Growboxes! (First Garden Update for 2008)

Brandywine TomatoComing Soon to Kalyn’s Back Yard

Yesterday the weather in Salt Lake was sunny and in the 70s. All winter I’ve been looking forward to this time of year, and I vowed I’d finally get growboxes put into my garden. Long before raised bed gardening became rather trendy, my parents had what we called growboxes, and I’d wanted them, but they never rose to the level of “must have” on the list of home maintenance projects. When I mentioned I was definitely planning to get them this year, my generous and handy brother Mark offered to build them for me.

I shared updates about my garden on the blog in 2006 and again 2007, and I’m looking forward to writing about (and eating!) wonderful fresh garden produce again this year. What’s new with the raised beds (and the compost enriched topsoil which will be delivered on Friday) is that I’ll be able to grow more things from seed. My garden soil is rich but rocky and I’ve never grown many root crops or greens, although I have planted herbs from seeds. Because my garden has sprinklers all on one setting, I’m actually moving my tomatoes to beds on the side of my lawn, where I had some last year. This will let me have more vegetables and a bigger variety than previous years. If you’re an experienced gardener with recommendations for veggies to grow from seeds, please share your thoughts with me in the comments.

Mark started with a row of four boxes (4 feet by ten feet) going the length of the garden. Here the last box on the west is laid out, but stakes aren’t in yet.

Mark had the fabulous idea of putting a row of long thin boxes across the front for herbs. Some of my herbs didn’t make it through the extra cold and long winter we had this year, but I do have oregano, sage, thyme, and tarragon to transplant.

The first herb box is staked and finished. The rather scruffy looking plants you can see in the bottom corner of the photo are two of my herb plants seriously needing to be trimmed.

Here’s the wonderfully generous Mark posting for a photo. I love and appreciate him so much, and I’m so grateful I’m lucky enough to have such a great family!

Here’s a view of the finished project, with 200 square feet of growing space in the six growboxes. That’s a lot of garden, but I love growing things and giving them away to everyone I know. As you can see, the rest of my yard is looking pretty shabby right now, so I have a lot of work to do getting things trimmed and weeded. Stay tuned in the weeks to come for more updates about my new-and-improved garden.

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30 comments on “Growboxes! (First Garden Update for 2008)”

  1. They look super fantastic! I cant wait to see how it all grows.. re: grass… rip it out, put some of that good soil there too and grow lettuces!

    see this link for how other people are eating their lawns πŸ™‚

    Thanks for sharing your new garden beds πŸ™‚


  2. Yay, the garden’s coming soon! Lot’s of herbs and veggies to blog about and I’ll share with you later on bringing your herbs into the house so you won’t have to freeze as much or rely on dried…okay?

  3. Very nice! I am getting a new space myself this week, hopefully, but much smaller than yours. However, yesterday at the farmers’ market I could not resist and I have already bought some plants. Greedy me.

  4. First, I want your brothers — both Mark and Rand are so talented! Second — what are the boxes made of? Treated wood, cedar, pine? I’ve been thinking of doing something similar in a part of my yard that gets sun but has terrible soil, so I’ll be watching this summer to see how your garden grows.

  5. Wow – what a fabulous space for growing veg! I had the husband out helping me get our veg patch sorted this weekend, but in a 45 x 35 foot garden, a 10 x 3 foot veg patch is about all we can allot. Still, ambitions are high, peas and leafy greens are planted, and I’m looking forward to the eating (if not the weeding).

  6. I’m just looking for herb this summer as we seem to have a lot of travel planned.
    You have some really fabulous brothers Kalyn! That is the perfect way to do a garden.

  7. wow very impressive! you’re going to have tons of fresh veggies to share! πŸ™‚

  8. i am growing tomatoes too! just one pot though — can’t wait to see your progress!

  9. Thanks everybody for the nice gardeny thoughts. No seed suggestions?

    Nika, no way to tearing up the grass. I have more garden/flowers than I can take care of already. Not to mention that my garden is huge enough. Lettuce doesn’t grow well here anyway, it gets too hot too fast.

    Lydia, the beds are made from treated wood of some kind, relatively inexpensive compared to redwood. I’ll find out just what it is from my brother.

    I am jealous of you guys who have plants already, or even more jealous of those who have things planted. I have a few weeks of hard work before I can do much planting. I’m guessing my car will be spontaneously turning into the garden center after work some nights this week though.

  10. BTW, forgot to say, I also have a great brother named Dave and several brother-in-laws who also help me a lot. My sister-in-laws and sisters are also great. Yes, I do feel very lucky.

  11. simply beautiful. how lovely you are able to grow your very own tomatoes!!! best of luck with the rest of the growing season.

  12. Wow what a great garden! I miss my garden in Calgary, and I’m looking forward to putting one in our new backyard.
    Can’t wait for your garden updates this year!

  13. you should check out square foot gardening… it looks like you’re going in the right direction, and i’ve heard great success stories from it!

  14. Love your growboxes! I am still only starting my garden, so all good gardening tips are handy!
    I spent about 2 hours planting various seeds into seedling containers (it will be another few weeks before it’s warm enough to plant anything outside). Herbs, lettuces (incl. pakchoy), artichokes, tomatoes, various radishes. I’ll wait with peas, beans, beets and onions until I can sow them straight outside).

  15. A post that smells Spring so much. Thanks for it, cold and rain we’ve got now in France is so depressing.

  16. Yes, I had forgotten about square foot gardening. Will check into that for sure. Pille, great suggestion for Bok Choy! Also I was excited when you mentioned radishes. I’ve never been able to grow them with the rocky soil. That’s probably one of the first things I’ll plant!

  17. OH, those grow boxes look promising for many vegetables this summer. Our Houston winter was mild and I got to set out my tomato plants in February. I have 3 tomatoes and a pepper already. I am excited and always count at first to keep up with the production of my backyard garden==9 tomato plants, 3 peppers, okra and herbs. Have fun gardening.

  18. When we moved back to California from Holland a year ago, we wanted to continue to ‘eat our lawn’ as we had in Holland. My husband took out all of the lawn(and weeds), made raised beds, and planted many vegetables. We are now eating the salads and smiling as we savor the delicious taste. We also have a dwarf citrus tree in front of each box, and herbs around the boxes.So lovely and not one spot of ground wasted. We sit on the patio by the pool, watch the hummingbirds in their garden section, and enjoy life as it should be, chemical free and using what God gave us to the best advantage.

  19. You’re going to LOVE them! πŸ™‚


  20. Am so jealous you have a real ground to work in. Container gardening is much more restrictive, and I don’t have much luck with veggies other than herbs.

    Looking forward to updates as the season preogresses…

  21. Veggie gardens rock! Raised or contained beds are truly so effective when growing vegetables, even if this looks like a load of work πŸ™‚

  22. I’m really looking forward to reading updates about your garden through 2008. Never mind the picket fence, I harbor a not-so-secret desire to some day settle down long enough to have a backyard/patio/window box/anything garden. Until we settle down some place for longer than a year (which in no way could happen before summer 2009 :(, I’ll just keep dreaming and gaze longingly at your photos. Thanks for sharing!

  23. Wow! You are so lucky Kalyn! I am desperately trying to grow veg on my small London balcony. It’s tricky!

  24. Very nice Kalyn! I’m looking forward to hearing and seeing more!

  25. Yay for gardening posts. And yay for such an awesome brother! I’ve been thinking of making boxes for my garden too so I’ll be interested in seeing how yours turns out.

  26. I really like the way the boxes are laid out, Kalyn. You’re on your way to happier gardening! And cheers to you for having such a dedicated brother.

  27. I’d love to have grow boxes, but alas the condo people won’t let me. Not even sure if I can do a container garden πŸ™

    Was looking into planting herbs in the front garden (which I do have some control over), but apparently the soil is too rich.


  28. Hey, thanks for hitting my Dutch Oven blog.

    Just this last week, we decided to make some “growboxes”. We got the book on “Square Foot Gardening” and got excited. In fact, on the way home from that DO event, I bought the vermiculite to mix into the soil.

    And, of course, being a cooker, I’m going to follow your postings on the homegrown herbs with fascination!


  29. I noticed you said the boxes were made out of treated wood. Since this wood usually has chemicals in it is it safe? Also did you put anything on the bottom before putting in the dirt? I just dug my garden up myself and it is a job. couldn't get anyone to rototill it.

  30. The wood is treated with something to make it last longer outdoors, but I'm sure it's safe. There is nothing under the box, just dirt.

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