While walking home from dinner one evening, we ran into a Little Tikes car bed frame on the street for the taking. We immediately started quoting the car bed scene from Grandma's Boy. We looked at each other in awe at this rad find, decided we didn't have room for it in our tiny apartment, and were bummed that we couldn't take it home. Then Matt exclaimed, "Let's use it as a veggie box!"
And the Car-den was born.
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Step 1: You'll Need
-A Car Bed frame or other found object that's garden-bed appropriate
-Weed blocking cloth or mesh if you've got gophers/moles--available at any nursery/some hardware stores
-Soil, plus any amendments your soil needs (compost, pearlite, fertilizer, etc)
-Veggies (seeds or sprouts)
-Bumper stickers, silver spraypaint etc. for pimping your Car bed
-Tools: shovel, rake, trowel, etc.
Car beds are expensive new, but if you can luck into some other strong enclosure, you can do this very cheaply. We have a dream of a backyard full of found-object vegetable beds. Anyone have a cast iron tub they're looking to get rid of? :-)
Since there's no construction of the box, this project can easily get set up in an afternoon.
Step 2: Site, Level and Lay Ground Cover
With the exception of the awesome enclosure, the rest of this Instructable is straightforward vegetable gardening. If you're a newbie like me, read on:
Site your box in an area with at least six hours of full sunlight/day if you're planting mixed vegetables.
Measure your bed, level out the ground underneath if needed, and lay the groundcloth/mesh below where your bed is going. Use the stakes to secure groundcloth.
Step 3: Place and Fill Bed
Place your Car bed over the ground cover and fill it with your soil + amendments. Mix it up and level it out.
Our moist but sandy soil needed 2 bags of Amend, one of pearlite (to aerate the soil) and one of Peat Moss (for nutrients.) The vegetables love this mix and are going nuts. We planted some "control" veggies in a different area of the yard straight into the soil, and the Carden veggies are kicking their butts in terms of growth rate and general healthiness/happiness.
Step 4: Plant
We've got tomatoes, zucchini and peppers. Car beds are pretty tiny, so if you have an existing veggie garden and need a place for a bigger crop (raspberry bushes? tomatoes? strawberries?) this would make an excellent bed for a single crop. For us, it's our only shot at summer veggies so we packed it pretty tight--we'll have some thinning to do when these guys start to take off.
UPDATE: Our zucchini is doing so well that we're repotting the peppers. We originally planted 6 zucchini plants but thinned it to 4. As the Carden grows, it only gets more fun to look at.
Step 5: Pimp
Add stickers, chrome the wheels, etc. Then lay back and enjoy your summer of homegrown produce!
Finalist in the