Gardening In Raised Garden Beds

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I decided to try a different gardening approach a few years ago. Here in Southern Utah, I have had trouble growing a garden. I have tried HUGE pots filled to the brim with Miracle Grow Potting soil designed for pots.

I have tried the Extra Moisture type potting soil as well. They did not work for me either. I didn’t get more than two or three tomatoes in those pots. Mark and I even had special tubes watering them through the sprinkling system.

The pots did not work for me here in the heat of the summer where we sometimes get temperatures up 110 degrees, too HOT for regular gardening!

Raised Beds For Gardening

A few years ago I started with a few raised gardening boxes. I bought some raised beds on Amazon but they are no longer available. We wanted our raised garden sets to be extra deep (18 inches) so I bought three set and just snapped together the sides of different sections to make the 4-foot squares I wanted.

These are definitely something you can build on your own. I filled them with Miracle Grow Potting Soil mixed with a little “dirt” that came in bags. The red clay soil here is way too hard. We have slowly been adding more and more boxes.

I have seen raised gardening boxes made with the white vinyl fencing and they look sturdy! We had to do these because I could not dig the holes for the white vinyl fence gardening boxes. When I lived up north I would have done those for sure. We have really hard clay soil here.

This year I will try planting seeds since I really want to know that I could survive eating from my own garden in case something unexpected happens to my family.  If you have tried any non-hybrid or heirloom seeds you rock!

Gardening Tips

I fill the raised gardening raised beds with soil up to within two inches from the top. My husband and I ran the black tubing to run the sprinkler full circle 360-degree spray heads.

We have two of these full circle spray heads in each 48-inch square raised garden bed. We raise them about 2 inches above the soil in each box.

Gardening In Raised Beds Work

After trying different gardening approaches, I realized that the best growing soil here in Southern Utah has to be 18 inches deep (above the ground).

The soil is so hard that the roots could not grow deep enough in the ground. It might just be my imagination, but it works and I am so glad because I have to have a garden.

Last summer I had so much lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers we had a fresh salad every night for almost 6-7 months. This saves me so much money and we are eating healthier!

Tomato Cages For Gardening

The winds where I live can pick up unexpectedly and I wanted to have really good tomato cages, so I got the cages shown above called Sturdy Cages from a gardening center in the Salt Lake City area.

You can get some good sturdy Lifetime Tomato Cages, Heavy Gauge, Set of 4 on Amazon for a pretty good price. I purchased my “Sturdy Tomato Cages” at Glover Nursery in Salt Lake City, Utah.

My garden did really well last year. I had so many tomatoes, basil, cilantro, and cucumbers I was giving them away! The zucchini did not do so well. I know it usually grows like a weed.

Buy Good Tomato Cages

I can’t buy the flimsy tomato cages because then I have to replace them every few years. Plus, they never hold the branches correctly. I have had these cages for almost 8 years. They must be lifetime cages because they still are as strong as the day I bought them.

Read More of My Articles  How To Grow Cantaloupe In Your Backyard

It’s been fun to garden and see these various plants grow in my own backyard. I just ordered 3 more Suncast grow boxes. Yes, I want more 48″ grow boxes! There is nothing better than fresh fruits and veggies from your own garden!

Food Prices Continue To Rise

Have you seen rising food prices continue rising? I think most of us are taught as we grow up to be as self-sufficient as possible. We see from those around us that with a combination of hard work, training, and education we can find work and get ahead, thus providing the finances to support ourselves and those we love.

Most have also been told to plan ahead and have sufficient reserves so that we are prepared, just in case some unexpected event happens that turns our life upside down, whether it is an act of Mother Nature, a lost job, illness or accident.

Some things kind of sneak up on us. We try to control our surroundings and work to make our homes and workplaces safe and secure. But from time to time there are forces at work for which we have no input or control.

That is the case right now in the US due to the rise in prices across many sectors, including food. I read an article recently in which this challenge was brought to my attention in a very strong way.

Those of you living in the east where a very severe winter was the norm may not be aware that much of the west, and parts of the mid-west, are experiencing a drought that is affecting food prices in a very adverse way. Let me bring to your attention some of the issues currently at hand.

Serious Effects Of Drought

Drought over the past few years has had a cumulative effect such that the feed for cattle has been in decline. If you can’t feed the cattle you sell them off.

In doing so the herds are getting smaller every year, and as supply and demand forces kick in, the price of the meat and dairy products go up since there aren’t as many ranches raising milk cows or sending cattle to market.  It has been reported that food prices are up over 21% just in the past 12 months.

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea

Besides the effects of the drought on meat and dairy products, the country is also experiencing a perplexing problem in the hog market. Many hog farmers are seeing their production drop drastically due to a virus called Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea that kills many young pigs.

With the pigs dying off in droves the price for bacon and other pig related products has skyrocketed like never before. Researchers are trying to find a cure, but as of now, they haven’t been able to prevent the disease from spreading or to cure the animals once the disease is contracted.

Bacteria Targeting Citrus Crop

There is also a challenge to the citrus industry in Florida right now. The growers there are in panic mode due to a plant disease called citrus greening. The bacteria causing the disease makes the various citrus fruits taste bitter and drop from the trees before they ripen.

The gardening disease affects more than the leaves, it attacks the root structure of the trees and doesn’t allow the fruit to stay attached long enough to mature for a full harvest season.

We may not be enjoying that morning tall glass of orange juice or lemonade in the very near future unless we are willing to spend “an arm and a leg” for them.

Read More of My Articles  6 Eye-opening Reasons To Stock Up On Garden Seeds NOW!

California Is A Large Food Producer

One of our physically largest states, California, is also the prime region for the gardening production of many of the fruits and vegetables we enjoy as part of our everyday meals.

California continues to experience a year’s long drought that seems to have no end. Although the tourist trade in California is huge, so is their agricultural production.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture reports that their state provides 99% of artichokes, 97% of plums, 95% of celery, 94% of broccoli, 90% of avocados, 90% of lettuce, 88% of strawberries, 86% of lemons and 84% of peaches for the rest of the country.

Most all of these foods are in shorter supply due to the drought, and things don’t look favorable in the short term since the drought continues.

Coffee From Latin America

Similar challenges are to be found in Latin America as it relates to their coffee production.  There is a fungus infecting coffee plantations in Mexico, Central, and South America.

This fungus is called leaf rust (Roya) and the trees simply choke from lack of nutrition. There is no cure for this fungus, so the future of the industry as it relates to our most common sources of coffee beans is in serious doubt.

Future Water Concerns

Out west there is also constant dialogue about the growing population and the shortage of water resources. The county I live in here in Southern Utah is talking about building a water pipeline from Lake Powell, a storage source using Colorado River water, to our area.

This pipeline is projected to cost in excess of $1.0 billion and they aren’t sure how they will pay for it. The lake is already low from many years of drought.

The various states that rely on water from the Colorado River aren’t anxious to see this precious resource drained off simply because Southern Utah is a pleasant retirement location. These kinds of conflicting priorities will surely become more prevalent in future years.

No Gloom and Doom

I don’t mean to paint a picture of gloom and doom, I just want us all to realize that no matter how successful we may be in making money to support the family, there may be circumstances beyond our control that will make providing all the food we need much more difficult if weather patterns stay the same and if the scientific community can’t solve some soil and plant diseases now plaguing our country.

For me, it simply supports my desire to plant and grow what I can, harvest and can/preserve what I grow, and to purchase and store for emergency use those items that I enjoy eating, and do so before the prices go up so dramatically that I can’t afford to buy them.

We all need to plan ahead, become proactive, learn what is going on around us and prepare accordingly. Let me know your thoughts about these issues and how you see yourself responding to challenges beyond your control. If you already have a garden, I applaud you!

Some of us don’t have much land so we need to learn to “garden” in different ways.

Final Word

Please start gardening today if you haven’t already and buy weekly a few extra cans of the food you enjoy. Please stock up on beans, rice, and wheat. If you can’t eat wheat then stock up on the foods you can eat. I am sure you are all aware of the rising food prices.

I know gardening can be a lot of fun! Let me know if you have tried raised gardening boxes! Let’s grow our own food in pots, in the ground or in raised garden beds. We can do it. May God bless this world, Linda

10 thoughts on “Gardening In Raised Garden Beds

      • December 14, 2019 at 4:31 am

        A very good tip for drought prone areas is to use layers of corrugated cardboard at the bottom of your raised bed to act as a sponge/ water store. Another is to cut off the bottoms of some single serving drinks bottles, poke holes in the sides, and invert them , lid on, into the soil between plants. Water by filling these up getting the water to the roots and reducing evaporation from surface watering.
        Finally, putting a layer of grass clippings or other green soft compostable material and a layer of rotted manure will get your garden going with a bang. This is simplified Lasagne Gardening. I have run community gardens for several years on solid clay soil with amazing results, using this technique. We built all our beds out of clean pallets as well.

        • December 14, 2019 at 8:22 am

          Hi Diana, oh my gosh I LOVE LOVE LOVE your comment! I love the term lasagna gardening!! It totally makes sense. My readers are going to love this! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!! Linda

  • March 5, 2021 at 7:48 pm

    Hi Linda, Thanks for your good post on gardening. I haven’t run community gardens as Diana has, but I used the same ideas when I built my raised beds last year. We had lots of empty boxes from our move and so I broke them down and layered them on the bottom of each bed. I used bags of garden soild, perlite, peat moss and coffee grounds as the base for my garden soild. When I planted each plant and seeds, I placed worm castings in each hole before planting. Due to the high heat, I didn’t get so very many tomatoes, although the plants grew like crazy. My Bell peppers grew taller than I’ve ever had peppers grow and I had tons of their fruit. My Green Beans grew very well also, but the rabbits ate every bean when they were only about 2 inches long.
    Don’t know if this will be of any help to anyone, but wanted to share.
    Hope you and yours are now and will stay well and safe. Take care


    • March 6, 2021 at 7:30 am

      Hi Suzanne, it’s so frustrating when critters eat our harvest, darn it! The bell peppers sound wonderful, mine do not get very big, it’s so hot here, but they taste great. You may have to hand pollinate the tomatoes with a paintbrush. The bees are almost extinct in my area, so I have to do the hand pollinate trick. Good to hear from you! Stay well and stay safe. Life is so good. Linda

  • March 6, 2021 at 1:43 pm

    A couple of things that I am going to add to my garden this year. First are finely crushed egg shells that will add calcium to plants, but especially for tomatoes . It will help keep blossom-end blight away. Another is using coffee grounds. I don’t drink coffee but I have a source here in my town that I contacted to get their used grounds. The were more that willing to give them to me since they just throw them away. The grounds add nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus among other nutrients. Add both in the holes at planting time and again to side-dress after . This add more to your plants and keeps slugs and other critters that might want to chew on your nice plants. Coffee grounds can be added to other plants and hanging baskets, too. Both are slow-release, which is nice. See Old World Garden for more info.

    • March 6, 2021 at 2:35 pm

      Hi Cheryl, great information. I used to go get coffee grinds from Starbucks to stop the cats from using my garden beds as a litter box. Then I had to add eggshells! Great reminder! Gardening is so fun!! Linda

  • August 23, 2021 at 5:50 pm

    This article is pretty helpful! Thanks for sharing a lot of info


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