Wednesday, 1 June 2011
Not Enough Room for Food?
Although my yard is more than most when it comes to providing, it is lacking in space for annual plantings of vegetables. I have my west garden which is large and protected from wind, but it is limited to only 3 hours of sun per day. Not enough for a plant. Then I have my shed garden which gets over 7 hours of light each day, good drainage and is fairly sheltered. Problem though, is last year I grew tomatoes in this particular garden, and last year was terrible for blight! So I was lost at where to plant my tomatoes because my west garden is too shady and my shed garden was too blighty. Solution! I built myself my own garden boxes! Now, Home and Garden Centres are more than stocked with these prefabricated items, BUT they cost anywhere from $100 - $300. To save money (and give myself something to do) I decided to build them myself. It is convenient when your husband works for a business that has a warehouse, with said warehouse having wood pallets to dispose of. So I got four wood pallets, brought them home and (to the best of my ability) pulled the nails out of them, and piled up some pieces of wood. I had spent the previous evening drawing out my plants for how large I wanted them, and researched how deep they needed to be. The first garden box design was for 48"L x 20"W x 12" D. The second garden box design was for 48"L x 36"W x 12"D. I knew my final product would not be this exact but I needed something to be based off of. I would build four corner posts, screw in the side slates, then add support beams for the bottom, and finally screw in the bottom slates. For those who have never used a circular saw before, I highly recommend it (with the use of ear plugs though).
Once the frames were built, I needed to them water proof it. So good old Google assisted in my purchaser of foundation coating and primer to use as the inner waterproofing. I destroyed a good paint brush in the process but it was well worth the death (God rest its soul). Now because the wood I used was not perfect, nor am I near perfect, I needed to cut out landscaping fabric to line the inside to prevent the soil from escaping. A handy note is to ensure that you have staples for your staple gun or else the process of tacking on landscaping fabric becomes cumbersome. Then same the tedious task of transporting purchased top soil from the back of my truck one pail at a time to my garden boxes. Luckily, I have a very ingenious husband who loaded up our garbage bin on wheels for easier and faster transport. The last step was to plant!
So, I have one garden box that is housing 12 roma tomato plants, accompanied by marigolds for pest prevention, while the smaller garden box is housing 6 sweet red pepper plants. I was hoping to build a second box to grow pole beans on, but after the work it took to build these two (that and the fact that I noticed I bought a package of bush beans not pole beans when I got home), I will attempt it next summer. All in all, these garden boxes cost me $30 in rust proof screws, $10 in foundation coating and primer (which I still have over half a can of), and $25 in top soil. Together, probably about $70 (including one purchase of a Starbucks iced latte of course) for two garden boxes that will last probably about 10 years if I tend them properly. Not only did I save myself a couple hundred dollars, it was a good learning experience and lots of fun.