rewarding garden passion

In late June of 2019, a rookie gardener from Rio Rancho, NM, embarked on their gardening journey with the addition of several raised garden beds. These beds, key to their early success, were installed effortlessly atop the landscape gravel common in the desert Southwest. The gardener started by trenching a small perimeter in the gravel for each bed, positioning the beds, replacing the gravel, and then filling them with a meticulously mixed soil—45% topsoil, 45% mushroom compost, and 10% potting soil, layered over cardboard. To enhance the soil's quality, they introduced 2,000 red worms.

Throughout the winter, the gardener's efforts were fruitful; their garden, situated in Zone 7a, yielded an impressive array of vegetables including onions, leeks, garlic, cabbage, kale, carrots, radishes, and lettuce. They also constructed a heated shed to nurture their pepper, tomato, eggplant, and other seedlings under grow lights, preparing them for planting after the last frost.

By mid-July, their Brandywine tomato plants soared nearly seven feet tall, and with three more growing months left, they anticipated a need to rotate crops due to the plants' vigorous growth. In the sunnier sections of their garden, hot peppers, eggplants, squash, and fall shelling peas thrived, supported by teepee trellises. Beneath the expansive leaves of tomato plants, they cleverly planted shade-loving species like basil, lettuce, marigolds, and nasturtiums.

This gardener’s use of corrugated garden beds and above ground gardens proved crucial in overcoming the challenging growing conditions of their area. Their success has inspired plans to expand with more garden bed kits this fall. Grateful for the impact these raised beds had on their gardening achievements, the gardener credits these structures with making their horticultural venture possible, marking the beginning of what promises to be a long and rewarding gardening passion.

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