DIY Raised Bed Garden for City or Country Folk

It’s no surprise that living in Ohio gives us short growing seasons. Unless, of course, we have a greenhouse or hoop garden. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t make the most out of every day. Gardening can often only be visualized as out in the sprawling country. As beautiful as that sounds (and as much as I’d like that myself) that isn’t an option for many. We like to adhere to the #mowlessgrow more mentality and have parked our DIY raised garden bed smack in our front lawn of our city lot. {{gasp}}

DIY Raised Garden Beds Before Rebuilding | prodigalpieces.com

Now, this doesn’t look so pretty at the moment, does it? About 6-7 years ago we dug up our sod, tilled, amended, and built this DIY raised garden bed with reclaimed barn wood. Our goal was to use reclaimed wood to reduce waste, save on budget, and prevent a toxic burden on our land and in our food.

Left Side View of City Raised Garden Beds by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #diy #home

The beds have held strong until this last winter. We had a tough winter with arctic blast winds over 65 mph. Talk about a fun ride! eep! Here’s a picture of our garden the first year we gave it a go. We were beyond blessed by our efforts and relished the fantastic rewards of our hands.

Mow Less Grow More Front Yard Garden by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

Since then, we have continued to grow plenty for our family of 8 to enjoy, but the best part is sharing it with others. What was kinda funny was the looks and questions we got from the average passerby when removing our sod in an unusual fashion. It got to where I started telling folks we were installing family burial plots. bwahahaha! One even asked if we were putting in letters to support or local university from an aerial view. um…NO.

Back of the DIY Raised Garden Bed with June-Bearing Strawberries | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #diy #home #garden #food

A LOOK AT THE DAMAGE

As you can see our strawberry bed at the closet corner fell completely down by the snow and wind. But the most amazing thing to me is the garlic stood strong and carried on! We plant the cloves in the fall and it quietly flourishes below the soil. It begins to peek out in the middle of the winter, getting covered with snow up on snow, blasted by arctic winds, and continues to grow. Most of that growth is underground, hidden from our eyes.

Garlic Bulbs Planted in Autumn for a Spring Harvest | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #diy #garden #food

Then, as spring warms up, the stems quickly push toward the sky reveling in the warmth and glory of spring. Isn’t it just like how Peter 5:10 describes, “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast.” If you are in the midst of suffering, have hope. God is ready to help you thrive!

Another ill fate of our garden is that our cedar grape arbor post was snapped over in those high winds.

Broken Grape Arbor Post | prodigalpieces.com

Thankfully, our grapes vines are steadfast and continue to stand on their own. I’ve created a video tour of our garden below, as well as share the outcome of our repair work this year. Feel free to take a peek.

As spring rolled around this year, we knew we had much unplanned work ahead of us. I am so thankful we are physically able to jump in and get the job done.

Pink Tulip in Garden Bed | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #flower #pink

TIME FOR RENEWAL

First, we set out to replace our DIY raised garden bed sides with heavier untreated 2″ x 8″ pine boards. This allowed us to strengthen and give depth to our current beds.

Adding DIY Raised Garden Bed Sides | prodigalpieces.com

Initially, we had planned to also add a 2″ x 4″ mitered frame to the top edge for more depth and decoration. However, as soon as we finished putting these in our area entered a sort of monsoon season and the rain has kept us behind. So, we may add that part next spring. For now we already have to begin our preparations for winter. Summer is too short.

How to Build a Raised Garden Bed in City or Country by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #diy #home #garden

If you look close, you’ll see how JC and I rebuilt the beds using a post made out of untreated 2″ x 4″ pine in each corner. We also use the posts along the long side for added reinforcement.

DIY Raised Garden Stake for Support | prodigalpieces.com

We use a 3″ decking screw to attach it all and withstand the brutal weather we get. Also, notice our joints are blunt. We could have mitered the boards too, however, that is what we’ll do to the frame we’ll add on top next season.

3" Decking Screw to Build DIY Raised Garden Bed | prodigalpieces.com

*post contains affiliate links so you can find the products I love to use too. (see full disclosure)

Now that we’ve repaired the beds, it’s time to replace that broken grape arbor post. Thankfully, I have just the man ready for the job. tee hee. A post hole digger is your best friend in this matter.

Digging Post Hole for New Grape Arbor | prodigalpieces.com

We are using 8′ cedar 4″ x 4″ posts, so that means we sink the posts 2′ into the ground. If you notice, we have a paperboard form inset in there that will help reinforce the concrete we will be adding. No premixing needed. Just dump in, add water, mix a bit, and you’re set. The video shows this best.

Grape Arbor Post Hole with Reinforced Base | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #diy #garden

GRANDPA TO THE RESCUE WITH POO!

Yes. ahem. You read that right…gardener’s gold…aka. manure. Sweet, blissful stuff that makes everything grow and flourish like none other. First, we put down the compost we grab from our own bins out back. You can see self-built bins as a gift-to-self on my 40th HERE. Then, we add the manure.

Composted Manure from Horse, Cow, and Chicken with Calcium added for a nourished garden | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #garden


This ain’t your straight out the cow stuff. You’re looking at composted manure that is aged to perfection and isn’t near as stinky. Also, it is fortified with calcium. You see, we have a herd share from an organic dairy farm and they offer us a truckload of this goodness each year. It’s a combination of horse, chicken, and cow. Many ask my preference, and I’d say this is it. Each have their benefits, and the added calcium helps restore what last years’ growth depleted.

Here’s where my awesome Dad comes in. He has the wheels to connect us to the farm, cause Lord knows JC wouldn’t be too happy if mama comes home with a suburban full of this. Thankfully, it’s a quick unloading that we all thoroughly enjoy as it brings us together to work as a team. Sweet memories!

Spreading Garden Manure for a Flourishing Garden | prodigapieces.com #prodigalpieces

Kids Helping Spread Manure in Garden | prodigalpieces.com

Once the manure is on, we let the ground rest for about 2 weeks, if possible. It’s great for it to have that time to build the bio-culture.

Not everyone is as helpful. haha. The trick is keeping her and her neighborhood friends from adding their own manure. tsk.

Calico Cat Napping in Garden | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #cats

Doesn’t it look healthy? I get so excited at this sight. The scent even (yes, it’s still poo) makes my heart happy.

DIY Raised Garden Bed with Composted Manure | Video Tour at prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #home #garden

Garlic Planted in the Fall can be Harvested by Spring | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #food #garden

DIY Grape Arbor using espalier trellis method | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #garden

Split Rail Fence for Growing Pumpkin and Squash | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #diy #garden #food

If you can’t tell, I’m so in love with this crew (including my oldest & the cameraman too!)

Grandpa with Prodigal Pieces Family | prodigalpieces.com

WAITING FOR THE FRUITS OF OUR LABOR

We have since planted our tomatoes, peppers, basil, cabbage, bok choy, cilantro, dill, beans, pumpkins, and flowers. Our garlic needs to finish and we’ll pull it soon. Our strawberries are coming on strong, and our grapes our just getting started.

Homegrown Organic Strawberries are the best! | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #garden #food

With the non-stop rains we have had it will be amazing if we get much of a crop. However, I will say that companion planting is such a blessing to making use of every inch of the space. My go-to book on the matter is called Companion Planting for the Kitchen Gardener It is chock full of information for any size garden.

City Lot with DIY Raised Bed Gardens | Video Tour at prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #diy #garden #food

Teen Girl Helping to Weed Garden | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

Red Cabbage Companion Planted with Tomatoes & Basil | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #diy #garden

Subscribe to Prodigal Pieces on YouTube for DIY video tutorials and a whole lotta fun | prodigalpieces.com

DIY Grape Arbor Using the Espalier Trellis Technique | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #diy #garden #food

New Grapes Coming on in the Summer | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #garden

Here is their current state, while below is their progression through the summer.

Homegrown Grape Bunch in the Garden of Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

Ripened Homegrown Grapes by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

Are you getting hungry yet? I am! We are waiting for our tomatoes to reach the trellising stage. We like to grow up and use vertical growing. My favorite garden books are by Eliot Coleman.

How to Trellis Your Tomatoes | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #garden #home

Garden Fresh Tomatoes Picked from Raised Garden Beds in a City Lot | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

GARDEN WRAP-UP

I hope to inspire you and gave you a hunger for gardening. I’d love to hear what you do in your own garden to create a sanctuary for food, flowers, or just plain fun.

Girl Smelling Peonies | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #flower #peony #garden

Sunflowers in Raised Garden Bed | Larissa of Prodigal Pieces and daughter | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #diy #garden

By pinning and sharing you are helping others thing outside the lawn and grow their own food. Who knows…maybe they’ll even share with those who need some too.

Have your own garden in a city or country setting with this easy & affordable DIY garden bed tutorial | Video tour by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #diy #garden #home #food

Up next, it’s reduce, reuse, REFASHION time! I’ll be sharing what you can do with those belts hanging in your closet. Head here to see.

Upcycled Belts Before Made into Home Decor | prodigalpieces.com

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14 Comments

  • ColleenB.-Tx.

    Your garden looks great and what wonderful helpers you have to help maintain your garden.
    We have gotten goat manure and that is good stuff and goat poo poo doesn’t have to be composted; just dump it in, mix right in with your already garden soil and all set to plant. Goat poo is great for roses. The roses absolutely love it

    June 20, 2019 at 5:54 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you, Colleen. We sure have fun! Goat manure is great. We use composted for only the mere fact of our neighbors may not be too happy if we didn’t. tee hee. 😉

      June 20, 2019 at 6:28 am Reply
  • Cindy

    Larissa the garden really came back to life.

    Enjoy your hard work and those little helpers.

    Cindy

    June 20, 2019 at 8:10 am Reply
    • Larissa

      We are so happy to have or spot. Thank you!

      June 20, 2019 at 12:07 pm Reply
  • KImberly

    LOL@ “One even asked if we were putting in letters to support or local university from an aerial view” It actually does look like you were starting a big “O” lol. Your garden is beautiful and as you said your kids will have so many great memories of making it come together.

    June 20, 2019 at 10:44 am Reply
    • Larissa

      haha…right?! I couldn’t believe it. I started having fun with folks. Too easy! 😀 Thank you for the smile.

      June 20, 2019 at 12:08 pm Reply
  • Patty Soriano

    I love a garden! I see wine and salsa in your future! 🙂

    June 20, 2019 at 10:49 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Woot! We are hoping for sun! 😀

      June 20, 2019 at 12:08 pm Reply
  • Kaycee

    Wow, what a great way to make memories and teach the importance of land stewardship! There is nothing like your own freshly grown fruits and veggies! Continued prayers for your gardens to thrive and produce with all this rain!

    June 20, 2019 at 11:37 am Reply
    • Larissa

      I am so glad the love it and we can all work together. That’s the best part of the whole thing.

      June 20, 2019 at 12:08 pm Reply
  • Marie

    Wow, you guys are amazing, that’s quite the garden space! I hope you get lots of sunshine in July & August for a bountiful harvest.

    June 20, 2019 at 2:16 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you, Marie. We are hoping for any fruit this year. We have strawberries, and grapes on the way, but many could rot out before we can harvest. Sigh…

      June 22, 2019 at 8:44 pm Reply
  • Mary

    You all have created a great space that allows you to grow food, teach your children and share your bounty. Wonderful project.

    June 21, 2019 at 1:08 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      You got exactly why we do it. Thank you, Mary.

      June 22, 2019 at 8:45 pm Reply

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