Absence has definitely made my heart grow fonder and deeply aware that a garden glow-up is in order. It’s not that I’ve lost the love for my garden, namely the raised bed vegetable garden, I’ve just been away from it and it’s painfully obvious. From the weed covered area around the beds to the quagmire of random vegetables spilling out and everywhere, the vegetable garden reflects the year we’ve had. Stressful and reactive. I planted the tomatoes, peppers, zucchini and tomatillos, and that’s about all I did. Somehow, things grew and I had a decent harvest which makes me wonder just how important the gardener is to the garden.
As a sidenote, many of my just-blushing tomatoes have a single bite in them, courtesy of the growing population of chipmunks in the garden. Add that to the rabbits, voles and cucumber beetles. It’s not been the best year in the garden.
A few days ago, I was riveted by the presence of a Cooper’s hawk in the garden, willing him or her to snatch a few of those cute, striped little thieves. My husband said I had a problem. Tell me something I don’t know. But I digress.
While the chipmunks and rabbits couldn’t wait to get into the vegetable garden, I couldn’t wait to get out of it. Not a good feeling and one I’ve never had until now. There’s nothing pleasant about spending time in a space that makes you feel anxious. That feeling was my cue to make it pretty and more productive. And most importantly, a place I wanted to be.
They can’t all be winners which makes the saying, “There’s always next year,” very reassuring. So forward thinking is the name of the game and I’m devoting the rest of this month to a raised bed garden glow-up. The bones are there, it just needs a little elbow grease, determination and some excellent garden goods to restore my happy place. I’ll be sharing more on the goods as we move through this series of posts in the coming weeks. But first, let’s talk about wood.
The two raised beds are the anchors of my backyard food garden so it feels right to start there. Two years have passed since my husband built them. It was our COVID project and one I’m glad we did then when wood wasn’t ridiculously expensive. They’re made of cedar and have developed a grey patina. It’s a nice look but I’ve always wanted to stain them which means the patina’s gotta go. It’s the first step in my garden glow-up and if I skip it, the wood stain won’t penetrate. That’s where the power washer comes into play.
I don’t own one, but fortunately my neighbor does and I’ve used his several times for algae buildup on the fountain. As I write this, it’s becoming more apparent that I probably should invest in one. They do a great job.
His SunJoe Power Washer comes with several quick connect nozzles, each with a different spray angle and pressure.
I avoided the two narrowest spray angles as they’ll do more harm then good. The 25 degree nozzle dispersed the water more evenly, resulting in no damage. The red and yellow nozzles delivered the water in a direct stream that would leave permanent lines, resembling worm paths, in the wood. Holding the wand about six inches from the wood, I worked back and forth from top to bottom making sure that I didn’t stop in one area, moving steadily across the wood.
About an hour later, step one of my raised bed garden glow up was complete. It was a piece of cake and I definitely spent more time prepping than I did actually power washing. That’s always the case. Ideally, I’d wait a few days to let it dry out before staining, but it looks like it may be several days longer than expected. The Chicago area received nearly five inches of rain the day after I power washed and it’s currently raining as I write this post.
I’m so excited to share with you the companies I’ve partnered with for this raised bed garden glow up series and I hope you’ll join me here and on my YouTube channel as we make this space beautifully productive once again. Matter of fact, click this link to get a brief tour of what the garden looks like before we make it sparkle.
Raised beds are nothing without good soil. Check out this link to learn what I do every fall to replenish the nutrients for the next growing season. It’s a lazy organic gardeners way to healthy soil. I promise!