I had planted some green beans in one of our gardens. They were about six weeks old and growing up just fine. I was out admiring the plants and noticed something was very, very wrong with the green bean plants! Something had chomped away all the leaves, on all the plants. Whatever it was, it didn’t touch the peas or the broccoli. It didn’t bother with the cauliflower or the brussels sprouts. Nope, just the leaves of the green beans!
So, what did I do? Well, of course I went straight to facebook and posted the question, “What is chomping my green bean plants?” I got all kinds of responses on what it could be, and helpful hints to keeping the critters out. Bunnies and slugs and squirrels, oh, my! Set out bowls of beer. The slugs will drink it and fall in and drown! Spray the plants with neem oil! Spray them with the stinky Repels All spray! They all seemed like great suggestions, and I was ready to try them all. After all, I had developed a bond with these plants… I seeded them, watched them take life as they sprouted, talked to them, watered them, fed them, and encouraged them to be the best they could be! Grow! Be strong! Go forward and be abundantly fruitful!
And then, a couple of days later, BINGO! I caught the little critter red-handed! It was a rat terrier, namely our little dog, Gracie.
What?! Why was she eating the green bean leaves?! Then I realized that her tummy had been upset lately. This happens to her from time to time! She typically goes out to the back yard in search of something green to chew up and swallow to help her queasy tummy. But wait, not the green bean plants, noooo! And what else will she start eating the next time her tummy is upset and there are no great bean plants left to eat?!
I started to ponder the situation. The first thing I asked myself was, “Is it safe for her to eat the leaves?” I researched a little and found that it is generally safe for dogs to eat leaves; and they tend to instinctively know which ones are beneficial for them. Apparently, it is not safe for dogs to eat raw green beans, although cooked green beans are supposedly fine for dogs. Ok, she was not eating the actual green beans, only the leaves. Well, what good is a garden if your entire family can’t benefit from it? A friend said that she plants a garden for the bunnies that come into her yard, and then cages up the rest of the garden. That got me to thinking… why not build a little green bean garden for Gracie. It obviously helps her. And it wouldn’t be a big deal to build a little raised bed garden out of cedar boards. Hmmmm…
“Honey!?” (That’s my husband.) “What do you think if we build a little green bean garden for Gracie?!” (That means “you”.) Sidebar, I am very blessed to have husband who is willing to go along with my little gardening schemes. I’m the ideas person, and he’s the one who makes it a reality for me! So, here we go again!
We decided that a nice, little 2′ by 3′ garden should suffice. I made a trip to Home Depot to get some cedar boards. I picked up an 8′ and a 12′ cedar board, 6″ wide. I had them cut it for me right there, so I had 4 pieces of 2′ and 3′ boards that easily fit into my car. We wanted the depth of the garden to be 12″, which is why we needed the extra pieces. I also picked up some organic soil which we mixed with a little peat moss.
My husband, Jack, suggested we use some corner pieces for added support.
Now, you can see how it comes together.
I always use a heavy duty landscaping fabric under our gardens. It’s amazing how it keeps the grasses, weeds, and tree roots from getting into the garden beds.
Add some good dirt! And a week later…
And two weeks later…
Voila! A 2’x3′ green bean garden for Gracie! Who knows, if all goes well and with no tummy problems, we may be able to harvest some beans for ourselves!
Although we planted only green beans in this little raised bed, we could have planted many other vegetables, herbs, or flowers. It’s a rather simple project and a raised bed this size doesn’t take up much room at all. A tiny bed like this can actually yield a fair amount of food. Soooo, whatcha waitin’ for?!
So, until next time… plant some seeds, tend to your garden, and watch it grow! Josie