A site about our home, doing it yourself, science in schools, and the ramblings of a girl who appreciates a joy in her life.

Friday, May 25

Building Raised Garden Beds

As part of our backyard makeover, we really wanted to incorporate a larger more specific garden area. What do I mean by that? Well I really wanted a better place to grow plants that was easier to weed. I hate weeding, and weeds, pulling out the little buggers when they won't come out. See, they make me really angry. Anyways, in the last couple of posts, I showed how we made out nice little garden fence. We mapped out building 4 large square garden beds, and two long rectangle garden beds. Here is a really basic drawing I threw together with paint. Yes, I know it's silly looking, but it's the best I can do on my netbook, while I am running samples for my Master's thesis.
The tan boxes are the garden beds we are going to put in. Each box takes about 1/2 a yard of dirt. We liked this plan because it allows access to all sides of the boxes and easier weeding. We made the boxes in several different shifts because we were really tired with work and then I got sick. I did take some pictures though, so I thought I would share on how we made our garden boxes with you. 
We went to Home Depot and purchased 6 8ft long cedar boards. To make the square boxes, we had them the six boards down to 4ft long pieces. To make the rectangle boxes, we had them cut a 2ft section, leaving behind a 6 ft section. Having them cut at Home Depot meant it was easier to fit in the car, however, they did not do the most exact job the two times we went, so we made sure to lay out the boxes first and fit the lengths so they looked right. Home Depot generally got it close. 


We drilled two holes into each board on one end to help the screws go in better. We then put the boards in a square and attached two screws to each side.



We made sure to offset the board sides for each row to add some stability. I thought that it also made the box look more put together too. The ends were a little rough, but since they are just going to be outside, we thought that it would be fine.

To help the rows of boards stay together, we sunk a two holes on the top of each side, then sunk a screw down into them until it joined the board below it. We did this to rows, 3 into 2, and 2 into 1. We left the top of 1 without any holes so it looked smooth.



We moved the boxes into the backyard and then loaded them with about 1/2 a yard of dirt. We choose compost/soil/mushroom compost mix that was recommended by the guy at our local garden store. We are lucky, because there is a local garden store right down the road from our house, which is about all the distance our little truck can go with a yard of dirt.
We filled the boxes with strawberries, tomatoes, and broccoli.  So far everything is growing great. We have big spaces between the fence boards and Tesla can get her head through them. However, she just seems to sniff things and then leave them alone. In fact she only really goes over there when we are over there. We still need to fill in the space around the boxes with gravel and our homemade stepping stones. We have been so busy we have not gotten around to it yet. Soon though, soon!



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