Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Garden Box DIY

image  When my fella and I found out we were getting our new house I immediately started daydreaming and planning about how I would garden the backyard. I pictured colorful flowers and delicious vegetables a’plenty. Seeing as I’ve spent my entire adult life with no yard or yearning to garden the entire process was totally foreign to me. (The only thing I have ever grown is my hair and finger nails) So as you can imagine, one thing I didn’t think to daydream about was the amount of work it takes to accomplish this stunning foliage vision ingrained in my mind. Meryl Streep’s character in the movie “It’s Complicated” is really what got my thumb turning green (see a tour of the home featured in the film here). At first I didn’t find it very excited being around bugs and dirt but it’s grown on me (pun intended). I’ve come to see the benefits of an afternoon spent quietly working away under the sun and singing birds. 
Garden Box (2)But back to my original point, I knew I wanted to grow vegetables or at least make an attempt at it like Meryl Streep’s character beautiful yard. Not quite as intricate as hers of course but still a source of inspiration. Step one was to build a purdy garden box to lay out my plants. I had faith it would be a simple enough project and I was right for a change. I did a little research and found the famous Ana White’s garden box plans but I felt it could use some improvements to re-enforce the corners and make for a sturdier result. Keep reading to see how I made my simple yet sturdy garden box for around $25 smack-a-roos.

Garden Box (12)I used a measuring tape in advance to plan out exactly how big I wanted the box to be based on the amount of space available and the amount of plants I wanted to grow. I eventually settled on five rows deep with five plants across (partially make it easier to calculate). I wanted the height of the box to be approximately 1 foot tall. This worked out to eight 4x5 cedar fence planks. The planks were super inexpensive at $2.99 and were 6 inches wide and 1 inch thick.
 Armand (6) *Tip* It always helps to have the portly neighbor cat supervising the project to make sure all goes as planned.

Garden Box (6) This is a side shot to show you the height of the box. I used 1.5 inch wood screws along the outside and had to dig the box into the ground a few inches because our lawn wasn’t completely flat.

Garden Box (11)To make the corners extra sturdy and avoid flimsy sides I used a 2inchx2inch corner post of cedar. Each plank was nailed into the post with two nails each. Sooo easy and excellent results.

Garden Box (14)The finished result looked like this. I already bought the wood to make a second box next to it but I figured it was best not to get carried away especially since it took five 50 litre bags to fill one box and I only had 13 plants to put in a box that holds 25. So the second box will have to wait while I get the hang of this gardening game and see if my efforts bear any results. In case you are interested, these are a few of the things I planted:
 Garden Box (4)  Garden Box (5)
Garden Box (3)
 Garden Box (7)Garden Box (8)
Garden Box (10)   
Garden Box (1)   It’s looking kind of sad right now being so empty but I have plans to buy more goodies in the near future. Possibly some raspberries and more sweet peas for along the back. One concern I have is pests but not just the usual kind. There’s several different neighbourhood cats in my yard everyday (including the meaty one featured in this post) and this could look like one giant litter box to a kitty.
Armand (21) Armand (17)
When the project is done you can sit back with your furry friends and enjoy the fruits (or in this case vegetables) of your labor.

Garden Box (13) One tip I picked up from my wise Mother-in-law to tackle a particular pest was nifty. She said to save up my egg shells and use them around the plants to ward off slugs. Apparently the pointy shells hurt their tummies to cross so they move on and leave your plants alone; makes sense. As I buy more plants I try to find more recipes I can include an egg or two in for dinner.

Here’s a little look into some of my other more colorful (or soon-to-be) flowers around my yard:
Garden (13)
Bleeding Heart
Garden (14)
Garden (10)   Snapdragons
Garden (3)Hydrangeas (my favorite!)
Garden (4) Marigolds

Garden (5) I put the eggshells around flower pots as well. So far It’s been working like a charm.

Garden (9)Petunias

Garden (8)This is the front yard where I hung some pink floral baskets. You can also see the white and purple lilac bush behind the basket. It was here when we moved in which delighted me mostly because the rich purple is my favorite color. The flowers also smell amazing, I have them in a vases all around my house.

Here’s a shot of them in my home:DSC08359  
DSC08361I wish you could smell these through your screen. They’re so delicate and feminine, perfect for Spring. Not to mention free which always pleases me.
Stay tuned to read about my efforts in depleting heinous ivy that is taking over my backyard and an update on our home renos. Do you have adventures in gardening you want to share and/or handy tips for a newbie like me? Share your thoughts.

*Photo credits belong to Reckless Bliss*


Amber @ fromtheseeds said...

I love those lilacs they look great! Gardening is time consuming but very rewarding. I love that the neighbor cat is helping out. I made my beds out of cedar too but I didn't make them as deep, I like the depth of yours.

Brittany Schell said...

Hi! I would suggest using a garden soil mix instead of potting soil which it looks like you might have used. Please ignore this if I am wrong :). Potting soil is great for container gardening as it has those little white balls that hold moisture, but for raised bed gardening like you are doing, a garden soil mix is better. I think they have them at most hardware/home improvement stores.
Your garden looks great and I am jealous of all the space! I live in a townhome so no yard and stuck with several containers on the patio.
Good luck!!

Paula said...

Thanks so much for this post! We are planning to build a garden box and your tips are so helpful!

Your photos are wonderful as well. I will try the eggshell idea to ward off slugs which are rampant here in SE Alaska (you are our neighbor in BC)!

Check out my blog as well!

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Thanks for sharing!