Garden beds are ready!

It’s spring, it’s time to nest.  I even bought a new bird home – though I don’t know what species we have in Phoenix that could fit in this home entrance.

Raised garden bed corners are so convenient – these are 10″ deep and we bought them from Gardeners.com.  All you have to do is buy 2×10’s at whatever desired length and they slide right in (if you get the 10″ deep corners).  Amazing!  I wouldn’t recommend going much wider than 4′ since you want to be able to reach the middle from both sides of the box.  Of course our handyman Dennis helped.  A few trellis’ for the peas and tomatoes to cling to, and it looks like something else is nesting in our grapefruit tree.  It’s a dove nest.  Guess the birdhouse was too small.

So the garden beds needed someway to block out the weeds – the Bermuda and nut grass and so of course I asked Caroline if weed block even worked and she recommended after we ripped out the grass to add 2-3 layers of cardboard down because it’s free, eco friendly, and will decompose giving the soil nutrients.  We did about 4 layers – call me a weed hater because that’s what I am and so I was trying to be extra cautious.

For 3 – 4×4′ garden beds at 10″ deep, we had a mulch mix – dirt and sand mix essentially, delivered.  It was about a yard and a half is what they called it and cost almost nothing, I believe about $100 including delivery.  The delivery was twice as much as the mulch itself and when you buy that much, there’s no way you want to get it in bags.  You need it in bulk!  So at 7 a.m., Mr. Wonderful asked the guy in the dump truck to back up in our alley and dump it there. We got our mound of dirt from Preach Landscape.  About 4-5 wheelbarrow fulls filled each 4’x4′ raised bed.

I cheat, or more like, I’m efficient.  I bought the seed tape from Gardeners.com. Imagine just taking a trowel, making a line in the dirt and then laying down the strip.  Boom.  Done. Only $5.

Mr. Wonderful bought an electric lawnmower from Lowe’s.  This one Greenworks 13-Amp corded electric push lawn mower for $189.  It’s crazy that it has a cord, but he really wanted the cheaper one and it works as long as you get a 150′ extension cord.  It’s so quiet and he really likes it.  It works much better when I stand in the middle of the yard and hold the cord so it doesn’t get tangled.  It’s not exactly fun, but I suppose it’s the least I could do if he’s pushing the thing.

Tada.  Done.  We now hope to grow: cherry tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, strawberries, artichokes, carrots, lettuce, green onions, green beans, snap peas, red and green peppers and jalapeno.  Our herbs are in the raised herb boxes that divide out patio to the yard.  As for watering them, I bought two Raised Bed Snip-n-Drip soakers on a timer and secured them with Earth staples.

Tomato ladders and willow trellises, both from Gardeners.com.

Equipment used:  5D Mark III and 50mm/1.2 lens

Diana Elizabeth has allergies and kept sneezing and blowing her nose as she worked in the garden.  This is not a mutual loving relationship that’s going on.  Perhaps Zyrtec can help counsel the two.


Diana Elizabeth is an author, photographer, and obsessive antique shopper. You can typically find her in the garden wrist deep in dirt, at a local estate sale or planning her next epic party. She continues to blog weekly.

6 Comments

  • Mailinh

    Uh…talk about telling Martha to move over… ;) Diana: Love the garden and how it’s all coming along. You are a true trooper with your allergies. I would totally call it a day and stay inside. :)

  • Courtney Sargent

    Your backyard is south-facing right? How did you choose the location for the garden to ensure that all the plants receive the appropriate amount of sunlight? I’m trying to make a master plan for the backyard but I’m not sure where I should plant the garden. You know I’m not a skilled gardner! Help!

    • Diana Elizabeth

      Hi Court! You are correct, our backyard is south-facing. Basically with our desert heat, gardens would prefer the Eastern sunrise. So from sunrise to noon, then past that, it’d be great if it was shaded so they don’t fry during the summer. However, that’s not where our garden is situated – haha. It gets more 10:30 am to 4 pm sun, then the trees shade it for the rest of the day (so that helps). If you do raised beds, avoid the sun frying on all 5 sides of the box, it’ll just kill them. Since you just moved, watch the shadows of your backyard first to see what gets the early sun and can get shaded when it gets too hot. We only have to worry about this for summer, winter time is not much of an issue. You can also strategically plant trees to provide relief too but make sure the beds get enough sun so they can grow, as our case. I know your backyard faces North, they say not never put your garden facing North because it’s a freeze zone, but if that’s where you want to put it, I’d say just watch where the shadows are and don’t put your garden in that shade space (Dec 21 sun comes up SE, June 21 sun comes up NE). I’m no expert, just learning as I go but I took a class at Root Phoenix and learned a ton! We should take a few together ;)

  • Tim Poole

    Thanks for the timely (for me) article. I am getting ready to re-do my extremely plain and useless backyard. I was looking at raised beds but really didn’t know where to start. This is perfect.

    I wish Mr. W. better luck with the electric mower than I had. I always got tangled in the extension cord and ran over it cutting it in two several times.

    • Diana Elizabeth

      Hi Tim! Gotta love that! We didn’t use that side of our yard for much so we figured using that precious property for a garden made it worth having the space! Now onto the drip system!

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