Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Garden Beds!

Well, my roommate and I finally got around to building the raised bed gardens for the backyard.  I know I said we'd probably do it Saturday, but it waited until Tuesday.  This post will mostly be pictures, but I'll try to make the captions instructional in case anyone likes our design.  The materials were a bit expensive, but not too complicated and easy to acquire wherever you are.  They are:

12 - 2"x12"x8' planks, 4 of them cut in half to 2"x12"x4' for the short side of the beds.
2 -   4"x4"x8' posts, cut into 2' sections, for the supporting corner posts.
64+ - 3.5" wood screws

First we lined up two post sections on our flat patio, and set a long plank across the two of them.

Here is the view with both posts.

We then lined up the second plank, and drilled in two screws to a plank on each side.  I know the lighting is a little funny, but notice the extra inch or inch and a half at the bottom.  We know theoretically this shouldn't have happened if the wood was all perfect, but it made it MUCH easier to level the beds once we placed them.

My roommate Brian drilling some planks down.

After building both of the long sides, we attached them together with the short planks.  We decided to make all of the planks flush with each other, so in this picture I'm making sure the boards are square with each other, and not with the post.

Another view of the corner being put together.  After drilling the lower one into place, we placed another on top, them squared up the other side and did it again.

Here's Brian putting the finishing touches on the second short side of the bed.

Here is the finished product!  If you can tell, the bed is up-side down, with the extra bit of post sticking up.  We placed them right-side up when we moved them, it was just much easier to make the top of the bed level by constructing them up-side down.  Sorry for the poor lighting, it was just that time of day. 

Probably not good!  My dog figured out he could jump into the bed pretty quickly, and Brian's followed suit.  Oh well, we decided to take a picture with the finished product.  Notice Brian's dog's inability to look at the camera.

The finished garden beds set in place!  This is before we leveled the beds and the ground around them, but it is the first step in the transformation of this backyard from a dusty Arizona desert lot, into a luscious home-scale permaculture!

To finish up the garden beds, I am going to get about 2 cubic yards of cleanfill from a "green" landfill here in Tucson.  I know green landfill doesn't necessarily sound realistic, but I know the guy who operates it, and if any landfill can be considered green, it is his.  The cleanfill I'm hoping to get from his is actually pretty nice as far as dirt goes.  It's not quite soil, but it has decent amounts of organic matter, and smells pretty nice.

After filling the bottom half of the bed with the cleanfill, the top half is going to be soil/compost that I'm going to get from the Tucson Botanical Gardens.  They have excellent soil that will grow almost anything.  So, we're going to be wheel-barrowing and shoveling about 4 cubic yards of soil over the next week or so.  I've already got some seeds started for some winter plants, so hopefully we'll have the beds full or soil by the time the seedlings are ready to be transplanted.  I'll keep you posted!

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