Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Raised Bed Construction Commences!

I've been itching to get the raised beds in since it's great weather for growing spinach, peas, and onions. Raised beds are great for a couple of reasons. First, the soil doesn't get trampled so it isn't compacted as quickly. Second, it allows you to plant even when you're not too sure about the quality of the soil on your property. We're close enough to an old steel mill in Hazelwood that I'd rather be safe than sorry. Finally, you can produce much more in a smaller space than you could with traditional row gardening.

My wonderful father lent us his little pickup truck for the next month so we can haul lumber, dirt, and anything else that doesn't fit on my back or in Alex's tiny car.

The materials:

1) UNTREATED lumber (that pressure treated stuff is toxic and you have to line the beds, which is extra work and extra plastic) ; for each 4x8 bed we used 3 - 2x8s and a bunch of 2x4s cut into 18inch pieces
2) Long screws; we used 3 1/2 inchers

The day after we got the lumber Alex worked. Day two I worked. Day three was a thunder storm with hail that pummeled my new herb garden. Day four Alex finally began the project while I was at work. We were so close! But alas, the screwdriver bit on our drill was just too stripped to attach the final leg and the screws are really too big to do by hand. Alex heads out of town today so this project will have to wait a while. I'm not strong enough to lift the whole thing myself and position it in the side yard (which gets the best sunlight.)

Still, the incomplete bed is looking pretty snazzy, amiright?

The legs will be buried underground and then we'll fill the bed with compost and good organic soil. We'll be experimenting with the Square Foot Gardening technique this year (which you can learn more about here.)

In other gardening news, the strawberries are bearing the tiniest little fruits. Cauliflower and Collard Greens are looking great. Some little critter is nibbling the leaves of the brussel sprouts.

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