raised bed. Hi there garden groupies, Yvonne Scott, AmericorpsVISTA, from Wolfe County Grow Appalachia. It’s been an interesting week for me, having the opportunity to get out with some of our families as a group. One of our families lives directly across from the Extension Office and has a large garden. It was the ideal location to demonstrate some of the soil management techniques we talked about in my presentation “The Real Dirt on Soil.”

Like many gardeners, my families are not accustomed to the idea that there is a much richer and more abundant life form below ground than above ground. Teaching them the importance of mycorrhizae fungi and beneficial bacteria and other microbes plus explaining the way plants really get their nutrition and water was eye-opening. Needing to take the eye-opening to a higher level, our group headed across the street to build something unusual (for them at least):  raised rows. Once we got the fabric weed barrier on, we got one tomato planted to show how to cut the fabric in an X or H, lay the tomato in a shallow trench (with some crushed eggshells) and then mulch around it.

DSCN0518 DSCN0520DSCN0529There were lots and lots of questions as to why we do this. None of my families had used raised rows before and didn’t understand it’s benefits. Our hostess reminded us of the heavy clay soil in her garden and the possibility that her low-lying garden may flood from time to time so I asked: will raised beds be helpful in either of those situations? My heart went pitter pat when hands went up. No clay soil in the raised row to contend with and raising up the bed will keep it out of the standing water and help it stay dryer. YES! They can see why this is beneficial. Plus the cardboard covered footpath idea with wood mulch to inhibit weeds was a big selling point. Cardboard is free and so are wood chips from the road right of way work. I like cheap to free!

I love raised rows and one of our families is getting a couple of raised beds, inexpensive to build but functional I hope for the entire year. With the assistance of my new helper, Garrett, we were able to fill one of the beds before the rain started. Great timing on the part of Mother Nature.DSCN0542DSCN0544


Nearly finished with one. We’ll be back on Monday to fill the second one and bring tomato plants and peppers for these beds. It’s very satisfying to have the funds to create a growing space where it was impossible to garden otherwise. Can’t wait to see plants filling these boxes very soon.