The past three days have been pure therapy for me.  I’ve been working my butt off, along with my sweet hubby, to get the vegetable garden ready for a new season.

I have been using two 6-foot by 4-foot raised beds situated side by side.   It’s about 10 years old now.  Last year was a lost cause because of my accident, so unfortunately, the vegetable garden beds went completely untouched.  Getting them ready for this season required a lot of work.

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First I had to remove the old fencing that had become too stretched out.  This was stapled all around the base, and each individual staple had to be painstakingly pried off with a screwdriver.

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Then I removed the posts, the old landscaping black cloth (I’m not using that stuff again!), and all the leaves and old roots both inside and around the beds.  Finally I was able to get to the actual dirt by hand.  I used my cool antique, long-handled claw and pitchfork to till up all the existing dirt.  Then I was able to dump in four big bags of fresh, nutrient-filled gardening soil and mix it all together.

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I found a lot of these guys squirming around.  I’m hoping that if they’re happy here, my future veggies will be happy too.

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Because I’m a big fan of instant gratification, I had to do one side first completely. Ahh, one side so fresh and pretty and the other still a mess.

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I soon finished the other side, but I had decided that while we had the beds all torn apart, why not make it better than ever?

Having such a small vegetable garden really limited what I’ve been able to plant and grow in the past,  so adding more growing capability was the priority.  I have been planning all winter and researching different ideas for vertical gardening.  I found some plans, and my hubby was kind enough to create them for me.

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Pretty awesome, huh?  I certainly think so.  One of these will hold 5 different kinds of lettuces and greens in the planters, with cucumbers growing up the back and side.  The other one will hold 8 different herbs, and one green, with nasturtiums growing up the back.  I can’t wait to see how this works.

My hubby also suggested digging up the space between the beds and creating additional bed space.

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Luckily, my hubby has the muscle to go along with his good looks. <3

Next came the worst part – putting up the fence.  This took the most time and effort, but the new fence looks so much better.  Don’t let this sweet smile fool you – this job was a real pain.

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To add even more vertical space, we put up this section on one end.  It’s a bit hard to see in the photo, but we have nylon netting attached across two big poles.  The goal is to have zucchini and spaghetti squash climb these.  I saw a picture of this, so I know it’s possible.  I just hope my squash cooperate with this idea.

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(Please ignore the hideous hair style.  I was playing in dirt, and the worms don’t care how I look.)

My hubby also has the brains, and came up with a great irrigation system for our garden.

We laid out three rows of soaker hose, and staked it down every so many feet to hold it in place.

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My hubby configured them all together with one hose connection point.

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And he added an easy, snap on piece, so I can easily attach the hose and disconnect the hose.

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The last step was to fill my planters with dirt.

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Here’s the finished product. . . all full of promise for a big season full of home-grown goodness.  And the hours of labor to weed, feed, water, harvest etc. will provide me with countless hours of therapy.

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And here I am – all covered in dirt.  And totally happy.  This is my happy place. This is my therapy.  I missed it so much last year.  I’m so grateful to have this coming season.

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Written by Jennifer Cartledge

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