How to Make a Raised Bed Garden

Hi! How was everyone’s weekend? Mine was awesome, despite a little jaunt over to urgent care (yay allergies, asthma and some nasty bronchitis thing that I have). The weather was sublime, the pollen wasn’t THAT bad, there were a few parties to go to… yup pretty good stuff all around. I also got to work in my vegetable garden, aka the backyard farm.

So remember (ages ago) when I first started talking about creating a veggie garden? And more specifically a grow-your-own-food, I’m gonna try to be a farmer because I already have CHICKENS for god’s sake, kind of garden? Yes, I had grand ideas. I wanted to feed my family from the vegetables that I grew. Show my kiddo how he could grow food, with just a little bit of work, dirt and love. Be the kind of farmer that my 93 year old (still farming) grandfather would be proud of.

But the first year that we lived here I started gardening WAY too late. My husband built me some fabulous planters, but it was mid July before I got anything into the ground.  I went to a local nursery (instead of a box store) for my plants, got some good advice and tried not to get too big and crazy in my ideas. I tried to K.I.S.S because really, I had no idea what I was doing. However, despite my COMPLETE idiocy when it comes to planting, I still managed to have some delicious lettuce, strawberries and herbs survive. Success!!

So I got excited. Like, SUPER DUPER excited. And so, feeling so smug and superior, I decided to grow my plants from seed last year. Seeds that were NOT that cheap (being non-GMO and heirloom and all fancypants) and took a LOT more time and energy and that the birds ate most of. It was depressing to say the least. But, I persevered and replaced the eaten seedlings. I bought more plants. I created my backyard vegetable garden. What I didn’t notice that I was doing? Cramming the same little raised beds with a LOT more plants.

And so even though I had installed microdrip for my little veggie babies, and fertilized and loved and nurtured… Guess what didn’t survive?

So I got a little more realistic this year. I read a little bit more, I researched, I started EARLY. And I got more room. In fact, I got a LOT more room.

Enter, the Tiller

We have a goofy kind of area in our backyard that was a breeding ground for dirt, weeds, and not much else. It was SUCH an eyesore if our gate was open and we lamented how ugly it was, while not really doing much about it. It just seemed so daunting. I mean, what were we going to do with it?

God, it’s too ugly for words

Enter an overzealous wife who, while on a budget, knew that she could make something magical over there in that ugly little dirt pile… just give me some cinderblocks and some dirt and watch me work my magic.

I give you… my backyard vegetable garden, aka, The Farm.

How to make raised beds

If you have the space, working with cinderblocks is incredibly easy. They were inexpensive, about $1.30 a piece and Home Depot loaded them up in my truck for me. While breaking up the existing dirt with the tiller and leveling out the side yard was a little bit of a bitch, getting to play in the mud and make something with my hands was pretty damn fun. You should try it sometime.

So we transformed the eyesore side yard into three, amazing planters, FULL of veggies that with enough sunlight, space and water are thriving. Like, really and truly THRIVING. I have chard coming out of my eyeballs, zucchini plants that have erupted from the ground like beautiful yellow and green volcanoes, fava beans, strawberries, lettuce… it’s like I have a farmer’s market in my backyard. And even though there has still been the requisite, well sh**, that didn’t work… I’m learning. Good fertilizer, attention and lots of water makes for an excellent backyard vegetable garden.

Maybe I really do have farmer’s blood running in my veins.


  1. says

    Pinned this! I love the simple idea of using cinderblocks to create the vegetable planters. I'm growing tomatoes this year, and by "growing" I mean that I bought a tomato plant from Costco and I'm watering it every day. I would love to try more next year. I wonder if it's too late to try strawberries this year?

  2. ItsaFitting says

    It shouldn't be too late, especially since you can find starters that are pretty far along. Give it a whirl! They just need a good amount of sun to make yummy, juicy sweet berries. DO IT!

  3. lauraloutloud says

    I'm dying to have a vegetable garden! I have two things working against me- my black thumb, and our only outdoor space is a cement patio. I love the cinder block idea- that might actually work in our space! I know it's too late for this year, but maybe next year I can pull it off, just like you did. Your garden looks AWESOME.

  4. says

    Those look so great! I also pinned it too. We just planted a couple of things too but a rodent keeps eating my tomatoes! Boo!

  5. ItsaFitting says

    GAH – rodents suck. I can't believe your doggies aren't keeping them out! They have this great product called liquid fence that is organic and all natural but keeps out those nasty pests. Keep them out of your tomatoes! Little shits.


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