I said in the beginning that I would make mistakes and hoped you would learn from them and this far into the project I have discovered a few mistakes and also some benefits. As usual, click each photo for a better view.
The purpose of this project was to use the garden for stress reduction and to practice what I preach on my main website about active rest and problem solving on a smaller scale. The raised garden has lived up to my expectations because it illustrates that anyone can do it at a fairly low cost, after working on it I feel tired but it is a good tired where I have used my entire body and not sat at a desk, and the low risk problem solving has increased my confidence that I could survive the zombie apocalypse. Well maybe...
One of the first things I've learned I did wrong was not digging out the space for the boxes and using the bear ground. Digging out the space allows you to level the ground. This became clear once I watered the dirt and all the water shifted to one side. It meant I had to undo all my great dirt smoothing and have one side higher than the other to make sure the water flowed evenly over the box. The bottom of the first box now has a little less dirt on one side. I was lucky the second box was level. I know that because I used a level to make sure. Just be aware, quick and easy can come back to bite you!
I've also learned one of the great advantages of the raised box garden is that it requires very little water, and your garden becomes almost like a house plant. The soil stays moist with about a gallon of water every few days even in the Florida sun, that is great for the size of my boxes.
Rather than using the box for one type of vegetable I plan to use the "Square Foot Gardening" approach where the box is divided into squares and one type plant is in each square. It makes gardening very simple and yields enough without being overwhelmed with too much produce. Plants that vine are supported and grow "up" rather than "out", which also saves space.
I did a test plant of a few seedlings just to see how they did before I filled each box. So far so good, and both boxes are now ready to go. Three of my Dollar Store seeds did not come up so I will try again with extra packets when the moon is once again full (it worked so well the first time) and I should be ready to go.
Next installment: Planting in the boxes