June 26, 2015

Our Raised Bed Vegetable Garden: Early Summer 2015

A few weeks ago, we were finally able to bring out our vegetable plants. After a very long and harsh winter (coldest February I can remember!!) and a particularly cool spring, it finally warmed up enough to start planting just a few weeks ago. Needless to say, we got a really late start this year and so, we are still not picking much yet. That's not to say the garden is looking lackluster though - quite the opposite actually, because we have big plans and we've been working hard to make them real.

First, since our soil is quite literally sand and plants don't grow very well directly in it, we are limited only to raised bed planting. This spring, my brother and my dad built a few more beds, so we've practically doubled their number. Second, after a very small and not so tasty yield last year, we've been doing lots of research and realized we needed to feed our soil and plants with some really good, natural plant food.

It's only been a few weeks since the plants have been in the ground (some of them barely two weeks), but we can already see quite a bit of growth happening. A few days ago, I went out with my camera to capture a snapshot of our garden - because, let's be honest, it's looking so different already - and wanted to share it here as well.

Our herb bed is filled with some cilantro (ugh! I'm not a fan and this was definitely not my choice, but at least it's pretty to look at), lovage and tarragon, as well as lots of basil.

For the first time this year, we are trying out potatoes, and so far they seem to be doing really well. We have both yellow potatoes that are growing like weeds, and sweet potatoes that went in the ground a few weeks later but are slowly catching up.

The zucchinis are, not surprisingly, thriving. We already have one ready to pick, with no less than ten more starting to grow. This might be my favourite plant of all: once it gets started producing, it's hard to keep up with it, and you have to check the zucchinis every day or you'll end up with huge ones you didn't even know you had practically overnight.

Another first this year are strawberries. We have one entire large bed mainly for them and while we're likely not going to eat too many of our own strawberries this year, we'll definitely get a taste; we've already spotted a bunch of flowers and 3 or 4 berries ripening.

The mainstay in our vegetable garden every year are tomatoes. We are particularly proud of the ones we've grown this year that are looking really strong and healthy. Lots of little yellow flowers are blooming already, so tomatoes are not very far behind either.

Some of the plants we're most excited about are melons; we have a few different kinds, including watermelons! Right now, they're growing quickly and we've even seen tiny little melons forming already. They definitely won't be as big as the ones found at the market, more likely in the 1 to 2 pound range, but hopefully they'll be much sweeter.

The green beans were the last to go in the ground but, like always, they're growing incredibly quickly. I took this photo only about a couple of days after we planted them and they were already peeking through. Now, almost a week later, they're a few inches tall!

Finally, I can't end without mentioning the green onions and green garlics that have been our champions so far this year. We've been growing them for a few weeks now and have already eaten well over a hundred of them with, obviously, lots more to come.

The last time our vegetable garden looked this good was all the way back in the summer of 2012. Since then we've been struggling, but after lots of research and work during the last few months, we've got our fingers crossed that we'll be eating even more of our own homegrown veggies than three summers ago.

I'd love to know, do you have a vegetable garden? What is your favourite plant you're growing now or that you would like to grow?


  1. Looks fantastic! I've always liked the idea of raised vegetable beds but my wife has never agreed. Are they easier to weed and care for the plants? The soil in our garden also isn't very good for growing veg, so raised beds are very appealing. The wooden beds look really nice, did you use any special timber so that it won't rot? Or is anything OK to use?

    Bert Aguilar @ Rainfill Tanks and Curved Roofing Supplies

    1. Hi Bert! We really ended up building the raised beds because nothing grew well in our sandy soil the first year we planted. They are quite low-maintenance, and we haven't had to do too much weeding, even though our backyard has lots of maple trees that drop plenty of seeds every year. Also, we mulch most of the beds, which helps keep the soil moist longer and prevents weeds from growing too much as well.

      We didn't use any special timber, rather whatever we could find that was in our budget at the time. We actually got some paint for them too but never got a chance to use it, and despite that, they've been doing really well throughout all the rain and snow we got in the last 4 years since we built the first ones.

      I hope this helps! We're not experts at this - always learning, always tweaking - but happy to share from our experiences so far! :)

  2. Your vegetable garden really seems to be taking shape. I love growing my own veg, and we have a dedicated veg patch for this very purpose. We also contacted a local water tank company who specialise in making corrugated water tanks for the garden. We opted for two round water tanks that give us plenty of rainwater for our plants.

    Bert Aguilar @ Rainfill Tanks and Curved Roofing Supplies

    1. It is so rewarding to be able to eat veggies that we've grown ourselves, isn't it?! It sounds like you're taking great care of your garden. We just got some water tanks a few weeks ago too, and will be installing them soon to collect rainwater for the garden!

      Wishing you a great and productive growing season!

  3. Brilliant idea for growing vegetables..your wooden rack is looking awesome! I appreciate your efforts made to do such excellent gardening. I would surely going to apply many of these ideas shared here!

    Thanks for sharing! keep sharing! I would surely look forward!

    1. Thank you Kevin! The best part is that not only does it look great, it works great too. Glad to know you found some of what I shared helpful, and I hope it will work just as well for you as it has for us.


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