Do you have an interest in raised bed vegetable gardening but don’t know where to begin?
That description fit me about eighteen months ago when I decided, at the young age of fifty eight, it was time for me to get my hands dirty and start planting.
But where was I to begin?
Truth is I didn’t have a clue.
Fortunately, I was able to find three mentors on the internet who guided me along the way.
This article is designed to introduce you to the three main personalities who inspired, motivated and taught me the basics of raised bed vegetable gardening.
My hope is that you too may learn from these mentors and ultimately succeed in your own vegetable gardening efforts.
My main reason for getting started in organic gardening was health concerns.
A medical check up indicated that my cholesterol was high and I needed to lose some weight.
The books on nutrition that I read encouraged me to eat kale, collards, and arugula. All of which were foreign to me.
As my local supermarket did not carry any of these veggies, I decided to grow my own.
And so my journey began.
My first mentor was Jules Dervaes and family. I stumbled across their website, Path to Freedom, by accident.
Jules and his three grown children Anais, Jordanne and Justin have accomplished nothing short of a miracle.
On a small plot of land, only one tenth of an acre, in Pasadena, Ca. they manage to grow some six thousand pounds of food each year.
They regard themselves as urban homesteaders.
For Jules, vegetable gardening is a act of political revolution.
It is his way of reclaiming the land and fighting back against a system that has polluted our air, our water and our soil and is now trying to genetically modify our food.
By growing his own food Jules is taking back control and reclaiming his independence.
Jules and his children have utilized every available inch of property to grow an amazing assortment of fruits, vegetables, and edible flowers.
I must confess I am addicted to their multiple websites and blogs.
I return to them often when I feel the need for a dose of encouragement.
The Dervaes family allows me to see what is humanly possible when one is committed to his beliefs and acts upon them with faith and passion.
If I ever get discouraged when my gardening efforts fail I remember Jules’ guiding words, “don’t throw in the trowel”.
If the Dervaes family taught me the “why” of planting, it was Mel Bartholomew who instructed me in the “how to” of raised bed vegetable gardening.
Back in 1978 Mel authored the number one, bestselling book on gardening ever written. It is called “Square Foot Gardening”.
In this modern day classic, Mel explains the ins and outs of raised bed vegetable gardening.
His particular system advises one to divide each raised bed into sixteen equal squares.
Within each square one may plant a different vegetable.
The advantage of this system is that it requires little work yet produces great results. Mel’s motto is “grow more in less space”.
There is no weeding or heavy digging to do.
It’s ideal for everyone, from youngsters to senior citizens.
Mel clearly explains, in simple language, the steps one needs to take to have a successful gardening experience.
As I approach sixty, I welcome the ease and quick results I can achieve following Mel’s system.
It’s no wonder his gardening principles have been adopted by home gardeners all around the world.
My final teachers are the many mentors I have found on YouTube.
It’s astounding that one may go on YouTube with any question regarding raised bed vegetable gardening and come away with qualified advice and answers offered by raised bed vegetable gardeners from around the world.
I am personally indebted and grateful to all of them.
One gentleman in particular, however, stands out above the rest. His name is John Kohler.
John’s positive energy, natural enthusiasm and sheer love for raised bed gardening is contagious.
He has countless video clips on his YouTube site “Growing Your Greens”. Each video is about ten minutes long. John generously shares everything he knows about organic vegetable gardening.
John has converted his front lawn into a massive raised bed vegetable garden.
He shares his successes as well as his gardening failures.
What I particularly like about John is that he, like myself, is also a health nut.
John knows the nutritional value of all the plants he grows and speaks knowledgeably about them all.
So, if you are interested in starting raised bed vegetable gardening but are afraid you lack knowledge or experience necessary to begin, don’t let that deter you.
Check out my mentors, the Dervaes family, Mel Bartholomew, and John Kohler and get started right