February 27, 2019

Illinois Becky's
Inspiring Minibed Garden

Becky's Minibed Garden in 2018
It was late in 2016 when, after decades of trying so many other gardening methods, I developed a new system for gardening. At first, I called it Minibeds-on-Plastic. I now call it Minibed Gardening.

At first glance, Minibed gardening doesn't look like anything all that unique. The casual observer would only see plastic mulch and some small beds. So, what's the big deal?

Well, the big deal is in how the beds are laid out and managed. I call it high-culture. High culture is all about focused attention on the health of the soil, and providing optimum conditions for plants to thrive. There's a lot more to it than meets the eye.

For the past two years I have had a Minibed experimental garden. I have put my initial ideas into practice. I've seen them prove to be sound, productive, and profoundly satisfying.

But what is even more satisfying to me is seeing others take the Minibed gardening idea and put it to good use. Such is the case with the garden in the photo above. Becky M. lives in northern Illinois, about an hour southwest of Chicago (zone 5). She sent me that beautiful photo above with the following comment...
"I bought your garden book and the first update and last year I converted my garden to minibeds.  Wow.  I had a few bumps along the road and I learned from them but for the most part, my 45 mini-beds were a huge success.  I'm 66 with bad knees and the weeding my traditional row garden required almost made me give up gardening completely.  I'm so glad I got your book and took the plunge!"
Becky's Minibed garden puts my garden to shame. Here are a couple more pictures from her first year of Minibed gardening (you can click on the pictures to see enlarged views)...

Here are some "before" photos of the same garden in the spring, after getting the plastic and Minibed frames in place...

And here's a final photo from Becky...

 Now, if all of that doesn't inspire you to get gardening this spring, I don't know what will. 

The way I look at it, gardening is one of the most positive and productive things you can do in a world full of such craziness and uncertainty. 


With your Minibed gardening success and satisfaction in mind I have recently (just yesterday) finished putting together a new Minibed gardening resource...

The Minibed Gardening Trilogy is a collection of my yearly Minibed gardening reports (2017-2019). It has 130 pages and 250 photos. It explains the history, the theory, and the best practices of my Minibed gardening system. 

This new resource is formatted as a pdf download. The price is $17.95. But I have put it on sale until March 16 for only $12.95. Click Here to order.

If you want to learn more about the Minibed gardening system before purchasing the Trilogy, Click Here to go to the Minibed Gardening web site.


NOTE: If you have purchased the previous yearly reports from me, you already have the first two thirds of this trilogy, and you should have received and e-mail with information about purchasing just the 30-page 2019 Minibed Gardening update (priced at $2.95). If you did not get the e-mail, contact me at  herrick@planetwhizbang.com and I'll send you the details.


  1. Elizabeth L. Johnson said, My, oh, my, Becky's minibed garden is absolutely gorgeous. I feel for Becky and her 66 yr old knees, for my 62 yr old knees have been giving me fits for a few years. But, then the ketogenic diet came along just when my husband and I were at our most miserable. Increasing high amounts of good oils has been a God-send from the Lord. And Dr. Colbert's "The Keto-Zone" book, as well. No joking. I'm alert in my brain, and my joints, mostly my knees do not hurt. I feel years younger. I, also, want to get my minibed garden going this year for the first time. But, I will still sit down next to each bed to do my work. The plastic will protect me, and will stop a million weeds. I can't wait to see my water bill, substantially lower, way low. I'm so excited after receiving the new Minibed Garden report and also seeing Becky's beautiful garden. All these are VERY encouraging. My husband is in rotten physical shape, and I must depend only on me, and I don't know how to use a saw for the frames, among other things. It's all up to me, and I'm determined. Thanks, Herrick, for this blog entry full of encouragement!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Hi Elizabeth,

      I'm excited for you to try the Minibed gardening system, especially since you are in a much different growing region than me. Becky's husband helped her get their Minbed garden established. Perhaps you could have the lumberyard where you get the frame material cut all the sides to exactly 28-1/2". Most will do that sort of thing for a small charge.

      Marlene (my wife) is currently very much into the keto diet. At first it was Whole 30. Now keto. She is working to get her triglycerides down without using prescription drugs. And there are other benefits (like losing weight). I'm not even sure what a triglyceride is but I'm benefitting from her diet to some degree (since she keeps me fed), though I still have some carb foods. She hasn't heard of "the Keto Zone" and will look it up.

      Thanks for the comment.

  2. Thanks for featuring our garden, Herrick! I totally agree - a garden is a statement of faith in the midst of a world gone amok. Pete and I converted to a whole food plant based diet a year ago so our garden became more than "just a hobby". We've both lost 30 pounds and feel great. Also, your Whizbang garden book and the trilogy of annual updates are worth every penny - you've put an amazing amount of work into them and packed them with information we would have a hard time finding ourselves. Sooooo thankful for all you do to encourage and inspire us!

    1. Well said, and thanks again, Becky, for being so generous with your pictures.

  3. Hi Herrick, Just got to read this post a few minutes ago. I hadn't realized that the 2018 report was already out! If I go to the planet Whizbang site can I down load it from there? I have the first one.

    I have three beds in the HT full of disguarded stiff neck garlic bulbs my son found on the side of the road! They are doing fantastic. Also tried overwintering two beds in there under a couple bags full of leaves on top of each. It has been unbelievable. Whenever I need a carrot or two I just move a bag of leaves and dig up what I want. The tops have separated from them so I have to use a fork to get them out.

    Just had my first bell pepper plant poke up his nose this AM. They are in plug trays of 36 holes and will be put into 4" pots when they get two real leaves. Got 6 early cabbage 'cooking' also for early eating.

    As you can tell I am in that antsy stage where it is hard to keep fingers out of the dirt. Had a whole large pot of dirt turn into a nice zinnia volunteer display! They are just now starting to open the buds! A guy gave me four started Avacado seeds last fall about 3-4inches TALL. After transplanting them into 18" synthetic pots, they are at about four feet and branching out everywhere! Don't know what I'll do with them if they keep heading for full sized trees!

    Think I'll be cutting back on my gardens this year as I tripped over 80 YO this past October, and am still recovering from a recent gall bladder removal episode. Besides all that, I am just getting lazy I guess!

    Take care, and hope this thing goes to you instead of off into the ether like all my others this winter! Best regards, Everett

    1. Hi Everett,
      I think I sent a notice to your old e-mail. You should have received another e-mail from me since posting this. You were the first person that I know of to make a Minibed garden. My wife would love it if I could grow avacados. Here's wishing you a healthy year with productive Minibeds.