Friday, July 17, 2009

Eat Your Front Lawn! #3

Now that I had covered the entire yard with cardboard to kill off the weeds and grass, it was time to build some garden boxes. I chose to build garden boxes out of reclaimed wood from the local Habitat for Humanity store. Their materials have been taken out of buildings being demolished or refurbished. I scooped out the store a couple of weekends till I saw the size wood I wanted. I went online and compared buying wood from Lowe's and Home Depot. No comparison in price!

There are as many ways to build garden boxes as people who build them. I would have preferred to have boxes that were almost waist height so I wouldn’t have to bend over but when I figured how much wood I would need and how much soil I would need, at this point in time that was not practical. I have seen some boxes that were built at an Assisted Living Complex that were first filled with shipping peanuts to take up some of the space before the soil was introduced. Since I wanted to be as organic as possible I decided my boxes would be filled with garden soil and compost only.

I love the Square Foot Gardening books by Mel Bartholomew and decided to build my boxes 4 feet by 8 feet. Using the square foot method, I could maximize the space in the boxes and produce more food.

I bought some 2” by 8” by 8’ boards that were untreated. I did not want treated wood as the chemicals could leach into the soil and be absorbed by the plants. I cut one board in half for the ends using my circular saw. I laid out two 8’boards and the two 4’ boards in a rectangle on the ground. I used wood screws to put them together and then screwed L brackets on the outside of the corners to keep the boxes from separating due to the pressure and weight of soil and water. Pre-drilling holes helped a lot. I had found some L brackets at a yard sale for about $3 and the wood cost less than $5 per box and had a can of wood screws that I bought for $1 from an estate sale. I would guess the boxes cost about $6 a piece.

Having two sets of hands helped since I am not an experienced carpenter. It was suggested I also screw in pieces of 2” by 2” into the corners for more long term stability. I had a piece of 2” by 2” and cut it up. Lesson here is that when I see a good piece of wood at a very low price or even better free I take it home. I never know when it will come in handy. I always scour the cans of nails and screws that are left in some old geezers’ garage or basement and show up at estate sales. Seems the kids never know what to do with all that stuff of Grandpa’s and usually there are some real finds out there for a few bucks. New hardware is wildly expensive these days and often I would pay the more for a package of 10 new screws than I would for a bucket of mismatched ones in a coffee can.

Next posting will be about garden soil. Tune in and leave me a comment! If you send me an email I promise to write back promptly.


Anonymous said...

Hey Frugal F.
Love your blog!
Lots of great tips here.
If I lived in the area, I would definitely take advantage of your classes. I've tried several of your recipes - yummy all year round.
Happy canning!

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't want to eat in my lawn - grubs!!!
Got any pet friendly ideas? I'm thinking about digging up my back yard and making a type of garden path. Got any suggestions?
Down bucket!