Well, it’s July already, and that means that the mercury will steadily creep up and the dog days of summer will soon be upon us.
Most of our cool season crops have ended their run. The spinach bolted and the lettuce was picked, so we are left with no more leafy greens coming into our kitchen. That’s just not acceptable!
To remedy the situation, I(Will) did some research to figure out if I could still grow those cool season crops in the heat of the summer, and it turns out that it is possible. I’m going to attempt to grow some greens (lettuce and spinach) in a raised bed garden that gets about 4-5 (from about 2 pm to 6 pm) hours of sunlight a day. In addition to putting the bed in the shade, I am also going to trellis cucumbers over the plot to block out more direct sunlight.
The raised bed I built was made with scrap lumber I had laying around in the shed. 4 pieces of 2″x12″ cut to 4 ft. lengths is what I used to create the frame. I put three 2.5″ deck screws into each end to fasten the boards together. Next, I had to level out the ground so that the box would sit flat. I took a shovel and dug deeper where dirt needed removed and added dirt where that was appropriate. Word of advice, just get the corners leveled up and then go at filling in the rest.
Next, I needed to add some soil. We did not have enough spare dirt laying around so I had to run to Home Depot to get some. First, you should get a rough idea of the volume of dirt you will be needing. You calculate this by multiplying the length, depth, and width of the raised bed. For this raised bed it was .5′ x 4′ x 4′ = 8 cu. ft. I bought a bag of sand, 1 bag of “organic humus and manure”, 1 bag of topsoil, and 1 bag of “gardening soil.” I didn’t realize there were so many types of dirt people could buy! We had some compost that I added to the mix as well. Total, about 6″ of soil was added and mixed into to the raised bed.
I planted 2 rows of lettuce, 1 row of spinach, 2 rows of green onions, and 3 cucumber plants that I had started from seed a few weeks ago. I’ll post updates as the season progresses!