Back From The Show & Ready To Go

I would hope that many of you had a chance to attend the Northwest Flower and Garden show this last week. It is always a highlight of the month for me and a great way to get me into the mood for gardening again. It never fails that I don't come home with some new plant or gadget that I just have to have to make my life complete and this year was no different. Let me introduce you to the "M Brace". 

The "M Brace" is a product created by one Jill Plumb, a retired teacher of 28 years and owner of Art of the Garden in Woodland California (which ironically is where I used to work at a garden center back in the mid 70's). Here is what she has to say about her product: 

"Art of the Garden was started around one central idea: Create a way to make raised garden beds that EVERYONE can assemble and enjoy. This was accomplished with the invention of the M Brace®, "Simply Embrace Your Garden", a set of four recycled steel braces that creates a raised garden by simply sliding any sized lumber into the braces. I believe gardens are places where good things happen. Every garden is a place of growth and renewal, inviting us to connect with the natural world. When we dig our hands into the dirt, we are creating a space where ALL things are possible, encouraging us to Grow Beautifully in every aspect of our lives!" 

Raised gardening is a fantastic way to grow veggies and while there are many ways to build a raised bed this system is so simple that the ladies out there won't have to wait for the man of the house to build it for her. The brackets come in many designs so not only is this system functional but it is also decorative. All that you have to do is level the site and drop the boards into the brackets. As you can see from the picture two 2 X 6's work well or you could also use one 2 by 12 or three 2 x 4's. Cedar will last the longest as will treated lumber but for the price good old Douglas Fir or Hemlock work just fine. 

The "M Brace" comes in a box of 4 brackets and retails for around $99 which is really only $25 a bracket. And when you consider that they are as much garden art as they are functional it is a great deal. You can purchase the M Brace directly from the website or from several local garden centers where you can also get good advice on what kind of soil and fertilizer to use and info on what to plant when for the northwest. With a few pieces of PVC and some pipe straps you can also turn these into cloches to get a jump on the growing season. 

Although it is still colder than you know what out there February is not too early to get the building projects out of the way and even get some early veggies started. If you are in the market for a raised bed system that won't break the bank, is easy to install and looks attractive then consider the M Brace. I was impressed and I think you will be too. 

Steve Smith is owner of Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville and can be reached at the nursery at 425-334-2002 or email at