Building and planting next year’s garden

Posted on September 13, 2016 at 6:00 am

By David Wyatt

Earlier this summer when it was still scorching, I fenced off a portion of our yard to keep our new raised-bed garden out of reach of our two mutts. The dogs were not pleased to have lost some of their lawn. Too exhausted from the heat to do any more, I took a break to collect my thoughts and plan the next step.

The Library District has lots of new books on raised-bed gardening that, as a gardening newbie, I have found very useful. The digital content found through the library resource Hobbies & Crafts Reference Center has helpful DIY projects like this and many others.

Maybe I learned from my mistake of tackling this outdoor project during the hottest days of summer, since I plan to tackle the completion of my raised-bed garden in the fall when I won’t risk heat stroke. And now that I’ve had a few weeks away from the project, I realize that fall is closer than I’d like to think and garden planning for the next year is upon us. Here’s a list of some titles that have proved helpful for creating, planning, and planting a raised-bed garden.


Raised Bed Revolution by Tara Nolan

This book has a decent photo gallery of raised beds and plenty of interesting ideas on the various materials and styles. I certainly had a fixed idea of what a raised bed should be, but this book really opened up the options, from reclaimed wood frames to steel troughs. This is a fairly comprehensive guide from start to finish and has plenty of photos to both illustrate and inspire.


Raised-Bed Vegetable Gardening Made Simple by Raymond Nones

A concise little book, illustrated sparingly, gives detailed instructions on building and more importantly planting your raised bed. He focuses especially on crop rotation, planning, and mixing of helpful plants. I was pleasantly surprised that my planned, but uninformed, three-bed garden with 8×4 foot beds was the model Nones came to after far more thought than I put into it. In addition, the author also marks off 16-inch modules in each bed to facilitate rotation. Nones also suggests the hard work of double digging and soil preparation for fall.


Raised-Bed Gardening: How to Grow More in Less Space by Simon Akeroyd

This book is heavy on the pictures and illustrations. It does include some good information if you want to construct your raised bed out of brick, collect rain water, or assemble a composter from pallets. Many of the other projects are less utilitarian and not really a top priority for me but are projects aimed at a more decorative garden. If you want a formal pond in your raised bed garden though, this book has you covered.


Heirloom Plants: A Complete Compendium of Heritage Vegetables, Fruits, Herbs & Flowers by Thomas Etty & Lorraine Harrison

If you have moved on to planning your garden, this is a nifty guide to heirloom plants. What grabbed my attention was the binding and attention put into the actual construction of the book. This book feels like it would be part of your grandparent’s gardening library. Nostalgia though is not its only appeal. The text has useful descriptions, illustrations, and care tips for heirloom plants. If you are interested in these varieties, the District has seed lending libraries currently at Cheney, North Spokane, Otis Orchards, and Spokane Valley Libraries.


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