Playing in the dirt.

It’s a Box!

With a little help from my father-in-law, who kindly cut my boards for me and loaned me a few tools I didn’t have or that ended up in storage, and Mr. Teaspoon, who kindly helped me argue with the drill and the long screws and the 4x4s, I have a garden bed.

I’ve mislaid the receipt for the chicken wire, which was cheapest by the 50′ roll, even though I only needed 12′, and it was about $37.  I figure that means I just have enough chicken wire to make the cover for the next bed, so between that and the remaining weed barrier, I’m already started for next year’s expansion.  I also ended up buying a five-dollar pair of work gloves, having left mine at work (long story involving transplanting cactuses), and a new staple gun for about $25.  Those two things will be used on a variety of projects though, so I won’t be including them in the expense totals.  I may need to get some kind of fasteners to keep the lid on it, though, since it rolled over in today’s high winds.

Construction of the base involved overlapping the 4x4s and screwing them together in an overlapping pattern to make the corners stronger.

Detail of a garden box frame corner showing countersunk screw holes and the overlapping pattern.

Build it strong to last long.

Next, I assembled the cover frame by making a rectangle with two 8′ 1x2s and two 4′ 1x2s for the base.  Then Mr. Teaspoon and Teaspoon Jr. helped hold the remaining 8′ 1.2 at the peak, each with two 4′ lengths cut to 30 degree angles at each end, to make 60 degree angles.  That’s about the time I discovered that I had missed one of my long pieces that needed the angles cut, so I cut that one with a handsaw.  I drilled pilot holes and screwed the side pieces to the peak at one end, then the other, which let my faithful assistants flee to other activities or a nap or something.  More pilot holes and more screws fastened the four corners to the base.  I measured 2′ intervals and added the side supports.

A triangular cover frame for a garden box, nearly complete.

Almost there!

Then I covered the floor of my box with hardware cloth, a process which made me glad of a habit of measuring all my materials before I start working with them, because it turned out that the 12′ length of hardware cloth Mr. Teaspoon had bought was only 11’4″.  That was irritating, and it meant I couldn’t fold up an inch at each side to staple it to the frame, so I might end up having to fight moles, but I decided just to mark it down as another reason to buy the materials for the second bed somewhere in the next town.

A sheet of hardware cloth in the bottom of a garden bed to keep moles away from plant roots.

No, Mr. Mole, you may not have my carrots.

Over that, I put some weed barrier to keep the remaining grass from just growing up through my good soil, and stapled it to the frame to keep it from blowing out of place while I filled it.

A sheet of weed barrier over a hardware cloth floor in a garden bed.

Keeping the nutrients for the garden.

Finally, I measured out two 12′ lengths of chicken wire to wrap my cover, and stapled that onto the cover frame.  (I still need to clean up the ends, but that can happen any time.)

A triangular garden cover made of thin boards and chicken wire.

No, Mr. Rabbit, you may not have my lettuce.

Up next, soil from scratch.

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