How to start a raised-bed veggie garden
New gardener Reed Davis chronicles each step, misstep, and big juicy victory as he turns a small patch of soil into a bountiful vegetable garden
An avid cook and a vegetarian, Davis knows that a dish is only as good as its ingredients. That’s why he recently decided to plant his first edible garden, calling on friend Conor Fitzpatrick (creator of MinifarmBox raised beds) to help him through the process. On a sunny, narrow stretch of land, they installed Fitzpatrick’s modular boxes and then planted them, Davis taking notes and photographing each step along the way. In spite of some glitches—like squirrels eating the watermelons—the project’s success became abundantly clear within a few months. “I get so much produce out of the garden that it makes me giddy sometimes,” says Davis.
Each 4- by 4-ft. box can accommodate 5 or 6 low-growers. Davis mixes basil, crookneck squash, eggplant, peppers, and zucchini, plus taller tomatoes.
Adding a trellis to a 2- by 24-ft. raised bed allowed Davis to grow vining crops (beans, cucumbers). He puts big crops like artichokes at the side, places low-growers at the front, and adds flowers (such as calendula and marigolds) for color.
Step 1 (spring): Set up raised-bed boxes
We choose five cedar boxes from MinifarmBox (minifarmbox.com), and they click together, easy breezy. For each square box, we stack three 4-ft. square frames. Fitzpatrick custom-built a 2- by 24-ft. box to go along the wall, with a mounted trellis for vining crops.
This simple pizza was inspired by a trip Davis took to Italy—and by his bumper tomato crop. He makes his own crust; feel free to use your favorite recipe or store-bought dough, as we have here.
Recipe: Fresh Tomato Basil Pizza
Recipe: Easiest Garden Gazpacho