Kalyn's Kitchen

Enriching the Soil Before Planting in My Raised Garden Beds (2012 Garden Update #2)

raised garden beds with organic material being added
Raised garden beds need organic material added to the soil every few years.

I got off to an early start on the garden this year, trimming my perennial herbs much earlier than I usually do.  Then a combination of me being sick and lots of rainy days in Utah conspired to put the garden on hold until this week.  Raised garden beds are wonderful because they don’t require lots of maintenance, but your raised beds will produce healthier plants if you enrich the soil with organic material at least every few years.  You can buy bags of organic compost at a garden store, but many cities that collect yard waste also grind it up and create compost that’s sold by the truckload.  I don’t have a truck, but I am lucky enough to have a great family, and this year my brother-in-law Clayton offered to bring me a load of compost and till it into the soil for me.  (Thanks Clayton!)

I had pulled weeds out a few times in the weeks before we did this, but there were still a few lingering weeds we had to dig out before we spread the compost over the beds.  (I love my drip sprinklers which you just flip back when you want to work on the soil.)

Once the weeds were pulled, we spread a thick layer of compost over each bed.

I also sprinkled a little organic fertilizer over each bed, although it’s probably not essential.

Then Clayton did his magic with the tiller and tilled the compost into the soil in each bed.

When it’s done you need to rake the surface of the soil so it’s smooth!

And then in my beds I just flip the sprinkler tubes back into the bed, anchor them down with little metal hooks, and I’m ready for seeds and plants.  Personally I think the day you get your garden tilled is one of the best days of the year!  After we got the beds ready, I spent the rest of that day planting seeds and plants; more photos coming soon!

I’m also happy to report that herbs are in full production mode in my garden.  I have parsley, mint, flat parsley, marjoram, 3 types of thyme, dill, rosemary, tarragon, Greek oregano, chives, and basil all growing and a few seeds in the ground (for more dill and basil.)  
You can see all my Garden Updates since 2006 or the 2012 Garden Updates if you’d like to see more about my garden.   Do you have a garden at your house?  Let us know in the comments how your 2012 garden is coming along.

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    12 Comments on “Enriching the Soil Before Planting in My Raised Garden Beds (2012 Garden Update #2)”

  1. I was just topping up my new raised beds this evening between the rain showers, in an unseasonably cold UK. Got a delivery of baby veg plants coming later this week from a company that supply 'constant gardens' – you get a delivery of baby plants every few months for the year…. very excited, as the pressures of moving house, decorating and work mean that I haven't managed to grow much veg for the last couple of seasons. Nice to get out there and get stuck in again (til the rain started…)

  2. Maggie if you look under the tab gardening there is a post about the sprinklers and who installed them.

  3. Oh, I love your drip water system! I have a drip system for some of my flower beds, but it is sort of a hodge-podge of drip lines and doesn't look nearly as robust as your lovely system. Where did you get your materials and did you set it up yourself or have a professional? I live in SLC, so any recommendations are VERY welcome!

  4. My garden experience in 2012 has been mixed; we bought some seeds but our starts got killed by unexpected cold, so I decided to skip a step and buy some starts from a nursery; those are just starting to show signs of production. Your watering unit looks great.

  5. Does Clayton ever come to Rhode Island? I'm jealous of your garden prep!

  6. Hi everyone,
    I've been out of town so sorry if it seemed like I was ignoring things.

    Sue, I need to try black cherry tomatoes. I didn't have much time to look for plants because I had one day to get them planted before I left town, so this year I have Green Zebra, Brandywine, Celebrity, San Marzano (for roasted tomatoes) and Lemon Boy.

    Ann I have heard about that trick of using newspaper!

    JJ, I hired someone to install them for me, so I don't know the brand on the drip system. If you look under the tab "Gardening" at the top, there was a post about it which gives his contact information if you want to ask him.

    There are posts from previous years that show the different plants I've experimented with (look under "gardening") but must have for me would be cucumbers, kale, green beans, and basil!

  7. I have a garden and love it. This year I moved the tomatoes out into another garden hoping to get more furit this year. I am looking for some different herbs and veggies to plant. The herbs a doing very well and the beets are lookimng great. I just put in squash, ciucumbers, eggplant. So I have the standard stuff any suggestions??

  8. I liked reading about your raised beds and was admiring your sprinkler tube system. I have something similar but yours looks way better. I often end up watering by hand because the system I have is not very effective. Do you have any info. about this?

  9. During Fall I cover my raised bed with newspaper and add a layer of dried leaves. It keeps the weeds down. When I begin planting I dig the newspaper and leaves into the soil and also add compost from my own compost bin. It's great that you have some help.

  10. I like reading your garden updates. I don't have a garden myself, but I grow herbs and many different variety of tomatoes in pots and containers. I've just planted a black cherry (one of my favorites) and a dark yellow/orange beefsteak variety. Just wondering – what kind of tomatoes are you planting this year? I know green zebras belong to your favorites. I love them too and the one plant that I have is already in the ground.

  11. This is the first year we have a raised bed with a cover and so far I'm loving it! I won't get to plant the garden for awhile yet as it could still freeze so we don't have much growing yet but it's a great time to get some work done. Thanks for the great advice and all the wonderful recipes.

  12. The day I plant my garden is one of my favorite days of the year. All the possibilities are still ahead, and the squash bugs and tomato hornworms aren't yet causing problems!