It’s been a bountiful summer with my raised garden bed and square foot gardening technique. I converted an old raised bed garden into the square foot gardening method by cleaning the weeds and replacing the soil mixture. I also installed drip irrigation from my rain water collection system. I also used survival kit seeds with the exception of my tomato plants. The raised garden bed has performed well in come cases and poorly in others – mostly my fault I suspect.
Beginning a Raised Garden Bed
My original raised garden bed had not been used in approximately 5 years. I first confirmed that my rainwater collection system would adequately power my drip irrigation system. The raised bed garden has 32 square feet and that could have been a serious load on the 1000 gallon rain water collection system but the slight uphill position of the rainwater collection tank was more than sufficient to provide hose bib level water pressure down to the raised bed garden.
Square Foot Raised Garden Bed
The raised garden bed looked especially nice right after I replaced the soil and planted the tomatoes. The drip irrigation system was simple with a single loop and 32 emitters. I had extra hog wire to form cages for the tomatoes and other vining plants.
Healthy Raised Bed Vegetable Garden
A month or so in and you can easily see how the raised garden bed thrived. The plants on the inside did better than the plants on the outside. The inside plants were mostly vining plants – tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, melons and the plants on the outside were leafy plants like spinach, chard, lettuce, etc. I’m not a terribly attentive gardener and the weeds have grown to appreciate the new raised bed garden as well. The inner row plants did very well but the outer row plants did not perform well at all. A little research told me that my leafy plants don’t do well in the hot Texas summers so I will retry them in a Fall garden.
Weekly Harvest from Raised Bed Vegetable Garden
I used survival kit seeds with the exception of my tomatoes and the production of vegetables has been moderate. It is clear after a single season, that the benefits of hybrid vegetables are enormous. My heritage seeds produce less fruit of a lesser quality. They are still good and edible but definitely NOT what I’ve come to expect after 50 years of living on grocery food food. The production level of the inner rows of cucumbers, corn and tomatoes has been sufficient to feed me salads every day each week throughout the summer. The corn production was very poor but I only had 4 plants of 4 varieties. I will plan better next summer for an expanded raised garden bed.
Summary of Raised Garden Bed Summer Version 1
My raised garden bed using heritage seeds has been moderately successful. It was relatively easy to build and start. My rainwater collection system is adequate to power the drip irrigation and I can collect a nice basket of vegetables each week. Some of the leafy plants did not do well in the Texas Summer – they are Fall garden plants. In the end, the small raised garden bed was sufficient but just barely and better planning and an additional 32 square feet next summer will probably bring it into full production for a family of four.
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