Building a Raised Bed Garden

Last year we grew some tomatoes and peppers in our butterfly garden. The plants produced will into December. Even though we like to travel quite a bit (meaning we’re not always here to harvest), I’ve been wanting a raised bed vegetable garden. I’ll consider it a community garden to be shared with neighbors during the times we’re away.

We have quite a few live oaks shading much of our yard (what a blessing in the Texas summer heat) so we picked a small area behind the butterfly garden that receives a lot of summer sun from morning to early afternoon.

I’ve been planning to write about the building process for my Practical Living category and have been taking a few pictures to share. We thought we’d be through with everything except the planting by now. Little did we know the interesting events that would interrupt our project.

During our mild Texas winter weather earlier this month, Jon and our youngest, Jonny, started the garden. Jon put down road base to help level the slope in the area and used bricks for further leveling. He purchased 2X6 for the bottom frame and 4X4 for the uprights.

The uprights are 6 feet tall because of our hoofed friends who like to eat just about everything. We plan to install fencing and a door to enter, to let us in and keep them out.

Jon and Jonny finished framing it with wood we had left over from the house. The total area is 8X8 with about 2 foot wide planter boxes and a walk-in area to access all the planters.

Then it was my turn. I treated inside the planter boxes with linseed oil since they would come in contact with the soil. And on the outside I used our Cider Mill outdoor stain we had left over from our patio.

We had hoped to fill it with dirt from the local rock and soil place before forecasted rain and cold moved in. We didn’t quite make it and this week the weather has definitely brought our project to a screeching halt.

Before Texas fell to the grip of what is typically northern winter weather (I moved to central Texas to escape the northwest Pennsylvania winters!), I brought every potted plant inside and Jon and I mulched and covered as many of our plants as we could in our butterfly garden. However, we’re afraid they may have succumbed to the elements during 0ur week of below freezing temperatures (and a night down to 6F). Our plants are meant to be heat and drought tolerant. Not freezing temperatures tolerant.

I have the sinking feeling that along with purchasing vegetables for the raised bed garden, we may also be replacing many of the plants in the butterfly garden. Hoping for the best, but also trying to manage my expectations. Spring will tell.

Until our beloved mild Texas winter weather returns, we’re hunkering down, dealing with power and water outages, dreaming of spring planting, and sort of enjoying the unexpected winter wonderland that’s come to visit.

About Jill English Johnston

God writes His story on every heart, if we only pause to read it. My heart has lived in a fantasy world since early childhood and am delighted that God has finally brought me to the place where I can bring the fantasies to life through story. I am currently working on a fantasy trilogy (of course) but I also post thoughts, reflections and (hopefully) inspiration to my website: tabletsofhumanhearts.wordpress.com I am a follower of the Rabbi Jesus, married to my best friend and inspiration, and the mother of three incredible children, one daughter and two sons, a son-in-love, a daughter-in-love and two adorable granddaughters. When not writing, I passionately pursue prayer, reading (never enough time to read them all!), and the outdoors. My husband and I both served in the US Navy and have lived/travelled through many states and all over Asia. We both still enjoy travelling, but we really love our home in New Braunfels, located at the Texas Hill Country.
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