look pretty!!

Late this winter, I will mix in composted manure. I also have worm castings to water in.


This is my ongoing project for 2021. I'm doing research on what to plant, companion planting, and more on growing veggies, fruits, and herbs. I'm a flower/hosta grower at heart with a few herbs mixed in, but would like to have some fresh, homegrown veggies on the table this year. In addition to the plants, I hope to hardscape with pea gravel and walking paths, and fence in the whole area.


As I research and build, I will share what I learn as I go. I'm currently working on a garden journal for the 2021 growing season to be released with the 2021 Madison Garden Expo, February 20th & 21st If you haven't signed up for the virtual expo yet, do so. It is a great live event, but due to Covid, it is going to be online this year. It will give you a chance to message with me live as I will be streaming on Facebook during 4 time slots during the show!


Wisconsin Garden & Landscape Expo (wigardenexpo.com) Sign up... it's free!

https://www.greenhousemegastore.com/ this is where I purchased the vermiculite









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