Here is a peek at the set up - it was a ton of room, and we planted lots! But, it didn't thrive, because the previous home owners had put the garden under the maple tree and it got little to no sun the majority of the day, save for the last beams of sunlight as the sun set each evening. Total oversight on our part, too, we didn't even take the shade into consideration in our excitement to plant our garden.
We did get a great harvest of beans, cucumbers, eggplants & some pumpkins - but our tomatoes, peas, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, spinach, squash and zucchini didn't do so well - some didn't grow at all, others just didn't produce any vegetables.
After carefully evaluating the sun's trek across our lawn this summer, we decided to optimize our lawn by building simple raise beds with cinder blocks in front of our porch. This area gets sunlight from about 10am-7pm and is right outside of our back door, making it easily accessible and freeing up the rest of the lawn for the kiddo to practice soccer in.
Each raise bed will be about 3x3 feet, made of twelve cinder blocks, the perfect size for small plots to feed our little family & maybe produce enough to share with the neighbors. Or if the cucumbers do as well next year as they did this year, we may just have to learn how to can food!
Since we are getting an early start on these beds, we are gathering yard waste and composting inside each bed over the fall & winter to reduce the amount of soil we need to purchase this spring.
To make two raise beds, it cost us $34.76 and took less than half an hour to set up. You could also probably get cinder blocks from Craigslist for less (or free), but this was a spur of the moment idea while we were at Lowe's so decided to buy the supplies & test out this layout. We really like it & can't wait to plant our garden next spring!
Do you garden? If so, do you prefer raise beds or planting straight into the ground?