Too often when homesteading we tend to overthink things and then make it more complicated than it needs to be. When we moved to this property there were no gardens, and nowhere to even put them. We could have spent heaps of money getting the timber for nice beds but we live in the bush so we wanted to utilise our natural surroundings and have our garden beds blend in.
To do this, we first went to the beach and looked for suitable driftwood. The garden would be whatever height the wood was. We didn’t want to muck around with it too much. We cut a length that we thought would look good. We had no measuring tape so we tied flax leaves together to get a rough idea and cut 2 long lengths and 2 short ones. We still had to trim the ends off to make it fit perfectly then we screwed them together. Punga trees are native New Zealand fern trees and are a dime a dozen. They are EVERYWHERE! We couldn’t screw the punga trees because they are airy like a coconut husk – so we used wooden pegs to hold them instead. This is all untreated, natural wood so we know we will have to replace them every few years or so when they rot.
We built 3 planter boxes of a similar size and alternated them punga, driftwood, punga and we will build another 3 raised garden beds at the end of summer. We really wanted to get a few gardens going ASAP. Once the planter boxes were screwed together, we got a truckload of topsoil in to fill them.
And then the shoveling began! The golden rule on the homestead is that everyone must help so Eli had a ball helping shovel the dirt. He loved playing in it too, jumping up and down in the dirt pile. It’s so good for kids to be outside and get dirty. And it’s good for mama as well to get connected to the earth and nature.
Once we got all the dirt level, it was time to plant. I have never done much planting before but this time I was head honcho because hubby was busy with other jobs. I planted corn, heaps of tomatoes that we will out into jars for winter, cucumber, capsicum, eggplant, chilli, peas and beans, celery, spring onions, spinach, and many more. It’s means so much more to me knowing that I have invested my blood, sweat and tears into this garden and providing healthy organic food for my family. There is no need for a gym membership on the homestead. Just get outside and start digging – that is all the exercise you will need.
It’s so easy to use what you have around to make your raised garden beds. You don’t have to over-complicate it. Getting driftwood off the beach or using anything you have already on your property will be awesome and they will look like they have been there all along.