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Building My Very First Raised Vegetable garden

backyard with raised vegetable garden - Cristina Garay
My last post was a compilation of beautiful raised garden beds you can DIY or buy, but you know what? You can create a raised garden bed out of almost anything ---> plastic, metal, wood containers, cinder blocks, pallets, etc. 

Have in mind that whatever you choose, you don't want chemicals from that product leaking into your garden.

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This is the year that I said YES to growing some vegetables. As I told you before, my son was the one pushing that idea, and he was the one giving me a helping hand.

Let's begin with the before. Yep, that sad space is my backyard. Last year we were going to make some changes but the mister had troubles with his knee so, we postponed that project.

This square space used to be my kid's playground, since the lawn has a pronounced slope we hired someone to even out that area to install a play-set. Ten years passed by and the playset got damaged, it was re-purposed into the potting bench you see at the far end, and this area has been this ugly since.... too long already!

The other side doesn't look much prettier either. The boy still uses this trampoline, I gotta buy a new net.
When I first thought of building a raised garden bed, somehow I imagined its placement right there, in between the play-set area and the trampoline. I was thinking of building a rectangular bed, placing it there, and making it level by burying the high part on the ground.
Those were my thoughts while sitting comfortably on the sofa inside my home.

When I came out to check things right there in the backyard, I completely changed my mind. That would've been LOTS of work, not to mention it's not the right way to do it on a slope. There is a better way right HERE.

Looking at the play-set, it already looked like a raised bed but way bigger than I needed. After moving all the crap that was sitting at the end, it made complete sense to use that line to create my garden.
That's how it all began, some of the clay soil was dug out, trying to give the roots a foot of space.

I kind of wanted to build two flatbeds to divide that area 17' x 2'. However when ready to buy the wood, what I found at the home centers was treated pine, I didn't want to buy any treated material. I found cedar at only one home center, but one-inch material, and it wasn't cheap.

The final decision was to skip building extra beds and instead, utilize the one I already had. creating a division with concrete wall blocks, similar to these ones HERE. I paid $1.87 for each block.

The weed blocking fabric was first laid, then two rows of blocks. The final step was to fill the area with lots of organic garden soil, peat moss to retain moisture, and some compost.

My helper was there all the time. :)

Even though we bought 14 cu. ft. of soil + the other materials, it wasn't enough to fill it to the top. Another trip to Home Depot was necessary to buy 8 more cu. ft.

This is how it looked at the end of the day.

We planted red and green peppers, tomatoes, basil, mint, dill, coriander, parsley, lemon thyme, strawberries, and I even planted lavender, bought it thinking it was rosemary. :)

The total cost for this garden, so far: $250.  Not too cheap, considering I didn't build the entire bed.
The blocks were $65 - Soil and other fillers: $150.

vegetable garden diy

I still need to buy mulch and perhaps other plants. Anyway, whatever the cost, if the plants do good, it will be money well spent. :)

Now, I need to start prettying up the area around it, not an easy task. :/

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  1. Looks great and you are encouraging me if only the snow would quit. Connie at

  2. It looks great already! Can't wait to see it thrive, and I know it will!

  3. What a great idea to utilize the space you have! I built three raised beds too but I did use treated lumber. My dad says that the amount of chemicals that leaches out is negligible. What kind of wood is the play set box made out of? You can see my beds here
    Making the Most of Every Day

  4. Found you on DIY Like a Boss link up--this is great! I so wish I had a space big enough for beds this large. For now, it's just balcony gardening for us, but we're making the most of it!

  5. What a lot of work for you guys and it shows!! Looks fantastic Cristina. Happy gardening to you.

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