Thursday, April 19, 2012

Building Your Stake

One of our projects for this spring has been to build a third garden bed. Our 2, 4x6 beds, gave us a nice amount of food last year, that is, it gave us enough to eat, but not really much for saving so we decided to expand a bit.  I wanted to grow a few additional items, in hopes of being able to save some food for freezing and canning. So until the weekend before last this is what our "garden" looked like.

But then my handy man husband went out and picked up 4 10 ft 2x8's and got to work cutting the lumber to make a third bed that would run perpendicular to the other two and would be 11 feet long and 2 feet wide. Why these weird proportions you ask? There is a reason! This part of our yard is the only area that isn't covered by the tree's shade for a large portion of the day. If we made it any wider than 2 feet it probably wouldn't get any sun.  Basically, we are utilizing the last of the good vegetable gardening real estate we have.

After cutting the pieces to size Chris anchored them together with 2 L brackets in each corner.

And then he reinforced that by putting a few screws on the outside of the corners. I stood by and shouted words of encouragement like, "nice biceps!" 

Ta-da! That was probably the easier part. And the total cost, $26! Not bad, not bad at all!!

Next up, the soil needed to be removed and then the box needed to be filled with a happy and  healthy compost and soil mixture.

As fun as that part was (for Chris), I failed to take any photos, so now we are now going to move on to the next task. Which is to stake out the beds in preparation for sowing seeds. I have two options for you. We will call them year one option and year two option. Either way it helps to draw little ticks marks along the edges of your bed at 1 foot intervals so you can stake away later without having to measure as you go.

Year one option is to break up scraps of wood and tie strings around them, like so...

The nice thing about year one option is that when you are ready to take them out of the beds you can wrap them up and store them away to reuse next year. This made for fairly quick work this year since they were all already made, but it was not so quick last year. The one thing I don't like is that these guys can be kinda hard to get to stay in place as there really is nothing holding them down. But they do the job, no question there.

Year two option is my new favorite option because it was quick and easy work. I tied a loose loop with my string and laid the not knotted part over my tick mark, like so...

Then I used my handy little staple gun and told that string who was boss by stapling it into place.  

Sinch the knot around the staple...

Then pull the string taught to the opposite side of the bed and staple it down. If you get the staple fully into the wood it is surprisingly secure and you won't have to worry about it going anywhere.

The end result is three beds all staked and ready to be sown with seeds and plants. Year two option, which I used on the new bed, actually hovers above the dirt instead of sitting on it. I don't think this is better or worse, but one or the other might cater to an individuals preference. Also, it just looks a lot cleaner. 

This past Sunday I even sowed some seeds, from left to right we have two square feet each of Kale, Spinach,  Lettuce & Mesclun Greens. The Mesclun greens are new this year and replaced the Swiss Chard from last year. Turns out, I wasn't as into Swiss Chard as I thought I would be. No loss though!

Oh, and out in the front yard, we have the first sign of life sprouting up near our bean pole. I planted some seeds out there weeks ago but with the cold snap nothing ever happened. I guess they were just waiting till now to do their thing. (Disclaimer - this photo is from last summer - perhaps you already realized that since there are no day lilies planted at the curb side).

So, have you planted anything out doors yet? Is anything starting to pop up? Or did you do that weeks ago and already begun to harvest your first bits of food??

1 comment:

  1. More advice? keep the battery on your gun charged.

    I see I had the battery charged gun at the prep, but had to run the extendo chord out with the electric to actually accomplish the task. alas.