My Mother in Law’s Inexpensive Raised Bed Garden – No More Poor Soil!


Hi guys. I’m Al Gracian from Albopepper dot com. Today I’m here at my mother-in-law’s and I want to show you a
nice simple raised bed garden that I put in for her. Are you in an urban or maybe a suburban
area and you thought about gardening but then you look at your plot maybe look at your soil at the ground
that you have to work with and maybe it just seems like that’s an impossible
task. Is it just this rocky clay maybe you have just a couple inches of
topsoil and then you’re on bedrock. Does that mean you just have to throw in
the towel because there’s no chance of being able to plant something
successfully? Absolutely not. That was a situation it
looked like we had here but now today we have an excellent start in year one with
some good fertility and some good results in this raised bed garden. So I
want to show you how we’ve set this up and you’ll be able to see the results of
what we’re getting already in the very first season. We installed this raised
bed in April on a relatively flat area in the lawn. Just a couple feet away from the back
porch where the garden can be watched and monitored every day very easily. In a
spot where there is excellent lighting really good full sun. That’s where we put this bed. We went
with a four foot by eight foot bed constructed from two by ten lumber using
three 8 foot boards. And after everything was fastened well we were able to drop it
into place on the actual lawn. We anchored the bed in place with some
stakes that kept it nicely attached to the ground. We didn’t pull up the grass but rather
after getting it leveled we laid down several layers of cardboard to
completely choked out the grass killing it, not allowing it to come up through the
box, but leaving all of that organic matter, leaving all of that top soil that
was already there in place. To get the maximum results from this bed we filled it up with some really good
soil. You could try to use a Mel’s Mix, but for
this project a four-by-eight bed that was 10 inches deep I had delivered on-site a 50-50 mix of
topsoil that also had mushroom manure or mushroom compost already mixed in. So added to that mixture of topsoil and
mushroom manure I added two cubic feet each of some peat
moss and vermiculite eight just to slightly enhance the texture of the soil
while keeping the cost to a minimum. And then on May 22nd is when I planted this
garden. Much of it was direct sown. The seeds such as beans, spaghetti squash,
zucchini. And we did have some transplants of some peppers some
tomatoes and an acorn squash. It didn’t take very long at all and the plants were already starting to
take off and we were already seeing some great growth. And now if we skip ahead to
today July ninth, look at how this stuff is
looking! These plants are going crazy!!! It’s
awesome! I mean yeah the soil here the grass this
lawn not really all that great not doing so
hot. But by just bringing in some inexpensive topsoil mushroom manure
mixture we’re able to add 10 inches of high
quality soil right on top of the top soil that’s there. You put in a little bit of
some organic fertilizer and this stuff can do so great! We went with a trellis system. Some basic
wire fence material that is placed on some U-posts. What’s really great about them is they
have these little hooks that allow you to drop the fencing material right onto
it securing it without the use of any
hardware and I found this is stayed in place really well, even as the fence has started to get
weighted down with all these spaghetti squash and the different plants just
hanging on this. So all the vining things have been able
to go vertical. They’ve been able to climb up the fence.
This whole trellis is on the back side of the box. That is to say the northern
side. And so on the southern side of that is where the rest of the plants are
growing and they’re in the optimal light that you could expect in the
northern hemisphere. We’ve got zucchini coming in. We have
tomatoes that are ripening and the beans are already flowering and pretty soon
we’re going to have beans that are going to be setting. Spaghetti squash are all
over the place. This thing is doing great. So there you
have it guys. It may take a little bit of planning and
some preparation but even despite challenging soil situations: depleted
soils, poor drainage, issues like these. That doesn’t mean that you can’t prepare
a nice site for an excellent vegetable garden. And then, going forward, you can
focus on using organic techniques to continue to build your soil fertility.
Slowly in time you could take on more building more beds if you want. Or you
can scale things down if you want too depending upon how things have been
working out for you. The key is to get in there and garden.
Don’t be afraid of limitations. View them as challenges that can be
overcome. Just do some research and have some
determination and you’ll find that you’re gardening in no time, having a great time doing it. I know that
my mother-in-law has been really excited to be able to get out there and already
she’s harvesting things and even sharing them with her neighbors. Really that’s a big part of what
gardening is all about. So, don’t let anything hold you back. I appreciate you taking time to watch
this video. Please subscribe if you haven’t already. And as always… Happy
Gardening! (Mother turkey with baby turkeys)

53 Replies to “My Mother in Law’s Inexpensive Raised Bed Garden – No More Poor Soil!

  1. For all the great information at our finger tips, it's now easier than ever to get a bit lost and over complicate. Thanks for helping remind everyone you do not need to be a scientist to be a gardener!

  2. Unbelievable how beautiful that vegetable garden looks. Healthy and plentiful. Great job buddy. Your mother in law is so blessed to have a son like you

  3. Looks awesome! Mahalo!🌻Thats so true I find sometimes where I plant say for instance beets it does well in one area & not another! Then we can like u say build up the area or bed!👍🏼

  4. Al,
    Is your raised bed boards treated lumber? Last time I checked, I believe they were using some sort of copper treatment to preserve lumber. I've considered treated, but am on the fence about it and would love to hear your thoughts on it. I decided against it this year going back and forth on it. I figured you've got more expertise than I do. Thanks buddy.
    Brent

  5. Hey Al,
    After seeing this, I have to ask, do you prefer growing in SIP style 'raised beds' or regular raised beds? Im not trying to compare all the container gardening you do around your place, I understand the benefits of that, but Im talking more along the lines if you have a plot of ground and you could do whatever you wanted, which style of bed would you put in?

  6. Great video of a well executed plan. We will likely build a small number of SIPs patterned after your design, but I noticed the clamps in this video at about the 1:25 mark. Would you mind sharing the type/model you used to keep the corners square while fastening everything together? Thanks for posting the comparison/testing and "how to" videos, they are exceptionally informative.

  7. Great video thank you for your time .what is other alternative then mushroom compost I'm having hard time to find mushroom compost .thanks again

  8. The zucchini looks very happy. I'm growing yellow squash in a raised bed. Getting ready to build. I'm trying out a similar mix, but I'm doing 1/3 Peat Moss 1/3 Vermiculite & 1/3 Compost. I hope mine do as well as your's.

  9. Great video! I really appreciate your attitude and the excellent advice in all of your garden videos. For 2017, how do you plan to refresh the soil for this particular garden? I have a SIP and a regular raised garden, and both need new nutrients this year.

  10. Great video Al! I love all the information you put out.

    I recently bought a home and am in the middle of converting an area that was once an above ground pool to a garden area for the family. The surface is almost all sand and pea gravel. On top of that sand and pea gravel the previous home owner put a thick layer of gravel. How would you setup a raised bed garden in this scenario? Thanks again!

  11. Isn't the cardboard kind of redundant? I know it's really common practice to do this, though. I know the soil alone would kill the grass. I figure it's going to compost pretty quickly anyways. I just wouldn't go out of my way for some cardboard if I didn't have any laying around (I would prefer not to use in case deep roots quickly form). I guess to separate the grass/grass seeds? I think with enough soil it might not matter they can't go through much depending on what's below. Good video, thanks – can't get much easier than wooden boards.

  12. Your a good son in law. Older folks need gardens to give them a good life it's really good for them now pick up canning .

  13. Very very Nice.. I like how things are organized/ I also understand the Urban Challenges but its proven in your videos It can be done beautifully. Question; How do you repel pest ? I didn't see NOT 1 Ant or Fly. Please say its something natural , Thanks for sharing

  14. Everyone should grow their own.
    Huge believer of home grown fruits and vegetables.
    Please watch our videos.
    My son and I are just getting started.

  15. Great video . Questions for you sir can you tell me if this okay to do put my box that that have a piece of floor that is all Ht wood so this box that I m trying to describe is like a crate more less with an open top can I like fill it with Pott mix , and start grow or do I need top solid as well ? What do you recommend thank you.

  16. So nice of you to do that for her. Thanks for the trellis tip..much easier to transport than cattle panels.

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