Sunday, July 19, 2009

Lessons Learned from the Edible Front Lawn #2

Creating an edible garden where previously a lawn had been struggling keeps providing opportunities for learning. Once I had the entire lawn covered with cardboard and paper products and the grass and weeds were no longer visible, it was time to design a layout and build garden beds.

The house faces southwest so the sun is more prevalent in the afternoon. There is a small ornamental tree providing a shaded area. I watched the sun’s pattern and decided to create a circle surrounded by stones and two garden beds the first year. Being the Frugal Fraulein , I needed to find wood with which to build the boxes. A friend called to say she had seen some fiberglass boxes about four feet by four feet on the side of the road with a for sale sign. I checked them out but they had top and one side missing and would not have held soil. Too bad because they were a good size and would have been high and easy on my back while bending. Next I discovered reclaimed lumber. Buildings are torn down and carefully stripped of useful wood, windows, doors and fixtures. The remains are brought to a warehouse and sold to benefit the local Habitat for Humanity. All kinds of treasures were available for much less than new. I bought used 2x8’s that were 8 ft long for less than I would have paid for two boards at the local lumber store. I then rummaged around and found some L brackets and a couple of 2x2’s to use for bracing that I had purchased at a yard sale.

For years I have been collecting tools at yard sales. I got out the circular saw, power drill, square and measuring tape. The boards were not the same length so that meant having to cut them to size. It is much easier to use a circular saw when you have someone to hold the other end. Next step was to measure where the screws were going to go. I drilled in pilot holes then laid out the boards where the boxes were going to be placed. Now don’t get me wrong. I am not a carpenter and I don’t have much practice building things. I have learned along the way and every step takes me forever. Finally hours later I had the boxes together. The task was end by screwing in L brackets on the corners to hold the boxes together and cutting the 2x2’s into eight pieces which I secured to the inside corners for even more sturdiness. The final step was to dig a small hole for each 2x2 so that they would hold the boxes in one spot and not be moveable. I don’t know why I thought a 4x8 box full of dirt would move.

When I was done I was thrilled. Looking at pictures and plans of boxes had paid off. I had gleaned the best of the ideas and built something functional, inexpensive and durable. I learned that although I have limited carpentry skills I could build something durable and useful. I have to admit I was proud of myself.

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