Raised Bed Gardening Blog


Let it Go, Let it Grow

Let it Go, Let it Grow!

The Covers are the Key! Its no-brainer gardening with a Grow Y'own. You can start planting your GYO any time of the year, and be successful. The myth of 'its too late to start' is just that! We plant 12 months a year with starts and seeds. The Summer covers let in 85% sunlight, yet keep out the heavy duty UV sun, wind, and critters. With this kind of protection, young starts and seeds have an ample opportunity for propagation and growth.

We have units in 27 states and British Columbia, and everyone is growing successfully- most year round! So don't go by what happens in 'outdoor' gardening beds. With a Grow Y'own, you can relax, and let the bed(s) grow themselves. We put everything on automated drip, there is virtually 0 weeding, and all you have to do is pick, and plant a seed when you pull a radish, carrot, beet, or whatever. Start now, and in 3 months you'll have paid for your bed, and will be eating free food for the next 20 years!

Irma Rombauer quote

A wonderful quote from Irma Rombauer... 'Food does not grow on the grocer's shelves, but that is usually where we first see it. Food comes to us as a result of much effort- a gift from God and man. The sun must shine, the wind must blow, the rain must fall, and the earth must be carefully prepared and tended before we can have the food we need to eat to be well'. 

Winter cover removal

Its May 13th, and its fine to remove your Winter covers, fold them up, and store them away in a safe spot, away from nibbling critters. IF there's a chance of a sudden drop in temps, or hail, you can put them back on till it passes. Otherwise, don't plan on using them again till late October or November.

For your Summer covers, tie them down every night so as to dissuade the nocturnal animals who want to do the most damage- mice, pack rats, squirrels, and rabbits. During the day, you can slide them up the hoops 1/2 way and clip them, to allow the beneficial insects and birds to come in and 'clean' house. Or, you can remove them entirely, and let the Spring sun and air boost their growing capacity. When the daily temps start to get blazing hot, leave your beds covered to some degree- either 1/2 clipped, up from the box about 3-4" clipped, or down. If you have the Deluxe Summer covers, you can open up either screened end and let the heat transpire out and the breeze in. Just make sure the strong winds aren't beating your little starts up. You can always close the flaps on the windward side, and open up the flaps on the leeward end.

World Food Waste

Experts are saying that 30-50% of the world's food is being thrown away! So concluded at the Reuter's Food and Agricultural Summit in Chicago. The National Resources Defense council says that the average American throws away 33# month, or about $40 worth. That works out to about 400# per year

Agriculture is the world's largest user of water, a big consumer of energy and chemicals, and major emitter of greenhouse gases during production, distribution, and landfill decay. Reducing waste is a simple way to cut stress on the environment, while easing pressure on farmers

Dana Gunders, a Sustainable Specialist at the NRDC, says, "No matter how sustainable the farming is, if the food's not getting eaten, its not sustainable, and its not a good use of our resources"

The US EPA said that 33 million tons of food waste hit the landfills and incinerators in 2010. Increasing composting could boost soil health and drought resistance, while also easing the burden on landfills, and reducing decomposition of garbage into greenhouse gas methane

All of the above great reasons to grow y'own in small, contained beds, using what you need daily, eating totally 'fresh' and 'live' food, stopping the transportation of food thousands of miles to your table, which weighs heavily on the carbon footprint, supporting your local farmers and ranchers, eating organically, using minimal amounts of water, and feeling that sense of empowerment- that primal feeling of 'gathering' , that growing your own food supply can bring to your life! 


Kale! It is among the most nutrient-dense of all vegetables. One cup is equivalent to 1327% of the Daily Value for vitamin K, 192% for vitamin A, and 88% for vitamin C. Laccinato kale, otherwise known as 'dinosaur' kale, because of its similarity to crinkled reptile skin, is one of the most nutritious because of its darker color. Its delicious when cooked in olive oil and garlic, chopped up, and put in pasta. Add some shrimp, and 'Whoa, baby'! Another great varietal is Red Bor Russian kale. I find this kind a little sweeter, but mixed together, they're an outstanding and healthful side dish.

Modified Atmospheric Packaging

Modified Atmospheric Packaging- MAP- or what's-on-our-organic-vegies-NOW!! A very informative article on what producers are coating our vegies with to make them last longer and look fresher. Check out:


It includes guidelines for REAL Healthful Food, including:

  1. Grown without pesticides and chemical fertilizers
  2. Not genetically modified
  3. Contains no added growth hormones, antibiotics, or other drugs
  4. Does not contain artificial anything, nor any preservatives
  5. Fresh
  6. Did not come from a confined animal feeding operation
  7. Grown with the laws of nature in mind
  8. Grown in a sustainable way

Ya just can't imagine what they're going to do to our food next?!?!

Water-wise Gardening

One of the main reasons I developed the Grow Y'own Raised Bed gardening system with covers, was to reduce the need for using excessive amounts of water to grow food. The covers keep the soil from drying out so rapidly, and the whole environment works like a terrarium- once you deliver water to the system, it stays in the bed, condensing upwards to the inside of the covers, and dropping, over and over. The need for watering is highly limited. We water most beds 5-10 minutes a day, with 6" spaced 1/4" laser lines. These emit very slowly, drop by drop. In the Winter, we water about once a month- only several gallons at a time for a 4x8 bed.    

Here in the Southwest, water is everything. Collecting it is vital, and should be done whenever possible. And, the Grow Y'own system is the best way to use less, and grow more!

The Organic Path

Whenever you choose the organic path, you're supporting a system of agriculture that provides for the health of the soil, water, air, farm workers and farm families, communities where farms are, and the health of the planet.

7 reasons to go organic, and grow your own food supply year round:

  1. Organic fruits and vegies are nutritionally rich
  2. Organic agriculture reduces our exposure to harmful pesticides
  3. Organic meat and dairy may contain more healthy fats
  4. Organic farming protects the environment
  5. Organic products are processed without hormones or antibiotics
  6. Organic foods don't contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
  7. Organic practices support animal welfare

So go organic. Stop the carbon footprint of shipping foods thousands of miles. Know your food supply- how it was grown, tended, watered, and harvested. Give the gift of food to others. Grow Y'own!!


Bulbs will be coming up here in Santa Fe this week. Time to start thinking about what you're going to plant this Spring and Summer.

Don't forget the bees!! Bees need flowers for sustenance, and flowers need bees for pollination, as well as your vegies and fruit trees. Here are some tips for attracting more bees to your home and garden...

  1. Plant native flowers
  2. Select single flower types for more nectar
  3. Set up a 'bee bath' for drinking water... a shallow  pan with pebbles to land on
  4. Use only natural pesticides and fertilizers...PLEASE!!
  5. Bees are attracted most to the colors blue, violet, purple, white, and yellow
  6. Bees feast on bee balm, cosmos, echinacea, snap dragons, foxgloves, and hosta in the Summer
  7. Best herbs to plant are chives, thyme, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, lavender, and basil
  8. Plant edible flowers, for yourself AND the bees... violas, violets, nasturtiums, bachelor buttons, johnny jump ups, and more.

Ask Bob and his great staff at Agua Fria Nursery in Santa Fe about more info on bee-utiful ways to attract our most important pollinators!

Winter startup

Its February. This morning it was 18 degrees here in Galisteo outside of Santa Fe. The nighttime temps ae slowly warming up, meaning that new starts and wintered over plants will have a better shot at taking off. Its definitely not too early to get some greens in the ground- tatsoi, pac choi, kale, chard, lettuces, spinach, arugula, claytonia, mesclun and sassy salad mixes, to name a few. You can get all these and more at Agua Fria Nursery in Santa Fe. And be sure to start 'airing out' your beds on these warm days in the 50's and 60's. Better ventilation will help control those unwanted early aphids, and will give the birds something to feast on!