I'm so excited! Finally, a raised vegetable bed! My back is already celebrating! I have realized that that it's north/south configuration isn't ideal. I don't know what I was thinking -- even my last patch was east/west, which would have been the preferred option had it been available to me. But I'm not worried. It's so very hot here and a four or five hours of sun will likely go a long way. I will try to plant strategically.
Now that my "patch" is so convenient, I am eager to make it as productive as I possibly can. I've been reading everything I can about intensive gardening. I was glad to discover an excellent article by Linda A. Gilkeson on the Mother Earth News website, comparing Mel Bartholomew's square-foot gardening and John Jeavons' biointensive method.
Gilkeson recommends "customizing" one's intensive gardening system. The best approach is to employ common sense, of course, blending the two methods as necessary for what works best for the gardener and space. Certainly that goes for gardening of any kind.
My concern for now is soil quality. We are going to have a few yards of soil delivered to spread in the box and certain, needy areas of the garden proper. It will be a vegetable garden mix and of course I should be able to see, smell, and feel the quality and texture But while I would rather not take a soil test, I am worried about nutrients. I have only just started composting again and have nothing "homemade" to contribute at this time. Should I buy ladybugs? Can I purchase earthworms?
I will probably follow Jeavons' approach and use the soil I (will) have, as is, amending it over time. As for the good bugs, I think I will hang onto the hope that they will find their way to the patch one way or another.
If anyone has recommendations or suggestions, please, I'm begging you, speak up!
As for flowers, we don't have too many right now in the garden. We have a long way to go as for as our ornamental beds are concerned. That's not a complaint, by the way. I love the challenge. I have not yet planted many stalwart and fairly ferocious perennials. Most of our plants seem to be resting for now, as is the gardener!
We do have some lovely purslane. We enjoy it in both salads and the garden.