Starting A Legacy Garden – Out With The Old And In With The New!

When I first started gardening four years ago, I certainly didn’t have money for expensive garden beds. I thought I was so clever to construct my beds out of recycled pallets. I watched a couple YouTube videos and was on my way.  With the help of a couple of friends, we built and installed twelve beds, two rows of six, all laid out in a beautiful, orderly way. I felt so accomplished! The neighbors were so impressed.

After the first year, I noticed that the caps I had attached to the tops were wriggling out of place. After two years, I noticed some of the walls of the beds were beginning to bulge. After three years, I had rodents finding their way into my beds through spaces between boards or perhaps they were just climbing up the seventeen-inch walls. Boards were starting to come loose and screws started popping out of place. Grass was starting to weave its way through the boards and sprout up along the top edges.

garden bed

When I discovered Vego Garden beds, I realized that these metal raised beds weren’t as expensive as even some wooden beds I have seen on the market. The sturdy construction gave promise of a long, healthy life.  This planted an idea in my head. I can build a Legacy Garden! A legacy means different things for different people. Perhaps your children and grandchildren will be your legacy. Perhaps you have built a business that will outlive you. For me, I want my home and gardens to be the physical legacy I leave behind. Raised beds made of recycled pallets or almost any wooden bed, I doubt will have much longevity. 

garden bed

I bought a metal raised bed from another company, but I didn’t like the way it assembled. I had to slide the sides together, sort of like pulling a curtain onto a curtain rod, but it was kind of hard and I couldn’t get the corners to come together correctly, leaving yet another opportunity for critters to get in. I thought, “Vego Gardens is the way to go.”

Today, I took my first steps to turn my degrading, sorry looking, pallet beds into a bright and shiny new Legacy Garden. I opened my Vego 17” Tall 9 in 1 Modular Metal Raised Garden Bed Kit  made of Pearl White panels and set to work. I had read an article about replacing one bed with another and thought that this should be fairly easy to do.

garden bed

The configuration of my new bed would be 6.5’ by 3.5’. The existing bed was only 6’ by 3’. No problem, the new bed would fit right over the existing block of soil once I remove the old walls. I took out my mini chain saw, thinking I would cut each corner, but I didn’t even need it. I had been careful to build with screws in case I wanted to disassemble and the screws came right out. The bottoms of the walls have been sitting in soil with grass growing right up to the edges so the they were way more degraded than I had even realized. 

Here are a few tips: I used fabric pins to keep the old weed block in place while I worked. While I have been waiting to do this project, I have been letting all the weeds grow in the bed to help keep the soil in place when I removed the walls. And I used grow bags to hold and manage the dirt I had to dig up to extend the walls an additional 6 inches length wise and 6 inches for the width. In addition, I am salvaging the top caps made of 6-foot lengths of 2” by 1” pine as well as 3-foot end pieces of the same. I was also able to rescue lots and lots of screws of varying lengths from the original build.

I unscrewed the top cap pieces and unscrewed all the corner boards. With a little prying, all the sides came off easily. Then I prepared and leveled the dirt around the existing bed to accommodate the new longer and wider bed. I think perhaps, a metal mesh landscape fabric is best for placing under beds, but I had some plastic, half inch mesh so I used that to cover the new foot print of the bed. Once the mesh was down, I pulled the weed block down from the sides of the soil to cover the newly exposed ground. 

Once all that was done, I was ready for the fun part. After, my new bed was assembled, I just pulled it over to the old bed and plopped it down over the top. I really love how light these metal beds are. I used to have trouble just carrying one 6-foot wall of my pallet beds. Now, I can move and maneuver this whole Vego bed with so much ease!

I’m a little short on time today, but when I want to plant, I just need to fill in the spaces around the edges, with new soil and pull out the weeds and I can get my new seeds growing in no time. Yay!

You may be thinking, “What about the foot print of the original garden?”  By adding longer and wider beds, won’t that mess up the design of the original garden layout?  There are presently 3 feet between beds. The 3-foot walkway between the two rows of beds will remain. The outside perimeter will expand by 6 inches on either side of the garden. If you imagine each row of beds like a train of many cars, the new garden will have 2.5 feet between cars instead of 3 feet between each set of cars. It will all fit perfectly…easy peasy, lemon squeezy!

Okay, well, that’s one bed. Just eleven more to go!! 

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