I am so lucky to be married to a man who loves to experiment – with beer, with bread and with plants. Here’s the first of several posts this summer on our backyard garden from Matt!
When the temperature starts getting warmer, you can only stare at the weedy garden for so long until you realize there’s an afternoon of work ahead!
But before I talk about Garden 2013, I’ll share a bit of info on how I built our raised beds. Despite how it looks in these pics, our yard actually has a good bit of shade. Thanks to some big trees in one of the neighbor’s yards, most of our lot is shaded after noon. The garden is located in the sunniest area and gets sun until about 3-4pm in the peak of summer.
Each bed is three by ten feet. The planks are 2”x12” and the posts at the joints are 4”x4” and held together with lots of 4” screws. The only special tool you might want to build these is a power drill, and that’s just to make the screws easier. I did most of the sawing with a hand saw (whew that was a workout). Precision really isn’t super important here – just chalk up any accidental gaps between the joints as deliberate, for “drainage”!
The most laborious part for me was actually working them into the sloped hill. It took a lot of trial and error shoveling out the grass, scraping to make it level, plonking the big piece of woodwork in place, and then noting where it still wasn’t level enough. Even now they’re a little slanted downhill, but it’s close enough that it doesn’t bother me. We sourced high quality compost from a landscaper and didn’t make any adjustments to the soil underneath.
The last structural thing to talk about is the trellis thingy. I looked online at all the different tomato trellis ideas and found this post: http://www.veggiegardener.com/build-tomato-trellis/.
I’ve used wire cages and wooden stakes in the past, but everything is so precariously balanced and flimsy. I wanted something very sturdy and this fit the bill. It’s built from 8’ T-fence posts, plastic clothesline, and the most interesting part – turnbuckles. The turnbuckles allow the line to be tightened as it stretches with time and the weight of your giant tomatoes.
The only downside of a such a sturdy structure is that it’s a pain to move! But that’s one of those things you just have to accept – practicing good crop rotation is essential to having a good garden! I’m considering building a second trellis in one of the other beds and then I could switch back and forth each year. The other trellis could also be used for holding up other plants, or growing a row of beans.
Details on what we planted will be in the next post on Friday!