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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Family, love and DIY very basic raised beds for gardening

My husband has been working absolutely insane hours for a few months now. So when he knew he was getting 2 days off in a row and the weather was more than decent, we spent the time working on various projects.

Mostly in my yard. On May 17th it snowed, then we had several days of freezing rains and rain/snow then all the sudden, it got BEAUTIFUL! Just in time for my husband to have those days off and for me to get the rest of my seeds in the ground.

Monday we went and borrowed my dad's truck to pick up soil and lumber for 2 very basic raised beds. The beds are built to my specifications, which means I can sit comfortably on the ground out of side of them and not have to bend to reach. That way it's less likely that gardening will cause strain on my back and knees. They are long and narrow. After some consideration, he decided very simple boxes that he could dissemble in fall made the most sense. So each bed took 2 10 foot long 6x2s and 2 feet worth of 2x2s.

Quick tips if you want to build similar easy beds- we found the 2x2s in the scrap wood section of our local hardware store, one at a 47 inch length was enough for 2 beds and only 50 cents. Remember that a 6x2 isn't actually 6 inches wide. It's actually 5.5 inches. You can also get the lumber rough cut when you buy it, since these are very quick raised beds and nothing fancy, rough cut worked out just fine and meant they went together very quickly once we got home. Adjust measurements as needed for your own beds.

So we got 2 feet cut off of each 2 x 6, and had the 2x2 cut into 5.5 inch lengths (the 2x2, if your curious, is actually 1.5 x 1.5 inches) and that gave us the pieces we needed for each bed.

 Then it was time to put them together. He started by using the impact driver and long screws to create the frame with the 2x6s, then he reinforced each corner with the 2x2s, screwing through the boards into the 2x2s.
Each of these 8x2 feet beds takes 6 cubic feet of soil. We laid down newspaper first to help prevent the grass from coming through in an eco-friendly way. The 3 layers of newspaper will decompose over the summer so roots can go through it if necessary.

Then William, TG and I seeded both beds with annuals. Carrots, peas, lettuce, spinach, various herbs, and several kinds of radishes! We built trellises for the peas using dowels to create tripods, then wrapping those with a very open mesh.

Check out this happy robin who was enjoying the sun as much as we were.

My husband also dug up a couple of the smaller offshoots from the big wild rose bush on the wooded vacant lot near our house to plant them in front of our place for me, and he grilled asparagus, mushrooms and cod for dinner last night. YUM YUM!

The day we went out for the wood, we stopped by Arctic Roadrunner for lunch, they are an Anchorage institution and I recommend them if you are in the area if you like burgers and milkshakes. They have 2 locations, and one of them is right on Campbell Creek, so if you eat outside, you can see the creek as you eat.
This was the sign there. (I'll post this to my Facebook page so you can share it)


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