The Suburban Garden Expirement

A vegetable garden can be a great way to save some money and become more self sufficient. Not to mention they can bring their owners hours of “fun” in the yard. We have lived in our current home for almost three years now and we have never had the time to start a vegetable garden. This year things are a little different and we have finally bit the bullet and decided to start working on a garden. With the weather in the southeast being as great as it has been this weekend I took the opportunity to build the first garden bed.

Our soil here is something akin to modeling clay, only harder. The best option you have is to create a raised bed garden or till and amend the soil you have.  I chose to create a raised bed garden as it would take an industrial strength tiller to get down 12″.  I have heard stories of people growing carrots that had left hand turns in them from when they hit the untilled earth. My ultimate goal here is to save money by growing my own vegetables, hopefully creating enough green beans and others to can and get us through the winter.  This is all new territory for me as I have never grown my own garden.


I chose to use untreated 2″ X 12″ boards, 12″ provides enough depth for the roots and is high enough to provide easy access.  The bed is 8′ long by 4′ wide I chose untreated lumber because there is a chance the chemicals used to treat the lumber could seep into the food. Probably not good for me. As you can tell from the above photo I had way too much dirt delivered for my one little bed.  I plan to add another bed this coming weekend and make use of the extra dirt. All told I am now into the garden for $127.00 so far broken down as follows:

$37.00 – 3 2″X12″X8′ boards + Exterior Grade Screws

$70.00 – 4 Bobcat Scoops of Topsoil

$20.00 – Delivery of Topsoil (Really miss my pickup truck)

It should cost me about $27 more to build a second bed, I already have the dirt so that should do it until I am ready to plant and get seeds. I will update again around that time.

{ 1 comment }

1 Matt SF March 9, 2009 at 3:52 pm

Good luck man! I think it’s good that you started small and kept it manageable on your first try.

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