It was a gorgeous Sunday afternoon in March. The kids were playing half-naked in the creek. Heather sat under an umbrella on the deck, writing another DIY beauty article. Gigi was nearby, clear coating the wood for our future living room shelves.

I had a rare moment of peace at my desk when Heather walked in…

Hey Honey, you know that garden you want to plant this Spring? Well, if you want to do it, you have about an hour to prep before you leave to get supplies. This is our window of opportunity. 

So I did what anyone would do. First, I panicked. Check.

Then I snatched a book on the soil food web from my bookcase. I hadn’t completed my research on no-till solutions and wasn’t sure whether I knew what method I actually wanted to try this year. 

Then I stopped myself and put the book back on the shelf. There was no time to research deep data. There was barely enough time to Google “How To’s”.

So I found someone selling organic compost on Craigslist, I acquired a very general sense of how to build a raised bed, and I jumped in the car.

An ex-rodeo rider owned a ranch that boards horses and in the back of their property, they had tens of thousands of cubic yards of compost. Their assistant jumped into a tractor and took off around the mountain of horse manure, straw, and wood shavings and came back with a cubic yard of two year old compost.


He filled up our trailer with compost and we paid him $30. I drove home ready to start our first raised bed garden.

After assembling two basic frames, I called Heather out to the front yard to take a look. This was not the decorative front garden she had imagined. So we picked up the frames and carried them to the “back yard”, aka the space between house and barn.

Sawing 2x4 for a raised bed

After pouring in the new compost, the children planted the seeds for our raised bed garden. We planted lettuce, carrots, beans, radishes, and beets.