Saturday, May 21, 2011

We Build a Garden

Today was a beautiful day outside, so we took advantage of the nice weather to finally build our garden. We decided to make the garden 8'x4' and two 2x6's tall. USE UNTREATED WOOD!! You don't want the chemicals from pressure treated wood seeping into your vegetables!

Step 1: R cut two of the 2x6's in half. Those 4 pieces became the end pieces. Measure 18" lengths on the 2x3 and cut 6 pieces. Also cut 4 24" pieces, and cut the ends so they come to a point. While he was doing that, I used a measuring tape and marked out the location in the yard. We chose a spot that basically has direct sun all day long.
Step 2: Using 3 2 1/2" screws, screw a 2x3 posts into the center of the shorter 2x6's. Do the same for the pointed 2x3's at the ends using 3 1/2" screws. Dig two holes in the ground at either end of this wall and lower the pointed ends into the ground. Use a hammer or mallet if necessary. Make sure that the dirt is packed down around the posts.
Step 3: Install two 18" 2x3's on the two longer sides and then screw them onto the posts on the first end.
Step 4: Repeat Step 2 for the final end. We made our garden level (even though our yard slopes down here), but it isn't necessary. As long as the top of the walls all line up you will be okay.
We have two resident groundhogs and a bunch of bunnies, so we had to take them into account when planning the garden. They're too cute for us to take measures to get rid of them (the #1 way online to get rid of groundhogs is a shotgun... that is just not acceptable in this house!). So instead, we took measures to make sure they couldn't get in the garden.
Step 5: Cover the bottom of the garden with a roll of chicken wire. This will prevent the groundhog from tunneling up into the garden.
Step 6: Cover the chicken wire with weed fabric. This isn't necessary, but we will definitely appreciate it when there is little to no weeding to do! We used a staple gun to secure the wire and fabric.
Step 7: Fill garden with dirt. We used free composted soil that our town provides (it is made from the leaves the town picks up every fall) for the bottom two-thirds. On top of that we added 2 large bags of vegetable garden soil we bought at a home improvement store. Rake the top to mix the soil around a little bit. We also added a little lime.
Step 8: Install metal fence posts at the edges and in the middle of the longer sides. We used a metal garden fence which came in a roll and very easily attached to the posts. The fence is adjustable and can also be opened easily when we need to access the garden. But most importantly it keeps out our groundhog friends.

Walls and Posts: (6) 2x6's, (2) 2x3's - $33
Chicken Wire, Fencing, Garden Soil, Weed Fabric - $78
Vegetable Plants: Watermelon, Cucumber, Tomatoes - $4
Vegetable Plants: Tomatoes, Squash, Beets, Beans, Broccoli, Strawberries, Raspberries, Pumpkins - $0 (from my dad)

Total Cost: $115 (which shocked me at first, but then when I really thought about it the $33 and $78 will be spread out for many many years. We really only spent $4 for all of our summer vegetables, which is how much we would pay for vegetables for one meal from the grocery store)

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