Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Putting in my new garden - Part 2

Now that I had decided that a garden MIGHT be helpful in more ways than just growing food, I had to really sit down and figure out the how.

I wanted to do it as cheaply as possible.  What I really wanted to do was buy lovely cedar and get someone to build it for me with cute posts with caps on each end.  Something like this......

However, you'll note the price on this lovely thing is $314.95 for a 2x8 bed.  Considering that the area I wanted to cover....I mean 2x40, that would mean 5 of those lovely things.  The total...$1574.74!!!!!  And that didn't include dirt or plants.

NOT quite the cheap way I'd been hoping to go.

Then I looked into pallet wood and concrete blocks.  I like the free price of the pallet wood....but not the look.  And getting enough concrete to go around an 80 square foot garden was still on the upper end of what I hoped to spend.

I did look into the fear that pallets have chemicals from pressure treating.  They used to.....YEARS ago.  The newer pallets have to be labeled.  

Finally, I settled on a half and half thing.  I decided to use wood pallets to create the back wall of the raised bed....because I am SURE that my *lovely* neighbors won't be bothered by the unattractivness of my makeshift wall.

I put in my FB status that I was looking for pallets.  Two neighbors replied and kindly even dropped them off to me.....I TOLD you the rest of my neighborhood is awesome!!!!!! I ended up with 8 total.

My sweet husband (SH) and a friend of ours spent half a day breaking them down.  SH and I tried doing it the "old fashioned" way of using a crowbar and mallet.  It took us (SH doing most of the work) an hour to get 4 pieces of wood off.  While free, I was starting to question the wisdom of using the pallets.

Then our friend stopped by to drop his son off to play with ours....our way of keeping the native happy while we were busy....two boys are more occupied than one.

He had a brilliant idea.....use a circular saw to just cut down the side of each stud.  It worked AWESOMELY.  In an hour, they got me a nice pile of pallet slats to use and a pile of the studs that we are going to use in our firepit.

Now, what to do with the wood.  I'd seen all kinds of idea, but they were mostly to build small boxes out of..

Finally, I came up with a concept.  I cut some of the pallet boards in half.  Then I hammered two of them into the ground parallel to each other, slotted the pallet boards down into it and screwed the front and back boards together with the long pallet boards in between.  The pictures below should give you some idea of how I did it.  (Please note the trash in the background of the photos is NOT on my side of the fence.)

The cut boards driven into the ground with the longer boards slotted down into the channel

A front view of the joining between two sections after the screws were put in.
A view of several assembled sections.

Top view of the wood slotted into the channel (thank heavens I had my toes painted, right?????)

It took me about 3 hours total to do 40 feet of this.  But the first hour was spent doing just the first section.....I had no idea what I was going to do when I sat down.  There are 13 sections total covering the 40 feet.  I got the remaining 12 sections done in 2 hours.  

Not bad for a crazy girl and a pile of free wood.

For the front side of the bed, I went with concrete blocks.  I picked out some that were 6x8x16.  My hope is to use the front cubbies to plant flowers and herbs.

I measured out 24 inches from the stud in the ground for my back wall and placed the cement blocks.  The 24 inches is to accommodate two rows of square foot gardening...a taller or vertical row in the back and a lower growing plant in the front.

As you'll see, some of the ground isn't even.  So I just used some of the compost dirt underneath to raise up the sections that were all crazy.

The cost for doing 40 feet on the front and the two 2-foot side walls, came to about $50.

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