When we moved into our new house and had our backyard landscaped, we decided to include three 4’X4′ raised beds in the plan. Last summer for the first time since moving to Colorado I planted a garden. I had mixed successes and failures. My first attempt to grow pole beans was a roaring success, and Jane and I harvested numerous meals from four plants up until frost. We also enjoyed bumper crops of tomatoes and zucchini. On the downside, I planted the beets too close to the carrots, and consequently they got shaded out by the taller more vigorous carrots. The radishes bolted before developing radish bulbs, and I had decent scallions, but never developed large onions in the fall.
With the mild early spring weather we are experiencing in Colorado, I gambled and planted onions sets, radishes and spinach on March 11. This is approximately three to four weeks earlier than typically recommended. The weather forecast for the next week was mild, and I figured I was only risking relatively inexpensive seed. The gamble seems to have paid off as we had six days of unseasonably warm weather, then a couple cold days followed by another string of 70 degree days. Radishes, onions and spinach have all germinated before the end of March. Hopefully this will pay off with radishes and spinach maturing before the weather turns hot.
With a beautiful day on Saturday, Jane and I decided to work on the other problem; overcrowding and lack of space by building a fourth raised bed. We consulted with our neighbor Tom Romero, who told us how to tap into the irrigation system. We then recorded our measurements and made a materials list and headed off to Home Depot. Amazingly in one afternoon we applied wood preservative to the lumber, hammered together the raised bed frame, dug holes, anchored the corner posts, tapped in the sprinklers, and filled the raised bed with compost. We are now anxious to fill our new bed and spread out our plantings for the 2012 growing season.