Friday, May 6, 2011

Our Family Garden (Part 1)

As a long-standing wanna-be gardener, I toyed with many ideas for my first round with the dirt. Because of an impending July due date and a total lack of experience, I'd decided on taking the container garden route. Matt, on the other hand, had bigger ideas.

After a bit more research and planning, we settled on building a raised garden bed. While on a larger scale than a container garden, it's still easier to control soil and water conditions than a straight-in-the-ground garden - so I skeptically agreed.

We spent a couple weeks trying to hunt down appropriately-sized cedar planks (only to find out that no one carries them in the size we needed) before finally giving up and settling on natural unfinished lumber. The price difference was worth the sacrifice!

Google came in handy here, and we used the dimensions in THIS tutorial for our garden box.

Matt purchased all of the supplies at a local hardware store (I forget which) and had them cut all of the wood and piping down to size. When he brought it all home, assembly was pretty simple! Little man helped his Daddy :)

When the basic structure was complete, hubs & our nephew (who was over to help us in the yard that day) carried the box over to it's new location. It took some digging and wiggling to get the posts buried in the ground and the box level and straight. Before long, though, it was set up and ready to go! We lined the interior with newspaper (to compost the existing grass and act as a temporary weed barrier) and topped it with what little dirt we overturned to settle the box in place.

On Earth Day (of all days!) we had a truck load of dirt delivered. We ordered Organic Topsoil, and together with our own homemade compost, we filled the bed. This was our last step for a while - we planned to just let it sit and settle. Our last frost date up here in the north is May 30th.

The posts you see sticking out are....well, up too high. They're supposed to be flush with the height of the bed. I kept telling my husband this, but he thought I was wrong. (Silly men!) Their purpose is to hold thinner, more flexible pipe that acts as a structure to support mesh that keeps the birds and animals out. Because ours is going to be so much higher, we're going to need A LOT more mesh....and we have yet to figure out how to attach it. We want something temporary and easily adjustable so we can have access to the garden, obviously. You can water through it - but not weed and prune, of course.

I'm really excited about our set up! I'm glad hubs convinced me of this. It looks nice and neat out in the yard, and everything is nicely organized and contained. There's plenty of soil and good filtration for the plants. That doesn't mean I won't ruin all of our plants with some other variable, though. The only things I can seem to keep alive are the plants that refuse to die. Practice, right?

Stay tuned :)

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