Friday, March 26, 2010

Moving to the Foreground

Last weekend, the weather was glorious in the DC area. Several days of sun and warmth rewarded us for surviving the snowiest winter our region had ever seen.

Of course, the gorgeous days called us to the garden. This year we've decided to expand our gardening space to the front yard. The backyard garden, which has produced much for us, has gotten shadier and shadier as the years go by.

We decided to construct raised beds the easy way.

making raised beds

After laying out a design, we went to the lumber store and purchased 2 boards 8 feet long and 2 boards 10 feet long. We asked the store to cut 3 1/2 foot lengths off each board.

Because we have absolutely no skills, we decided to buy decking L's. I don't know what these are actually called, but they make it possible to create perfect right angles by sliding boards into slots. It made laying out the beds quite easy. (You can see the metal L's at the base of each corner.) We then screwed the tops of the boards together.

our garden

After an afternoon of work, we had all four beds laid out. There is a large space in the middle so we can have picnics, play in the grass, and enjoy the sun. We might put a table in the center. If we feel a need for more gardening space at some point in the future, we might construct a 4x4 diamond or something in the center.

We then lined the beds with cardboard we'd been collecting all winter. Many of the large pieces came from the cool refrigerator we recently purchased.

raised beds with cardboard

David always appreciates photos that show him to such advantage:

raised beds from behind

Our son, old enough now to be a big help in construction projects like this, was wiped out after an afternoon of work. He was very pleased to find new beds exactly where he wanted them:

new bed for napping

After his nap, our son soaked the cardboard down--using the leak in our hose as the main source of water distribution.

hoping to grow real boxes

After filling the beds with cardboard and watering it in so well, we're really hoping to raise some full-sized boxes by the end of the season... (Do you know Edward Lear's nonsense botany? I think he could draw the box plants better than I ever could.)

victory garden beds

Tomorrow, we're having 3 cubic yards of topsoil delivered. David plans to go with a friend to collect composted horse manure from a local stable to amend the dirt. And then soon, we will start planting spring seeds and then summer transplants. Here we are at the beginning of our own front-yard victory garden!


OfTroy said...

Oh i love Edward Lear's Botany--even more than his poetry--

So where are the poles (at the outside corners--for the beans?
scarlet runner beans and some other beans are pretty enough to be planted in a flower bed--and don't forget to plant some nasturtiums--pretty to look at and fun in a salad.

Sometimes neighbors object to practical uses of front yard (vegetable gardens) but so many vegetables can be so pretty, too!

my planting are window sill boxes--herbs mostly--but its so nice to have a bit of fresh parsley or basil or chives to make everything taste better!

Tracy and her crew said...

That's wonderful! I have been searching for ideas for a few easily constructed raised beds and your L-brackets are perfect for us too!

And I love your design ideas. Functional yet decorative! Great job!

The Raven said...

Absolutely there will be beans teepees in the corners! I think peppers and potatoes are beautiful plants as well--as are greens. I'm hoping the neighbors in my funky little lefty haven will be comfortable with the veggies. We'll definitely be adding edible flowers from nasturtiums to marigolds, just for good measure. Maybe some mid-tall sunflowers, too. Thanks for the support, OfTroy.

Tracy--we found the brackets in Home Depot. If you don't spot them somewhere near lumber, try asking for galvanized connectors or something. They definitely add to the price--but especially if you're making a more-complicated-than-rectangular shape, they add to the ease.

Lisa Sharp said...

Can't wait to see the results!


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