Jewel Sample raised garden

Jewel Sample explains how she and her husband, Chuck, came up with the idea of converting a canopy bed to a raised garden using bags of soil. 

Jewel Sample, of Stillwater, built a senior citizen friendly garden amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“It started out with me finding a YouTube video of a man planting lettuce seeds in a bag of miracle grow and setting it on his patio,” Sample said.

Sample got the idea that she may be able to use the same method with other produce seeds. So she created a raised bed garden. Sample and her husband, Chuck, made the garden high enough so that Sample wouldn’t have to kneel down to plant in the garden.

“I had two knee replacements and I can’t kneel anymore,” Sample said.

Sample decided that a wooden bed wouldn’t be as efficient for this process and would ultimately take longer to build.

“If we would have had to make it from wood, it would have taken a lot longer taking measurements and everything,” Sample said.

Sample got lucky and stumbled across the perfect bed to create this project.

“It was in March when I found this queen sized bed that’s metal at Habitat for Humanity. I purchased it along with some bricks and we brought it home,” Sample said.

Sample said it took about a week to build before she started planting.

“Once we put the expendable wire on it, then the rest of it just fell in place,” Sample said. “We did have to adjust the bricks.”

Chuck went to Lowe’s and purchased multiple bags of soil that would be used for the garden.

“My husband went to Lowe’s and purchased about 14 bags of soil. We used I think 13 of them and we just laid them as close together as we could get them,” Sample said.

By laying the bags close to one another, Sample was able to plant more vegetables.

Sample said she has always had a love for gardening since she was a child. In 2015, due to some issues, Sample and her husband stopped gardening.

This was the first time the two of them have gardened since then.

Once the planting began, the process became experimental.

“A lot of this is experimental, because I’m not sure how good the root system is gonna go into the bag,” Sample said. “There is four inches of soil through the bad and we get along with having that amount, as long as there is plenty of water.”

This garden has been a great outlet for Sample during the current pandemic.

“The coronavirus came about and I didn’t get too worried about not having food. I was more worried about questioning when I would have it since I didn’t go to the store as often,” Sample said. “That is when we started this and figured out a way to get through the coronavirus pandemic and being able to be self-sufficient.”

Sample didn’t want to have to rely on someone to go to the store every couple of days to get produce for her. She loves to have produce at her meals, so having this garden benefitted her in this time.

Due to health concerns, Sample isn’t able to do her normal everyday activities. This garden has been therapeutic for her.

“This is an actual choice that I made to focus on something else,” Sample said. “Then your day feels normal instead of focusing on the fact that you can’t go anywhere.”

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