Spring Veggie Bed Upgrade

Spring Quote

Today is the first day of Spring and it makes me giddy to think of getting my hands in the dirt and start planting for Summer. My garden looks so pretty in Sunset Magazine, but it’s sort of like looking at a picture of my daughters from a year ago — such sweet memories, but you see all the changes that have taken place in such a short amount of time.

Since that Sunset shoot last fall I’ve changed up those veggies beds. Gardens are a constant work in progress. With a couple of rounds of slow starts with seedlings it became apparent that the clay packed ground under the beds weren’t allowing the veggie roots to grow deep enough.

vegetable bed design

For the update, the sides of the beds were raised eight inches with an added cap around the perimeter, giving a little ledge to sit on when seeding and planting.

Ground work for vegetable beds

Pulling everything out of the beds revealed that those pesky gophers had made their way through the wire, so that had to be replaced (!*$%! gophers). To help out with that hard soil, we placed a layer of gypsum to aid the break down process.

Soil for veggie garden

A trip to our local coffee shop (thank you, Handlebar Coffee Roasters!) yielded a score of used/leftover coffee grounds in 20 pound bags. For each of the new deeper beds we added a layer of the coffee grounds near the bottom so those good worms would dig down deep to find it.

Coffee for veggie beds

Next up will be the lowdown on all I’m planting for spring and into the start of summer. My tomato dreams are brewing…hopefully those coffee grounds will lead to some juicy treasures.

Winter planting

Winter seedlings

The only sad thing about these new boxes is that they’re a bit two-toned, similar to when it’s time for a trip to the hair salon. Let’s hope they weather and blend in soon.

Valerie's Vegetable Garden

Next up is a trip to the nursery to start buying tomato plants. I’m going to try not to skip. Happy Spring!

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18 thoughts on “Spring Veggie Bed Upgrade”

How on earth did Penny let gophers in your yard… So Caddyshack
We had tomato mania at Rogers Garden a couple weeks back.. I had no idea how many different tomatoes there were and I loved all of their names. Do you have any favorites for coastal growing?

Isn’t it amazing, Patricia? In the beginning of the season, I plant the smaller varieties like Early Girl, Sweet 100, Zebra and Stupice. Then as the season continues I add the bigger ones like Better Boy, Beef Steak and Celebrity. This seems to work well for me in Santa Barbara. I would ask that trusty information desk at Rogers what grows well in your area but I bet Early Girl would do so well and they taste divine!

This is so helpful, Valerie. Wondering if you could email me the contact information of the person who helped you put in those raised beds. My veggie garden needs exactly the same update! Thank you.

Hi, I just found your blog through that Sunset article – nice to see your new changes! I’m planning to add caps to my raised beds this year, too. I’d love to know more about your bamboo trellises. They are so pretty and look adjustable. My makeshift trellises fall apart every year and I’m ready to try something new!

Hi Dona! I just added new bamboo trellises to the beds for my tomatoes and cucumbers. I’ll post a blog about it soon. Happy Spring!

Guess what? Gophers love earth worms! They are there for the food, I have been plagued with them for years. On my big property, no getting rid of them, I have lots of things in the ground for them to eat, but you can get Grub Ex for yours. Good luck.

I envy your beautiful raised beds! I planted 9 different kinds of tomato seeds last weekend, and they have already sprouted. I use Earthboxes for my veggie gardening since I have very little yard that is dirt and a lot of cement. Did you start your Padron peppers as plants or seeds? Did you get them at Island Seed & Feed?
Isn’t it a beautiful day in Santa Barbara today!

Hi Vickie,

I started the padron peppers from seedlings and purchased them at Terra Sol. Waiting for the sun to come out today :).


Hi Valerie,

Your garden is beautiful and I enjoyed reading the article in Sunset too. Could you please tell me what kind of wood you used to build your beds?


Do you set up an automatic watering system ? Drip lines through out the beds ? I see that you have a water line set up at one of the beds with a hose. Are you hand watering? That is what I currently do but with summer vacation needing an alternative. Beautiful garden!! Thank you!

Hi Brianna,
One of the beds is set up with irrigation. I buried it half way through the soil so we could water deeply and less often~ it is a good technique with the current drought. The others get watered by hand.


Great inspiration Valerie thanks! I’ve been dabbling with our edible garden for a couple of years now. Time to get serious and carve out space for raised beds! I read that you have roots in Belgium…I’m U.S. born but lived in Brussels for 12 years as a child before moving back to the Bay Area. Wonderful place to grow up!!

Just beautiful! I have recently installed raised beds and think they are already due for an update to include the capped edging! I love the garden to table inspiration you provide, Cheers!

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