Raised Bed Gardening Blog


Swiss Chard

Swiss chard should be a constant in your Grow Y'own or garden. Its similar to spinach, kale, and collard greens, has a crunchy stalk, and a lengthy nutritional profile. It is an excellent source of vitamins A,K,C,E, magnesium, manganese, potassium, and iron. Its a good choice for lowering cancer risk with its combination of minerals, phytonutrients, and fiber. It is a rich source of vitamin K, which is needed for production of osteocalcin (a protein important in bone and tooth mineralization). White chard is the most tender, but all varietals are delicious, Chard and kale are two of the easiest, most prolific, and longest growing vegetables. We had a chard 'hedge' and kale 'hedge' for over 3 years in our grow bed. Imagine how much money was saved in just chard and kale! You just pick the biggest outer leaves, and the center keeps coming and coming. It needs very little care, and thrives in almost any climate. This one's a complete no-brainer!

Visit our seasonal plantings page to learn more about what to plant in your raised bed.

Planting for Fall/Winter

I've already written about starting your Grow Y'own gardening any month of the year.

A list of things to sow for your Fall/Winter garden would be...

  • Sow in July: Beets, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, kale, parsnips, swiss chard
  • Sow in August: Arugula, cabbage, endive, lettuce, mustard, onions, spinach,turnips
  • Sow in September: Fava beans, carrots, peas, radishes, garlic ...and much, much more!

Learn about cold weather vegetable gardening.

Holy Basil

Basil is one of my favorite herbs. There are so many varieties to choose from and cook with, including Thai, African Blue, Lemon, Genovese, and Holy. The last is very important in India and Ayurvedic medicine. It has a spicy tang and is reminiscent of cloves. It supports heart, joint, vision, and skin health, and promotes optimal breathing. It also may help our natural defenses to counteract stress.  

I like to make up a big batch with garlic, parmesan, pine nuts, salt, pepper, olive oil, and of course, basil. When its ground and mixed up, I pour it into ice cube trays, and put it in the freezer. Then, whenever I want to cook something with pesto, I just pop out the appropriate number of cubes for the dish, and, Ooh Baby! I love it with shrimp and pasta, homemade gnocchi, or as a topping for bruscetta!.

Dr. Andrew Weil's Veggie List

Dr. Andrew Weil has come out with his 10 most favorite-to-stock veggie list, and they are:

  • Onions- for lowering cholesterol and blood pressure
  • Garlic- for boosting the immune system
  • Spinach- but ALWAYS buy organic due to pesticide spraying
  • Cabbage- protects against breast and prostate cancer
  • Sweet Potatoes- boost the immune system
  • Beets- help prevent heart disease
  • Squash- for overall health
  • Tomatoes- contain lycopene- a powerful antioxidant
  • Broccoli- for cancer protective benefits
  • Mushrooms- boosts the immune system

And also check out my blog on Modified Atmospheric Packaging!

See our Raised Bed Gardening Tips.

Food for Shelters

A very cool circle...

Recently, Grow Y'own and a gracious benefactor gave 2 grow beds to a housing project of 8 formerly-homeless older folks from the St. Elizabeth's Shelter, here in Santa Fe. GYO set up, planted vegies and herbs, put in an automatic watering system, and continues to monitor their success. After 3 months, they are not only feeding the housing project, but they are 'giving back' food, almost daily, to the St. E's shelter, and one other organization!   

Anyone interested in funding a similar project here in Santa Fe for other shelters, the Food Depot, impoverished youth, Many Mothers, the Teen Parent Center, Adelante org., schools, other groups, or deserving individuals or families, please contact Ken at GYO and we'll get them set up and growing their own local, healthy, food supply. Blessings, and together we can feed all those who have a hard time feeding themselves, healthy and vital meals!

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.