55+ Living Guide Spring/Summer 2017 55++LG+Spring+17+Spreads - Page 28

My property was blessed or shall we say cursed, with much hard pan and rock. After years of rock picking and broken tines on my rototiller, I have resorted to raised bed garden- ing. A raised bed is essentially a large planting box. It truly is the ultimate problem solver. It offers perfect drainage, protec- tion from pests and the ease of access to the crops! It can turn a rock pile into a backyard farm. The Internet is abounding with ideas, but sometimes the best beds are the ones you make yourself. Yes, it is a DIY project, so don’t bite off more than you can chew. A couple of large beds with re-planting in mind can provide your family with an endless supply of fresh greens and other veggies. When you construct your beds look for optimum sunshine and fill each with a nutrient rich soil. Do not forget that weeds will find their way in, as in any garden, but with a little daily diligence and 28 55PlusLivingGuide.com I mean little, your efforts will be rewarded many times over. The raised bed will allow you to grow more flavorful, nutritious and fresher produce than can be found in your local grocery. It is easier, more fun and produces a more flavorful harvest for your cooking. I would suggest grow- ing a few plants of each of the vegetables and herbs that you use most frequently. I love Cilantro and I let it go to seed and harvest my own Coriander. Once you start using Coriander you’ll ask yourself how did I ever get along without it! Although various fertilizers and mineral nutrients (Agricul- tural lime, rock phosphate, greensand,) should be added periodically to the organic garden, by far the most useful substance for building and maintaining a healthy, well balanced soil is organic matter. You can add organic mat- ter to your soil in many ways, such as compost, shredded