|Patti Douglas "Raised Bed Queen"|
Born and bred in Michigan, Patti was raised on fresh fruits and vegetables from her mother's cooking to produce from an aunt and uncle's farm within biking distance. The seeds of her appreciation for good food and how to grow it were obviously sown in her childhood years.
In 1973, Patti moved to Steamboat Springs, Colorado to ski and lived the mountain life which always included gardening. She moved to the Denver metro area in 1983, attended massage school, got married and had a “darling daughter”, gardening all the while. Today, Patti still maintains an active Lymphatic Massage practice and teaches Yoga and Tai Chi. If that's not enough, she is also an artist and a rug braider.
There are many benefits to raised bed gardening. Soil problems such as clay soils, or soil with poor drainage can be avoided by incorporating top soil and five percent organic matter to the native soil of a raised bed. Soil compaction in the planting area is eliminated with walkways between beds. By using soaker hoses or drip irrigation in a raised bed reduces water consumption is lowered and contained within the growing area. Mulching raised beds with grass clippings and walkways with wood chips conserves moisture yet reduces weed growth Raised beds heat up faster in spring, thereby allowing earlier planting than in an open garden. The retained heat and protection raised beds provide allows gardening into late fall and early winter by covering with glass, plastic or shade cloth . These benefits along with higher yields, raised bed gardening is also an ideal gardening method for small yards and is handicapped accessible.
Patti's raised bed gardens and a 20'x20' community garden plot produce an abundance of food. Not only does she raise food for her family, she generously gives food to neighbors, a local food bank and all visitors. “No one leaves my home without something from the garden.” Family and friends can hardly wait for Christmas time when they receive Patti's gift baskets of onions, garlic, sweet carrots, homemade jams, honey, and in a really good year a melon. “You know you are special if you make it onto the melon list”.
Patti’s garden is one of the featured gardens on the Jefferson County Master Gardeners’ Home Grown Garden Tour July 31, from 10:00 am. to 3:00 p.m. For more information about the annual garden tour, call 303-271-6620 or check http://jeffcogardener.blogspot.com for a brochure and map of the tour.
More information about raised bed gardening can be found at http://www.ext.colostate.edu/ptlk/1812.html .