Woot woot, little dance, little dance! Oh yes, I’ve finally got my garden. Or as I like to call it, Vegetable Fort Knox. That actually may be giving it too much credit, and if groundhogs can read blogs it may just taunt them enough to break in. So let me take that back. But hey, so far so good on the vegetable front. They’re growing and despite a few little bug nibbles here and there, they’re looking pretty darn good. Let’s talk about how it all came to be before the big reveal, shall we?
First things first, we had to pick a spot. On the south side of our house there’s a little nook next to our driveway that gets great sun and had enough space for a 8′ x 7′ raised bed. We had tried a vegetable garden in the ground there last year and if it weren’t for the Great Critter Buffet of 2010 we may have gotten some good veggies. So we cleared the ground and tried to level it out as best as we could.
We started with building 3 separate raised beds out of cedar with the help of The Pioneer Woman’s tutorial that we fit together in a U shape. We built two that were 6′ x 2′ and one that was 7′ x 2′. This would leave us 3′ in the middle to move around and tend to all the vegetables. We set them in place and lined them all with hardware cloth on the bottom to make sure no tricky critters would be able to dig underneath.
After we got them level, lined and in place we had to set the 4×4 cedar posts at the corners so that we’d have something to attach the fence to. This is where we turned to QuietMan’s tutorial on the doityourself forums. We really should have listened to him about notching out the wood to bolt in the posts but we didn’t and it caused some issues. Eventually we got them upright but not without serious sweat. Another thing we should have anticipated was that the stakes we attached the sides of the beds to would interfere with the posts. It would have been easier if we kept them away from the corners. Hindsight right?
Ok, moving on. How the heck do you fill 3 large raised beds with soil? I’ll tell you what you don’t do. You don’t order 3 cubic feet of organic soil and have it dumped halfway up your driveway at 10am on a rainy Sunday. You don’t let the truck driver take out a tree on the way into the driveway. And you don’t order 3 cubic feet when your garden only holds 1. Stupid minimums. So, who needs some soil?
After a full day of shoveling and hauling the beds were filled. We also put some gravel in the middle to keep weeds down and make it look all purty though you won’t see it in the next picture just yet. I should also mention that under the gravel we laid down some chicken wire. Again, to keep out any little tunnel diggers.
The last step of the project was to add the fence. Cue the tears and the cursing. This might have been the most frustrating portion of the whole thing. No matter how we measured or how many times we measured the boards just never seemed to line up. So we’ve got some gaps that we need to attend to. We also plan to close off the vertical gap between the posts and the fence with some thin strips of wood to make it look a bit cleaner. But for now, everything is standing and our veggies have been safe. Woohoo! It only took us about 3 months, countless trips to Home Depot, sore hands, bruised backs and tears to complete but boy are we happy it’s (almost) done. Eric’s parents were seriously saints lending hands and tools whenever needed. We’re kinda proud. It was our first really big DIY project and it doesn’t look half bad. Right?