The Upcycled Garden

Beds Filled With Soil & Topped With Compost

Many people love the joys that come with gardening.  Are you one of them?  Think about how many gardens you’ve seen in your life and what they looked like.  A little four foot by four-foot box, a 2000 square foot in ground garden with perfectly spaced rows, hydroponic setups, or raised beds perfectly lined up it looks like a surveyor laid out the beds.  Any way you look at it, people build their gardens to their satisfaction and that’s what makes every garden out there the right design.  If it Read More …

Crop Rotation in Raised Beds

One of the fallouts from the Alaska Master Gardener Online course has been an appreciation of crop rotation, yet another thing I haven’t been doing.   This is a bit of a planning / thought piece on how to set up a workable system.   What better time to do this than in the dead of winter? Raised Beds Many years ago, I constructed three raised beds in the lowest, wettest part of the yard, affectionately referred to as ‘the swamp’.   The goal was to productively use this part Read More …

Welcome To My Climatic Zone in the Matanuska Valley

My Climate I live in a subdivision in the middle of Palmer and Wasilla so all of my neighbors, including myself, have raised beds. One great benefit of raised beds is that they thaw much faster in the spring than frozen ground, so that means you can prepare and transplant earlier. Another reason raised beds work here is our ground is very rocky so it’s just easier to have a raised bed. The raised beds have better drainage, which is great for a rainy week. Benefit or challenge? I have Read More …

Easy Blanching for Winter Feasting

The Wonders of Food Preservation   As delicious as fresh produce straight from the garden can be, most of the time we hobby gardeners have too much to eat all at once, and we must choose what to do with the extra! Some give their surplus garden bounty away. The other day, a co-worker of mine offered to buy my extras from me. But the best choice in my mind is to preserve them for winter eating! There is nothing like the satisfaction of knowing I have a freezer full Read More …

If gardening brings me a bushel of peace–I’ll take it!

An unknown author reportedly said, “Gardening is cheaper than therapy and you get tomatoes.’ I appreciate this because I am a psychologist, however, it is truly my goal to be a good gardener.   I gardened with my father and mother when I was a child growing up in Colorado.   We had a very large rose garden and I learned how to prune them and prepare the plants for the Colorado  winter.   My father taught me the basics of gardening vegetables. As a side note, my father just Read More …

From Rubbish To Radishes

Growing up in rural Missouri, I never imagined myself ever living in rural Alaska and though there are plenty of differences, my childhood experiences have certainly prepared me for, even made me well-suited to, living off the Alaska road system.  I am the product of a Depression-era father and an East German Communist escapee mother which made for an interesting combination of conservatism and organic lifestyle that many long for these days.  We reduced, reused and recycled out of necessity before it came into fashion and we were taught it Read More …

Elevated Bed Revision

It seems the 2X2 cross pieces for the elevated beds in post 1, 2, and 3 were not quite enough to support the weight of a cubic yard of soil. I noticed that one was sagging badly on July 17th. I thought that I would have to look into that on Sunday afternoon when I got back to the church. Well by Sunday afternoon all of the squash plants were either buried under the soil that pushed out the bottom of the box or were sitting on top of the Read More …

Building an Elevated Bed (off the ground) Part 1 of 3

The beds I will build are actually 3 feet by 9 feet by about 9 inches deep and the tops of them are about 3 feet off the ground. This width lets you easily reach the center of the box from either side for planting, weeding, and harvesting. The height of three feet allows you to use a tall stool to sit on to do the chores required. Materials: (cost of the materials is about $130) (2) 2x12x12   construction grade pine, hemlock, or fir.           Read More …

Building an Elevated Bed (off the ground) Part 2 of 3

Safety Tip: Always wear safety glasses when working with tools that could make something “fly’ around. That actually means anytime your are using tools whether hand or power. You only have one set of eyes, protect them. Next cut 5 pieces of 2×2, 36 inches long. Be sure to clamp the 2×2 to the box before you cut. This is much easier than holding it and much safer even if you are using a handsaw. These will be cross supports for the box. Next we will cut the legs. Treated Read More …