Raised Bed Gardening Blog

Blog

Water Catchment

Water catchment- another alternative for supplying your raised beds! 'Rain Vessels'- a new solution for insulated rainwater and greywater catchment and storage. Architecturally enhanced- blending with any building design, durable- able to withstand the elements and perform in any weather, and custom built to maximize your rain harvest needs. The base can actually be installed at-or-below frost line, so you can discharge water into pipes for the owner's intended use (such as to a yard hydrant) with far less chance of freezing. Sizes vary from 300-10,000 gallons in unlimited styles and colors. And there's no need for extensive excavation or heavy equipment! You can find out more at www.RainVesselsUSA.com, calling Bob Kreger at (505) 660-9391, or emailing him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Soil

FDR said, "The nation that destroys its soil, destroys itself". 

In raised bed gardening, soil is location, location, location. Its HAS to be correct for it to work. Our formula for the soil mix in our raised beds is 70 compost, 20% topsoil, sand, clay, and vermiculite. This mix allows water to penetrate deep down to the roots of plants, and does not 'pond' on top of the surface. We also add in Metro Mix 560, which is a blend of perlite, dolomite, vermicultie, coir, and crushed bark, to create more aeration. You always want to keep your soil mix light and unpacked. On top of the soil, we lastly sprinkle on Age Old Growth Root Rally and Grow granules, and gently work them into the top inch of the soil. This gives starts and seeds something to feed on immediately when transplanting or propagating. Its hard enough to enrich bad soil, easy enough to start with great soil, and irreparable to contaminate our growing medium with chemicals and pesticides. It totally defeats the purpose of raising an 'organic' garden, and then using horrible additives to make it grow quicker, prettier, and bigger. We are attempting to get to a point of feeding ourselves with crops that we, ourselves, grow- knowing how they were planted, watered, cared for, and picked. It is sustainability at the highest level. Using the purest water source that is available is the second part of the equation. Hoses that are not 'Eco' hoses- those which do not contain lead-, are not suitable for growing organic food. MOST commercial hoses DO contain lead, as well as 'soaker' hoses, which make the hoses more flexible. I have never talked to anyone who knew this! Look for the 'ECO' sticker on all products to be sure that they are safe. Water and grow your food organically, ever conscious that there are unconscious people who want to destroy our soil and compromise our health. 

Aphids

Aphids in your raised bed garden(s). The little buggers that can devastate your crops. How to deal with them... 

At the first sign of them, wash them off with a light hose spray. This will at least set them back till you can get some ladybugs or lacewings. You can order them on Amazon for about $6. I have found them to be the best, because they crawl all over the leaves of plants and eat voraciously. They will take care of your problem in usually a few days. Second is to use a soap spray such as Basic H2. The problem with the spray, or any other sprays such as cayenne or garlic, is that you really need to get underneath the leaves as well as on top. This is difficult and VERY time consuming. In the Wintertime, when your covers are tightened securely on your bed, an inoculation environment is created for them because of the warmer temps inside as opposed to outside. At all possible times, it helps to open your covers up, either partially, or completely, letting the fresh air and sunshine in, as well as the beneficial insects and birds, which will come in and take care of business. If any of your plants get too infected, then simply take them out, and replace them with new starts. 

Potato Gnocchi

Potato Gnocchi. Different than Gnudi, in that gnudi are made with fresh ricotta, and gnocchi are made with potatoes. I find the gnudi much lighter, and a great recipe can be found on my Grow Y'own facebook page with cherry tomatoes and fresh marjoram. To make gnocchi, put 1 1/2# Idaho or other baking potatoes in a large pot of water and cover with cold water. Bring the water to a boil and cook until the potatoes are easily pierced with a knife, about 20 minutes, then drain. When cool enough to handle, peel the potatoes and pass them through a potato ricer onto a lightly floured work surface. Using a fork, spread them out into about a 6 inch square to cool. Make a well in the center of the potatoes. Pour in 2 large beaten eggs, sprinkle on 1 1/2c flour, 1/2c freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, 2 tsps salt, 1/8tsp white pepper, and a pinch of freshly ground nutmeg. Using your hands, work from the outside edges, knead until the mixture is just evenly blended, adding flour by the 1/4c as needed, 3-4 minutes. Do not overmix or the gnocchi will become tough and gluey! Lightly dust your hands and the dough with flour. Form the dough into a log about 4 inches in diameter and sprinkle with flour. With a knife, divide the log into 6 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a cylinder about 1/2 inch in diameter. Cut into 1 inch pieces, put on a tray lined with waxed paper and dusted with flour, and set aside. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the gnocchi and, when the water returns to a boil, cook until they rise to the surface, 2-3 minutes, then cook for an additional 30-40 seconds, until tender. Remove the gnocchi to a large bowl with a slotted spoon and drain well. At this point, you can add the gnocchi to a variety of sauces- tomato, basil, sage/butter, parsley/buter-, and toss in a skillet over low heat until the gnocchi are well coated. Remove the gnocchi, sprinkle with Parm/Regg cheese, and divide the gnocchi among 4 plates and serve. Buon appetito!

No-brainer Gardening!

No-brainer gardening! Sometimes, you don't even have to water and your plants will keep growing in your Grow Y'own Hooped and Covered raised bed(s)! I just r&r'ed some client's bed yesterday outside of Santa Fe. I cleaned out all the dried crops from last year, turned the soil and pulled out all the fine roots, refertilized, replanted new starts- chards, kales, arugula, sorrel, lettuces, and herbs, watered, and closed everything back up. They already had young, mid-Winter green onions and sorrel coming up, and their herbs- marjoram, oregano, thyme, rosemary, were still green and ready to burst once again. He said that he hadn't even looked inside his bed since Thanksgiving, nor had he watered or given it any air! This was 2 months of no attention. Imagine what it would have been like if he had watered just once every month! To win the Lottery, you at least must buy a ticket. But with a Grow Y'own bed, all you have to do for success is simply get it started, and watch it go/grow!

Early Spring Setup

Even though its mid-Winter, you can get setup for early Spring growing now! With the pot and bulb heat system, you can plant organic starts from Agua Fria Nursery, and within one month be eating your first baby salad, and using fresh herbs. By March 1, your bed will be 'cookin', and you'll be 2 1/2 months ahead of everybody else. So why put it off any longer? I know it doesn't FEEL like gardening weather outside, but your extra effort to get going early will be a tremendous reward later on in the Spring!

Holiday Gifts

How it happened so quick I don't know?! It was JUST Thanksgiving, but yes, its almost Xmas! There is still plenty of time to get something you haven't thought of- like a gift certificate for a Grow Y'own! Even though its the beginning of Winter, you can start now and get a long jump on Spring. Or, if you'd rather wait for warmer temps, then either get setup now and be ready, or give a gift that will keep on giving for years and years. You can put down 1/2 now, and the other 1/2 upon delivery, whenever! Free Food- how can you afford not to? And if not for yourself, then how about donating one to a worthy organization like Many Mothers, one of the shelters, or someone else in need? As Maya Angelou put it:

'When we give cheerfully, and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed'.

May everyone be blessed this Holiday Season with good health, a warm place to sleep, and a hot meal of nutritious food. Happy Holidays everyone!

Hot Peppers

Harvests are in, and peppers have been canned! HOT peppers that is! Its the one thing that I KNOW I'm always going to do in the Fall. With more vitamin C than anything in nature, its a must to put them away and have them through the Winter when we're the most susceptible to colds and flu. Whenever I start to feel sick, I sit down and fire down a few blazing pieces until I get a good sweat going- inside and out! This year it was 9 different kinds of peppers, 2-3 different kinds of carrots, onions, garlic, and oregano, mixed with Sicilian Lemon olive oil and Tahitian Lime vinegar. It made a great looking Xmas mix, and jars will go to those who can withstand the heat. I called it Fuego Mercado, or Market Fire. Bottoms up!

Broccoli!

  1. Promotes a healthy nervous system. Broccoli is a good source of vitamin B2 (riboflavin), which can help calm and nourish nerve fibers.
  2. Supports bone health. Broccoli is a good source of vitamin K and calcium - both of which help keep bones strong and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
  3. Can improve energy, through its high levels of vitamin C.

The nutrients in broccoli may also help protect against cancer, heart disease, cataracts and birth defects, while promoting a strong immune system and supporting optimal gastrointestinal function. One of the healthiest ways to prepare broccoli is to lightly steam it, which can help to retain the nutritional components better than other methods, such as boiling.

This message brought to you by Dr. Andrew Weil!! We start our broccoli inside our Grow Y'own beds in March. By end of April, beginning of May, you can transplant them outside and get a 2 month jump on the season. Same with cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage. Why not be eating these vegies when others are just getting buds?!?!?

Swiss Chard 2

Swiss Chard! So prolific, and so good for you! This is another blog on chard after an earlier one I wrote. Just want you to keep in mind that it will be one of your biggest staples in your GYO beds. If you juice, then kale and chard are the things that will keep you in greens, year-round! Its SO easy to grow, and will more than likely have you trying to figure out what to do with it all. Friends, family, and your local food banks and shelters will be able to use plenty of your extra stash. Its loaded with vitamins and other minerals, and is a great choice to lower cancer risk. You can substitute it for spinach or collard greens, and the lighter the chard, the more tender, although all the varietals are delicious. Simple, simple to prepare. A little lemon, olive oil, and garlic will turn this wonderful green into something even more delicious. Plant it now for an abundant growing season!