I don't have a lot of flat space around my house so this little patch is pretty valuable. Part of it is taken up by the chicken tractor that has since become the brooder coop. My first two chickens were happy with it as long as they could run around in the yard too.
I decided to try to get a little more use out of the space and build a raised planter for vegetables
I built it out of 2x10s, with hardware cloth on the bottom.
This is to keep the gophers out. I first time I saw the gophers I thought they were kinda cute. Then I watched one pull an entire creeping fig vine into its burrow after it had eaten all of its roots. Now I plant everything with mesh around it.
I filled it with two truck loads of free compost from the Griffith Park Composting Facility. John likes to joke that it is full of elephant dung because the facility is right over the hill from the LA Zoo. It might be true. This stuff is like black gold.
I can never get my act together to grow from seed so I used started plants from home depot. I planted tomatoes, squash, cucumbers and threw in some radish and beet seeds. They look so dainty here, but I had planted way too much. My friend Sora warned me that the tomatoes and squash were going to battle for supremacy. She wasn't kidding.
I'm not sure who the winner was. The squash took up more space but the tomatoes lasted longer. I was still getting tomatoes just a month ago, and I still have butternut squash waiting to be made into soup.
My plans were to clean this all out and plant a winter garden but I never got around to it. Once the squash was gone there were little radish plants trying to grow underneath. They ended up getting big and bushy with gnarly twisted radishes about a foot long.
The last batch of chicks did a pretty good job of cleaning the bed out before they went up to the big house. Now I just need to replant. I'm thinking that this year I'll grow the tomatoes and squash in their own self watering containers and reserve the raised bed for vegetables that are a little more delicate.