Spring is here!
Everything is waking up from chilly slumber.
Time to plant something!! I'm tired of just having a few good tomato plants and a bunch of wimpy veggies that don't get enough love. It seems that my fence blocks a lot of sun most of the day so my border garden was just not working out for young veggies.
A nice box garden should be a lot better for light and fresh soil.
Tools and Materials used:
I used 8 planks of redwood fencing wood. they were about 7" wide by 6 feet long.
3 2x2" posts were about 5' long and 2 4x4" posts about 5' in length
Outdoor grade wood screws - I used stainless deck screws.
Wire fencing - a 25' roll for this box
Compost and topsoil
Pneumatic Staple gun with staples and air compressor.
Drill and screw driver
Step 1: Make a Plan
I knew we only had a small plot of land in the back yard and it was mostly lawn.
I wanted good sun, so it had to be away from the shade tree as much as possible.
I wanted the lawn mower to fit going around the box.
I wanted good access from all sides for weeding, pruning, and harvesting.
I drew up a quick sketch and came up with a box about 5 feet x 6 feet.
Step 2: Source Your Materials
We were lucky to have a recycled home building supplier close by. Even more lucky for us, they were having a huge blowout sale since they had to move.
Not so lucky for them.
These places are awesome and help our environment by not filling landfills with usable materials. Try to source recycled materials whenever possible. I think I paid about $10 for all the wood. It would have been a lot more if I bought it new.
I got a bunch of old redwood fence boards and a couple 2x2 and 4x4 posts. These boards will match our existing fence perfectly.
Step 3: Cut Your Wood
I brought my lumber to the Tech Shop in San Carlos to do my cutting and test assembly. http://www.techshop.ws
They had all the tools and plenty of space I needed in the wood shop to make all my cutting, drilling and screwing easy.
I needed (4) 5' planks and (4) 6' planks.
I found the 4 best planks and set them aside. The remaining 4 were showing signs of end rot - good thing I had 12" to work with. I cut off the rot and clean cut the ends.
Next I cut the posts. I knew the posts were going to be a bit taller to accommodate some wire fencing I had in mind.
Step 4: Assembly
You have cut your wood and laid it out. All the sides are the same length, all the ends are the same length.
I wanted all the pieces to have the rustic aged and weathered look, so it was important to have all my fresh cuts hidden. All my posts were cut once and the cut went to the ground side. The end planks are to be hidden inside the ends of the side planks. Take note that the space was left for them when attaching the corner posts.
Test assemble first and when you are happy with your layout, start screwing together.
I was worried about the wood splitting so I drilled pilot holes and then screwed the planks to the posts.
Step 5: Is It a Box?
I assembled the box in 4 pieces which would fit on my car easily. I test fit everything before leaving the Tech Shop.
Step 6: Set It Up
I got my box home and screwed it together with more stainless steel deck screws. I had marked the location of the box with bright handled screwdrivers to help with placement.
Step 7: Fill It Up!
Our local trash collection company offers compost for it's customers so we went and shoveled a few bags to add to the box.
This compost is very dark and rich - in fact it was still hot and steamed as we filled the bags. We decided to mix it down with some topsoil which came from a local garden supplier. A strong friend with a truck is very helpful here.
This is the heavy lifting part. A wheel barrow would have been nice. We used a garden bin on wheels to get the soil from the truck to the box.
Mix it together.
Let rest. You don't want to put your delicate seedlings into hot compost.... we got lucky and it rained soon after filling.
Step 8: Fence It In
I didn't want to build this as the largest litter box in the neighborhood for my cats, so a roll of fencing will be important.
Unroll and staple as you go. I used 3/4" staples and a staple gun to hold the fence in place.
This is a great deterrent for the cats, but not completely. You might consider who will be getting into your box and fence accordingly.
Step 9: Sprout Some Seeds
We chose to prepare some sprouting trays to give the seeds a head start indoors as the last of the cold weather slips away.
You can plant according to your weather. Get plants or seeds from your local nursery and be sure to talk to them about what is good to grow in your area in the lighting conditions your box is in.
Think about how you will do watering.
Think about what plants will work with each other.
Think about what plants will be taller than others and where they should be in relation to each other.
Think about planting in successive time periods... some now, some in a couple weeks and on through the season so you can monitor your production and not just have a bumper crop all at once.
Step 10: Irrigate!
I wanted to add an optional step - watering jugs. Buried jugs with holes will help get water to the underground root systems and help out during the hot summer days when surface watering may just lead to quick evaporation and damaging the plants.
Gather some plastic jugs from your recycling bin and puncture with many tiny holes on each side. keep them tiny so the water doesn't run out too fast. make many so it waters at different depths and has other options if one becomes clogged.
I painted the tops brown to help blend in with the dirt. keep the lids so your jugs don't accidentally fill with soil.
The jugs were spaced evenly in the box garden and then plants and seeds were put in after.
You can also research "ollas" - they were a traditional unglazed clay jug used in the same way.
Step 11: Planting
The garden is ready, the compost has rested, the water jugs were buried...
I chose a few potted plants to get this garden a head start and seeded the rest.
String was used to define the rows that were seeded.
The taller plants were placed on the furthest end from the light source. In my case the sun is coming from the South so my tomato cage went on the North end, while I planted my green onions and carrots on the far south end with lettuces and leafier veggies on the tomato end.
Good luck and happy gardening!!
Step 12: Harvest!!!
Water, love, repeat.
Soon you will get results worthy if munching on. My radishes were the first to be ready and wow are they tasty!
First Prize in the
Spring's Coming Contest