This year was going to be the year that I said the heck with it and didn’t have a garden. That lasted about 2 weeks then I knew I was just kidding myself! A garden is a MUST for us! We need to be able to eat fresh green onions, cherry tomatoes, and have plants to tend over the summer. What we knew that we didn’t want anymore was the garden Super Genius and I have been struggling with since we moved here five years ago. The ground here is awful, and while our old home had clay soil as well, we had amended it and it was wonderful garden soil. I’ve tried doing the same here but this ground really doesn’t want to grow anything but weeds for us.
So, with all the talk about raised bed gardens lately, I decided we should try something new this year. We are going to test out the Square Foot Gardening method that seems so popular these days. I don’t have the book but there is a bounty of information to be found online and the premise is simple enough. Today we got a good start by building raised garden beds to hold the vegetables and herbs we plan on growing this year.
Of course, there is a bit of a start up cost with this method of gardening because of the lumber needed, but we think it will be worth it in the long run. Two 4′ x 8′ beds should produce quite a few vegetables if we do it right. The total cost for the raised beds we built was $104.00, with $67.00 being for the lumber needed for the sides.
- 3 – 2″ x 12″ x 16′ untreated boards (we had the man at Home Depot cut them all into 8′ lengths)
- 1 small box of 3″ wood screws
- 6 – 1/2″ x 10′ PVC pipe lengths
- 24 – metal pipe clips
Already on hand we had:
- 2 sheets of 4′ x 8′ plywood board
- 6 – 2″ x 6″ x 8′ boards (scrap leftovers)
- Garden Twine (for making grid – will do after soil)
- flat thumbtacks (for making grid- will do after soil)
The construction of the beds is extremely simple. We cut two of the 8′ boards from Home Depot into four 45″ lengths (for the ends). Then we pre-drilled three holes at the ends of each of the long 8′ side pieces and screwed these to the the 45″ end pieces to form a box.
Then we placed a sheet of plywood on the bottom of each box and attached with 1 1/2″ screws all along the sides. Since our raised beds are being made to be portable, we wanted them to sit off the ground just a bit. We screwed three 2″ x 6″ x 8′ boards, evenly spaced, onto the bottom of each of the boxes.
To make sure our raised gardens have good drainage we used a 1/4″ paddle bit and drilled holes (one per every square foot) into the plywood bottoms before turning the boxes upright.
Something I have always wanted to build was a cold frame so I thought why not make my raised beds do double duty. We attached 2 metal pipe clips (make sure they fit your PVC!) onto each outside corner, and in the center of, each of the bed sides. Six 1/2″ PVC pipes make the perfect hoop frames for plastic row covers so we can extend our growing season. They can removed and stored when not needed too!
All that’s left now is to purchase our soil. I am thinking of getting some good mushroom compost, horse manure for raised beds, or something similar to fill them with. I’ll keep you updated and will also share our garden plan when I have it all plotted out! Hopefully we’ll have some seeds and plants in by next weekend if we don’t get rained out! What are your gardening goals this year?