This year we considered building a raised bed garden. It seemed like a great idea because you can plant more per square foot. It’s sort of like planting in a container. After figuring the cost of the wood and the soil we decided a traditional garden would serve our purposes and save quite a bit of money.

Once you know what kind of garden you want you need to decide how to get that area ready for planting. If you decide on a traditional garden I’d recommend borrowing a tiller and someone who is familiar with the operation of one. If you do this, or rent a tiller, I’d recommend making sure there are no large rocks, underground pipes, or anything else that might end up ruining your day. Double digging is another option, but it is quite labor intensive, especially if you want a larger garden.

My dad tilled my garden. He had to go over it several times to break up the sod. We didn’t plant anything last year and the grass really started to take root and fill in the area.

Another consideration is whether or not you need a fence. With two large dogs we decided a fence would be a good investment. I’m sure they could do a lot of damage in a short amount of time. We found some rather inexpensive fencing and used fence stakes to hold it in place. It took literally minutes to set up.

I had planned my garden layout in great detail earlier in the season. I failed to factor in my daughter’s graduation party and the need for quite a large tent to cover everyone in the event of inclement weather. In order for the tent to fit in the yard I had to alter my original plan, but it worked out nicely. I also did not plant everything I intended. My dad planted cabbage, and he has a much larger garden. Large vegetables such as heads of cabbage take up a lot of space.

We ended up with 4 zucchini plants, 12 pepper plants, 12 tomato plants, pole beans, lettuce, and spinach. I may see what else I can tuck in here and there. You want to make sure your plants are well spaced, but you don’t want to waste any space either.

The next step for me will be beautifying the garden. Sometimes when you till you have to go outside of the original boundaries to turn around and to avoid shrubs or other things that might get in your way. This happened to us and allowed for the potential of flower beds on either side of the garden. I also intend to mulch the perimeter to alleviate the need for grass trimming around the fence. If you don’t lay black plastic down before you plant, which is an excellent option to cut down on weeding, keep the soil warm and retain more moisture, you can always make a path through your garden with boards or stepping stones.

Be sure to check back for updates. What are you planting in your garden?