The Gift of a Vegetable Garden: Part 2

Vegetable Garden

In my last post, I undoubtedly left you hanging, wondering how the second part of our project ended (just kidding).

What project is that?  Well, my siblings and I along with our families surprised my mother for her 70th birthday by building her a raised vegetable garden to go along with her existing one.

I posted the first part of our project, which ended up with a lot of muddy shoes as we dug out the grass.  You can catch up on the first part here.

Now we all gathered again the next Saturday and were excited to finish the project.

Birthday Gift

Birthday Gift

We worked on building up the remaining sides.  It helped that my brother-in-law had a portable table saw, (if you don’t have one you can always have the store do it for you).

nephew Danny

My 1-year old nephew Danny, (one of my brother’s twin boys), is just fascinated about how things work and he was wondering how much older he would have to be to use his dad’s cordless drill 😉

Birthday Gift

Birthday Gift

Almost finished with the sides!


My mother put out a blanket for the twins to play on and then the other grandkids came to play with them too.

Birthday Gift

Once we got all the sides up, we lined the bottom with newspaper, which helps to supress weeds and will break down.


My sister takes the twins, Danny and Dean for a walk around the backyard.


Here I am with my two sisters.

Okay, enough with all the family photos, let’s get back to finishing the garden.


I don’t think that there is anything quite as wonderful to a gardener then a trailer full of compost, do you?


Here is an action shot…

One of the clients that I write for wants gardening ‘action’ shots, so I try to get them whenever I can.


I love the fragrance of compost or as I like to call it “black gold”.

Birthday Gift

My niece Sofie (left), and my kids Ruthie and Kai had fun spreading the compost inside.  They kept getting higher and higher up as the garden filled up with compost.

We finished the project by connecting the garden to drip irrigation and also put up support for the shade structure.

Some of you have asked me how we did this and you can see how it was done with the first vegetable garden…

Birthday Gift

The supports are made out of rebar.  Two pieces form each support and they were bent by hand and fastened in the middle using wire.  The support is used for shade cloth in summer, frost cloth in winter and bird netting all year to keep the chickens out of the garden.


My mother was so excited about her new garden and she fed us all a fabulous lunch that day.

Later, we celebrated her 70th birthday with two cakes….

A few of her grandsons were more then happy to help her blow out her candles 🙂

Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a author, horticulturist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."
11 replies
  1. Curbstone Valley Farm
    Curbstone Valley Farm says:

    Very nicely done! I like the height of the rebar hoops. Occasionally our 'hoops' are a little low for some of our crops, especially if spring is late arriving and we have to leave the covers on longer than expected. The extra headroom will be very helpful I'm sure.

  2. HolleyGarden
    HolleyGarden says:

    Cute twins! And how nice to be able to get together with your sisters. I have two sisters, too, but they both live several states away. The vegetable bed is gorgeous. I know your mother will love it every day. I bet those grandsons were more than happy to help her eat the cake, too!

  3. cjinphx
    cjinphx says:

    What a lovely gift! It is so heartening to see everyone chip in.

    The beds are beautiful. You mention in your post that instructions on making the beds are in an earlier post, however, I can't find it. Can you please either describe how you built the beds and the above structure, or point me to a good tutorial? Thanks so much for your help.

  4. rosiemomma
    rosiemomma says:

    THanks for shedding light on those hoops. I can see the wire connecting the rebar in the picture now. I'm sure your mom can't wait to get her hands in that dirt!

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