When deciding how big a garden you need, 200 sq ft per person allows for enough harvest for everyone year-round. That meant we need 400 sq ft for us and we added another 100 sq ft for the chickens.

We decided on raised garden beds because our ground is full of rocks … anything from golf ball size to big boulders that the tractor could barely move. The thought of trying to dig 500 sq ft through rocks just wasn’t appealing. So raised beds it is!

First I designed the layout on graph paper.

Garden Initial Layout
Then we put stakes in the ground and tied them off with string to mark where the grow beds would be so we could walk through it in 3D to see how it felt.

Are the walkways wide enough?
Can I reach across the grow areas?
Is the garden situated on the property appropriately in relationship to everything else?
Test It With String and Stakes
Next we compared different materials for the build, priced everything and placed our order for delivery.

Because our area is known to have issues with termites, we chose metal for the grow beds and PVC for the framing to hold the enclosure.

Why an enclosure? To keep the birds and bunnies out but still let the rainwater in and the bees in to pollinate.

The materials were delivered and the build began in January 2021 … the metal grow beds went together pretty easily. We staked them with wooden supports to help hold them up until we put the permanent metal supports in place.
Building the Grow Beds

Once the grow beds were built we put up the PVC framework and attached poultry wire for the roof and walls. We didn’t use Hardware Cloth because the goal wasn’t to make it predator proof like the Hen House. We just need to deter the bunnies and birds from getting to the plants.

PVC Framework

Before laying down soil, we first put Hardware Cloth in the bottom of the grow beds to prevent the ground squirrels from digging up from underneath. Then we put down a layer of weed prevention cloth and a layer of plain cardboard.

Grow Bed Prep Before Soil


We compared getting a load of soil delivered to the cost of buying it in bags by the pallet.
If we had a load delivered it would have been dumped on our property in one big pile. We would have needed to shovel it into the wagon/wheelbarrow and then shovel it back out into the grow beds.
Where the bags we could tote in the wagon into the garden, place them in the grow area and rip open the bag in place to spread the soil.
We decided the little extra that the bags would cost us was worth it to not have to shovel the soil twice.
When we top off the soil in the future we may opt for having a load delivered because it won’t be as much as what was needed to fill the grow beds initially.


Soil Completed

The gate was installed. The following few weeks was spent chasing mourning doves out of the garden … not an easy thing to do … as many as 10 in 1 week! The only thing I could figure is that they were walking in through the gap in the gate and then couldn’t find their way back out. So I took some scrap hardware cloth from Hen House and filled the gaps in the gate. We haven’t had any visitors inside since.

Closed Gaps in the Gate

Then I took a copy of the original garden plan and started marking on it companion planting to figure out where each food item would best be placed.

Planting Plan

And the planting began in October 2021.

Planting Has Begun
Lettuce and Strawberries
Red Cabbage Broccoli and Cauliflower
Red Kale
Chili Peppers and Cilantro

It may seem like 9 months was a long time to get this completed but we only worked on it 1 day a week due our work schedules. We did all of the work ourselves. Some weeks we got rained out and couldn’t do any work. Other weeks during the summer when it was triple digit highs, we worked on it at night with lanterns to avoid the hottest part of the day. So it really only took about 6 weeks if we could have worked on it every day.


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