It seems spring has finally arrived, and our raised hugelkultur beds are ready to be planted. Now, I have to admit, while I was very excited to get my garden in, I was also also a little intimidated. I'm very much a beginner when it comes to growing vegetables and the whole planting process is a little overwhelming to me. The main reason we chose to build raised beds was so that we could make the garden as manageable as possible, and as I've been working the soil to get ready to plant, I'm very glad we did. I love that the whole garden is sectioned off in neat and tidy segments, and while I know where I plan to sow each of my different vegetables, I'm not exactly sure how deep, or how far apart, to sow each of the varieties of seeds.
I've done lots of online research, and while no two opinions are exactly alike, I've adapted a few suggestions I liked along with the idea to use 2x2 wire mesh as a garden grid, that I came up with quite by accident.
I wanted to get my carrots, onions, and potatoes planted in the beds as soon as possible, but because we still have to construct the fence around the garden to keep the deer and our cats out, I wanted to be able to protect the seeds until the fence goes up. We purchased 2x2 galvanized wire mesh to construct the fencing from, and I decided that I would simply roll some of it over top of the carrot/onion bed after I had them planted. But before I began the actual planting, I wanted to make sure my idea would suffice, so I rolled it out to see if it would cover the bed well enough. When I did, I discovered that the wire roll fit perfectly into the 4 x 12 bed my husband built. And then it hit me. Why not use the mesh as my planting grid?
So, that's just what I did. I planted a carrot in every 2x2 square.
I planted my onions in the grid like this.
I planted one potato approximately in the middle of a 6x6 squares, so about 1 potato for every square foot.
This wire mesh grid completely alleviated my anxiety about the planting process. It provided me with a visual guideline to follow, and allowed me to break down the planting into sections. This was especially helpful when planting my large bed of carrots. Even my daughter found it easy to follow.
For the two foot width beds, we'll cut a section of wire to fit inside the beds and move it along as we finish planting each section.
For seeds like beans, peas and squash, we'll push the seeds through the grid into the soil to proper depths. For teeny, tiny seeds like carrots and lettuces, we simply dropped them onto the soil, misted the dirt with water so as not to wash the seeds away, spread another layer of soil on top, and then misted again. Once the soil was moist enough not to wash away, we watered thoroughly.
Once we're ready to build the fence around the garden, we'll carefully lift the wire up and out of the beds and re-use it in the fence.
I'm quite thrilled with the ease of this planting method. It completely eliminated my overwhelm with sowing my garden, and I feel very confident with proper seed spacing.
If you feel like you might want to implement this type of grid planting in your own garden, I've organized a visual planting aid for differing seeds.
And, at some point, I hope to put together a plan for the raised hugelkultur garden beds we built, so stay tuned if you'd like to get a copy of those!
Best of luck on your own vegetable gardening!