May 6, 2011

Backyard Planter Box Build & Installation

The last two weekends have been devoted to acquiring lumber, building, and filling a couple of raised beds for growing vegetables. A project like this always takes a little longer than you would think (and is not without its highs and lows!)

Weekend I
We found some great instructions on "The perfect raised bed" in Sunset mag online. I liked how the plan didn't involve a ton of cuts, which was great for 2 reasons: avoiding excessive math, plus minimizing use of power tools that can take off your finger in a fraction of a second. The raised beds are a couple feet off the ground, which will keep the pups from running afoul in the garden, and keep us from having to bend over so much when planting & harvesting.

We bought lumber & supplies at Piersons, got a little help making the cuts (thanks, Papa!) and were pretty amazed at how easy it was to put these together. Not super easy, like sitting on the porch drinking a beer easy, but easy like: wow, we constructed something useful out of wood using power tools, and it didn't take all day! In fact, I'm inspired to build a deck later this summer. But more on that later...

By the time we put together the frames and speced out the locations, it was sunday afternoon. So our 9-5 (or should I say 8-6) jobs demanded we abandon our hands-on project for a few days.

Weekend II
After the suprise ease and simplicity of building the boxes, this weekend, full of mindless manual labor (loading and hualing several hundred lbs of dirt) ended up being the "oh crap that was a lot of work" suprise weekend.

It started with pulling up to Wes Green Landscaping in my dad's truck (sans the dad). The cashier took one look at us smallish women and said, "You do know you have to load the soil into the truck yourselves, right?" Bitch, puh-lease. Do I really look like that much of a princess? or maybe more likely I look like a shrimp.

Then we backed up the truck and shoveled, shoveled, shoveled what seemed like a billiondy lbs of shit into the back of the truck. And the truck complained as well, as we struggled with the heavy load to reach 50 MPH on the freeway.

Then, we unloaded the compost to find out yep, we were about 1/2 way there. Good thing we were so good and shoveling manure and didn't mind another trip (or 2) to the landscaping supply yard.

And did i mention that when we installed the boxes, we had to rip out the grass by hand, and that it was $43 worth of greenwaste? (that's the last time I take greenwaste to the dump in Eureka!)

Fast forward to the end of weekend, and after all the building, positioning, shoveling, and hauling, you can see that we have a couple of lovely planter boxes! And those zuchinni, green beans, and strawberries might look tiny now - but just give them a couple months and we'll be begging people to take the zucchinis off our hands!


  1. So that's what you were doing with the truck in the back yard last weekend. If you look over the fence you'll see where we've started clearing out our old vegetable garden to use again.

    Used to have over 400 square feet, but I gave it up years ago and it became horribly overgrown. I've got about 200 to 300 square feet cleared now but the morning glory keeps growing so I have to go back and keep clearing it out.

    I don't know that much will come from our garden this year.

  2. You wrote, And did i mention that when we installed the boxes, we had to rip out the grass by hand, and that it was $43 worth of greenwaste? (that's the last time I take greenwaste to the dump in Eureka!).

    I can't tell from the photos but are you saying you removed the grass inside the raised beds before adding the soil to the beds?

    You didn't need to do that, if you did. The grass would have died after being buried under so much soil, just as it did covered with cardboard.

  3. Hi, I'm JoAnna. I'm new here & I love this! I've been wanting these for a bit but since we are renting I'm volunteering at a local farm for now. Stop by my blog if you have a moment

  4. @Fred - It's definitely a lot of work! I'm hoping that this limited amount of garden space will be manageable, or at least that the zucchini plant will end up big enough to crowd the weeds out. Good luck with your garden!

  5. Ok. I just posted on my attempt at keeping up with the Strubs on my blog.