Sunday, August 26, 2012

What I'm working with....

This week we cleared the spot for the vegetable garden.  There used to be a garage in the side bit of the back yard, but it was torn down long ago.  All that remains is a cracked concrete pad littered with weeds and tiny saplings.  We started with this:

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It is difficult to see what is in this tangle of weeds, but we found a shoe, parts of a toy scooter, several empty tuna cans, and assorted aftermath that comes with neighborhood kids playing in the yard.

Yesterday, we trekked to Home Depot to make a realistic budget for the raised beds.  We chose 2x12x16 pressure-treated boards for the beds, at about $25 each.  The beds will be 8 feet by 4 feet.  Three boards will build two beds, and we want four beds of that size.  Sixteen brackets at $5 each will be needed as well.  We also want to build a bin for growing potatoes, but this year, we might be relegated to growing them in an actual bin.  It may look like a pretty steep investment to start with, but we eat a lot of vegetables, all organic. I just paid $7.56 for two knobs of organic celery root, and another $5 on 3 lbs of organic potatoes.  We can see how quickly the investment will pay for itself.

The other plan for the garden is to cover the pad with weed blocking fabric ($15 for 100 feet), and cover that with either bark mulch or pea gravel.  I'm still in the process of getting quotes on how much that will cost.  The problem with mulch is that it would have to be replaced every other year or so, and tends to be dyed in our area.  I also don't want a friendly environment for mice, voles, and moles to be able to get around in.  I could leave it uncovered, but I would still have the issue of uneven concrete to resolve (it is an eyesore).  Lastly, I'd like to enclose the area in a chicken wire fence to keep stray cats from using my planting beds as a litter box, as well as deter skunks and raccoons from getting in for a midnight snack.

Stay tuned for progress reports!


  1. Are you still thinking of pressure treated boards for the garden beds? Because you should be careful, they're laden with poisons that can get into your food you grow there, notably arsenic.

  2. We're going to use pressure treated boards with ACQ (alkaline copper quaternary), which doesn't contain arsenic, as well as use a spray-on liquid latex to keep chemicals from leaching into the soil. Sadly, we can't find any rough-cut lumber, and the mills won't sell it to us in the small quantity we need.


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