Food & Swine

DIY Container Garden Fill Part II

Last night I had the opportunity to FINALLY fill my container garden we built last week.  It has been miserable, cold and rainy here for days now and the sun is finally showing through the clouds and things are drying up a bit.

After we built the DIY raised container garden for critter free, no-bend gardening we rubbed vegetable oil all over the inside of the unit to keep it sealed and protect the wood from rotting.  We did not use treated lumber for any of the pieces that would be touching the soil, thus possibly making their way into our food source.  After a few solid coats of oil, we lined the center of the container with garden mat.  This area has 1/4″ gaps between the wood and we didn’t want the soil escaping and making a mess on the deck.

Fill your container:

Step 1: Line the bottom of the prepared container with gravel and sand (equaling a total of 1 5-gallon bucket full.) Spread evenly.

Step 2: Layer 1 5-gallon bucket of black soil with 1/2 bucket of compost and 1/4 bucket of sand and a few handfuls of lime if your soil needs it. (Ours does.)

Repeat Step 2 until box is nearly filled to the top leaving 3 or 4 inches unfilled.

Photographs of the process:

Here’s the lined container box.  I was a fan of putting another triangle piece of mat on the end, I got out-voted.  There is no space between those boards, I guess it is unnecessary.


Nice coarse sand.


Quality compost.  Love it.


And all of the black dirt you can snag. Thank goodness for the John Deere Gator.  What a handy little thing.  Not to mention, it is teaching our 5 year old about driving. (Her brother is the 2 year old in the front seat, NOT driving yet. No worries.)


Layers folks… layers.


‘Lime sprinkles’


Someone I know who has been farming and knows much more than me still takes tons of care in fixing the dirt mixture for this container… ‘juuuuuuust right’.


I just love having helpers.




Almost done… a little more compost, one final mix and that’s it!  See how full it is?  A little extra room left at the top will create a buffer for high winds that will protect the small seedlings.  Sweet.


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  • Reply Val - Corn, Beans, Pigs and Kids May 6, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    I’m hoping to get my garden planted this week. My goal every year is Mother’s Day weekend! Good luck with the garden and for linking up your post.

    • Reply Cristen May 7, 2014 at 3:45 am

      It is the perfect weekend to spend in the garden! Good luck and Happy Mother’s Day!

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