A few weeks ago I told you about the Greenland Gardener raised bed system. It consisted of several composite boards that could be put together using specially made corners also made from composite lumber. With composite materials you don't have to worry about the materials breaking down which is a huge advantage over typical lumber. If you read my previous post on the Greenland Gardener raised beds you probably remember the basics of the raised bed kit. Overall the system was OK and the idea good but I had some issues with boards that were not properly routed out. Something that I think is really good about the system they've devised - there is a simple way to plan and plant the vegetable garden. They've devised a clever seed planting kit (that retails for 14.99 at Amazon) that may be just the thing for new gardeners.
The planting kit comes with two pieces of fabric with appropriately spaces holes for planting certain kinds of seeds. Pictures on the fabric make planting the seeds that come with the kit very easy. It also instructs you to plant a certain number of seeds per hole (which I find unnecessary in my seed planting, I'll just replant later if I need to fill in a space.) and instructs the gardener to plant the seeds to the proper depth. The seed planting kit pretty much takes all the guess work out of the garden. The hole spacing is what makes this system extremely useful. All the seed planting holes are spaced out just right to fill up the bed.
The kit came with two garden plans, one a regular vegetable garden and the other a salsa garden. I went ahead and planted both gardens as the instructions instructed. I made one adjustment to the salsa garden and planted an extra tomatillo seed where the red tomato seed was supposed to be. With over 16 other tomato plants already planted in my garden I really didn't need all three plants the kit would have produced.
I think this would be a good first step garden to teach young gardeners (kids) and even beginning adult gardeners. My first of three criticisms is that the plants may not all work at the same time. Take the cilantro for example. I planted it to see how it would do but all my other cilantro plants are bolting this time of year and won't germinate new seedlings until fall (more northern climates may not have that issue). My second criticism is that there really aren't enough seeds to replant again next year, not if you follow the instructions. My last criticism, which is very minor, is that I like to know which variety of vegetable I'm planting. If a vegetable is an heirloom or an F1 I like to know. I want to know if it's a 'Brandywine' or a 'Better Boy'. I test and see what does great in my garden and what doesn't, then adjust my garden game-plan accordingly. These vegetables aren't labeled with variety names, simply Red Tomato or Yellow Tomato. That's not enough for me but it's a good starter garden. As a gardener grows in experience he or she always wants to know more, that's what makes gardening fun.
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Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Greenland Gardener Raised Beds - Part 2
Dave is the author of Growing The Home Garden and runs a small nursery business growing vegetables and herbs for local customers in Spring Hill, TN. (Blue Shed Gardens or FB page). He has written for gardening publications, Troy-Bilt and Lowe's and is available for edible garden consulting. Dave gardens organically and when he isn't writing, collecting seeds, or propagating plants he's parenting his 4 children as a stay at home dad.