Raised Bed Gardening Blog


Many Mothers

   'Nearly all of us receive our first lessons in peaceful living from our Mothers'  The Dalai Lama

   Many Mothers is a Santa Fe-based organization which strengthens communities by providing free-of-charge, vital support and services at the pivotal time when a new baby joins a family. Part of the program- which I have been so fortunate to be a part of for 3 years- is to give a raised bed garden-complete with delivery, setup, planting, drip system and instructions for use- to over 28 Mothers and their babies. This allows the Mothers and their families, the freedom to spend more time with their children, access to organic and local food, and the relief of spending their funds, which can then be used for other early-life necessities. The gift of the free gardens was created by a wonderful benefactress who wanted to share, and to enable young Mothers to spend precious time with their newborns. Since then, others have contributed for more beds, and the program grows and grows with Grow Y'own's! More information about Many Mothers can be found at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or by calling (505) 983-5984. 

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

Hand-forged Gardening Tools

Valentine's Day gardening ideas. How about a beautiful, hand-forged garden tool for your mate? 

G A R D E N S in the Santa Fe Railyard Complex has Shehan Prull's trowels- with ash and cherry wood handles, and HERS shovels- hergonomically designed specifically for women. Either, or both!, would make wonderful surprise gifts, and both are going to give a lifetime of use and pleasure. With 17 days left, doggone the panic is on! Contact rwrlink@gmail.com to order yours today, before its too late! You can also check out www.greenherontools.com for more info on HERS. 

Gardening for Stress Reduction

Stress, who's stressed? A lot of times, we don't even realize how stressed out we are, but our body does! Those sudden pains and aches that you can't explain throughout your body, shortness of breath, lack of concentration. All can potentially be attributable to stress. For supplemental relief, you can try Mega B stress complex, more Omega 3 in your diet, Valerian, Cal/Mag, St John's Wort, or L-Theanine tea. As well, breathing exercises, nature walks, or meditation, can really calm things down. But the wonderful, all-pervasive, long-lasting, stress-buster is gardening in your raised bed(s). Digging your hands into that primal soil growing medium, quietly attending to your plants by trimming, watering, and picking, being out in the sunshine and breathing fresh air, and knowing that your efforts are going to be greatly rewarded when you eat food that you have grown and cared for yourself. Ah, its a simple wonder that's free and there for your taking! So just pull the trigger, and start to Grow Y'own!!


A quote from 'The Juicing Bible' by Pat Crocker....

'Juicing plays a major role in ensuring a healthy diet by making it easier to consume the recommended 5-8 daily servings of fruits and vegetables. One large glass of pure, raw, fresh juice per day will help improve the immune system, increase energy, strengthen bones, clear skin, and lower the risk of disease. For maximum benefit, it is wise to consume a wide variety of juices from different types of organic herbs, fruits, and vegetables. Be sure to incorporate juices into a well-balanced, high-fiber, whole food diet. Extracted juices should not completely replace whole fruits and vegetables since their fiber is important for eliminating toxins and preventing some forms of cancer.'

   One client of mine has 4 raised beds, and she grows strictly chards, kales, arugula, and spinach, so that she can juice 3 times a day, and rotate her 'pickings'. We regularly juice carrots, celery, apples, pears, ginger, lime, Chinese salt, and almond milk into an enlivening breakfast smoothie in our Breville juicer. Mostly gone, but definitely not forgotten, are the days of the heavy Champion juicers, which supplied many of us with our 'breakfast-of-Champions-morning-supplement' drink. Any way that you can juice it, it is an essential way for us to stay healthy, using the prolific greens from our raised bed gardens!


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..


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 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!