Raised Bed Garden Extension with a fence, hail protection, 14 new raised beds, cattle panel arches, and a new stand-alone greenhouse.
Winter is just around the corner and we currently have snow on the ground. As such, I now have some time to sit and share with you our Raised Bed Garden Extension. This past spring and summer was hectic to say the least. We ploughed on to finish the outstanding vegetable garden infrastructure that we had started in the fall/autumn but ran out of time to complete. It was hard work and I had less time for planting. That said, in the end, it was all necessary and time well spent.
Total Raised Bed Garden Space
We started with 6 raised beds in a 40 feet x 30 feet unfenced area. Now, we have a total of 20 raised beds plus 2 galvanized tanks in a fenced area of 56 feet x 48 feet. We also added a 12 feet x 12 feet stand-alone greenhouse cottage garden attached to the main garden. Together with our Terraced Vegetable Garden, we should have sufficient planting space for now.
Lower Raised Beds
While I love my counter height raised beds, I realized that I needed lower raised beds for plants like squash, melons, and corn. I can now grow plants that take up a lot of space with these 14 lower raised beds and cattle panel arches. Those counter height raised beds with corrugated polycarbonate walls will be used to grow tender and leafy vegetables. Such vegetables require more protection from the fierce winds we get here in the high plains.
I really like the idea of a “living fence” and thought of growing espalier apple trees between the 8 foot posts erected for hail protection. Unfortunately, that will impede access into the extended garden and so we opted to plant them by the east fence instead.
Building Boxes For The Raised Bed Garden Extension
Ro-Ri San started building 8 feet x 4 feet boxes in the barn in early April while it was still cold and windy outside. These fully built boxes were quite heavy and difficult to take over to the extended garden area.
Then, Ro-Ri San decided to construct only half of each box in the barn and complete the installation on site. These made them a lot easier to handle.
Cattle Panel Arches
The first phase of our project was to build eight raised beds for the north side of the garden. Once the installation was completed, I immediately line the base of each raised bed with cardboard boxes and ½ inch x ½ inch steel mesh. Since we did not till the land and remove the weeds, the only way to kill the weeds was to deprive them of sunlight with cardboard. The steel mesh is to prevent squirrels, voles, and like animals from burrowing into the boxes.
Before filling the boxes with soil, I decided that I wanted some cattle panel arches so that climbing plants have support. Talk about project creep! 😉 Fortunately, we have a flatbed trailer that we could use to transport those 16 feet panels. Installing them was a little bit of a challenge but once they are in place, they stay put.
Galvanized Stock Tanks
There is a space at the northwest corner of the extended garden. We purchased two of those 6 feet x 2 feet stock tanks last year for the orchard but they were out of place there. We brought them over and they fitted nicely in that corner space together with other smaller galvanized tubs.
More Boxes For The Raised Bed Garden Extension
The second phase of this project involved building six 6 feet x 4 feet boxes for the west side. This time, instead of cattle panel arches, I opted for 2 x 4 inch horse fencing support like the one in our Terraced Vegetable Garden.
Internal Fence, Hail Protection, and Landscape Fabric
From the pictures, you would have noticed that the internal fence and hail protection similar to that in the orchard are already up. We managed to erect those in the fall/autumn of last year. After setting up the boxes, it was a painstaking job to line the entire area with thick cardboard boxes and landscaping fabric. We did not want to keep weeding and cutting grass with a weed wacker. This also kept the place clean and much more pleasant to work in.
Let The Planting Begin
It was already June when we finally completed the project. Whenever I had time, I transplanted the seedlings I had started in the sunroom. Initially, they had the same wind problem we encountered in the original 6 raised beds. It got better as the season progressed as the winds became less fierce. Also, the cattle panel arches, hail fabric, and growing corn stalks provided some protection against the winds. The west side which gets the full blast of the winds did not do as well. We are planning to put up shallow polycarbonate walls in the spring for the 6 boxes so that the plants there will get some protection.
We also got the county to help us plant 3 rows of windbreaks. The outermost row consists of hardy native plum and chokecherry bushes. The middle row is populated with spruces and the innermost row has Ponderosa pines. These will take 10 years to grow to a fair size but we have to start somewhere. Hopefully, by then we will have a micro climate on this windswept land of ours.
Stand-Alone Greenhouse For The Raised Bed Garden Extension
Did you think we were going to stop there? 🙂 I mentioned earlier that I had started seeds in the sunroom and it wasn’t exactly ideal. There were seedlings everywhere. I even purchased 2 portable greenhouses for the big greenhouse next to the barn and started some seeds there but there wasn’t exactly sufficient sunlight. So, we decided to set up a stand-alone greenhouse for that purpose.
Foundation For The Stand-Alone Greenhouse
By now, the guys are pretty handy at DIY projects. We ordered a small greenhouse kit that was only 81 inches x 93 inches. Over one weekend, Ro-Ri San and Ro-Jiro got the greenhouse up! They started with the foundation so that it can be properly secured to the ground. Ro-Ri San used two layers of 4×4 to build the foundation staked in with 12 inch rebars.
Erecting The Greenhouse Walls and Roof
Next, they erected the frame and lower walls of the greenhouse. The frame was then secured to the foundation with 8 inch structural wood screws. Then, they put up the roof which was quite challenging.
Finally, we lined the inside and outside of the greenhouse with cardboard boxes and landscaping fabric topped with crushed granite for the floor.
The Inside Of The Stand-Alone Greenhouse
Did I tell you that Ro-Ri San is getting more and more handy with DIY projects? 😉 For the inside of the greenhouse, he built me a beautiful and rustic potting bench using scrap wood. While he was at it, he built me another potting bench for the Raised Bed Garden Extension area. He also put up some shelves for potted seedlings and plants. On moving day, I transferred the portable greenhouses from the big greenhouse to this one and here they will stay permanently, at least for now.
Similar Tools Used in This Raised Bed Garden Extension Post
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Dewalt Atomic 20V MAX* Circular Saw, 4-1/2-Inch
Black & Decker Corded Drill, 5.5-Amp, 3/8-Inch
Makita XFD12Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 1/2″ Driver-Drill
Metal Roofing Screws: (250) 10 x 1″ Galvanized Hex Head Sheet Metal Roof Screw.
Fencer Wire 14 Gauge Galvanized Welded Wire Mesh Size 2 inch by 4 inch
4×4 Aluminum Pyramid Post Cap Cover (Black 8 Pack) Fits 4×4 Nominal Wood
36″ Heavy Duty 4×4 Fence Post Anchor Ground Spike Metal, 8 pieces
48′ x 100′ 1/2inch Hardware Cloth Galvanized Welded Cage Wire, 19 Gauge
Mitef Anti-aging Orchard Anti-hail Netting, 26.2x50ft
Dewitt P3 Pro 5 Landscape 5 Ounce Weed Barrier, 3 x 250 Feet (2 pack)
This is what the Raised Bed Garden looks like in the winter months.