The Horticulture Hobbyist’s Guide to Building a Garden
Building a Garden You Love
Many people are deciding to grow their own crops as fears about vegetable sources grow. GMOs, chemical sprays, herbicides, fungicides, pesticides and a host of other unhealthy additions being discussed in the media on a daily basis and fears are rising that these things will affect the food chain adversely. So why not grow your own food organically? Building a garden and eating the fruits of your labor is not only immensely satisfying, but healthier as well. Here are the steps to construct your very own garden.
Decide on the measurements of your garden bed’s frame. Do you want a row of small self-contained beds or one large bed? Individual 3 feet by 6 feet beds at a height of one to two feet are an ideal size for planting a single vegetable type and narrow enough for easy access. Choose either rot-resistant redwood and cedar and assemble the boards so that the longer board overlaps the smaller one. Drill three stainless steel 3-inch screws into each corner. Use a framing square in each internal corner to confirm they are indeed right angles.
Prepare a site that receives a generous amount of sunshine throughout the day. Use your built frame to outline the dimensions on site. Extract the turf and weeds with a grub hoe or sod cutter. To gain more space for gardens, you can rent stump grinders to remove any unsightly stumps from trees long gone. Grab a pitchfork and till the earth once the grass is removed to inhibit future weed growth. Set a piece of lumber on the ground, and use a level to ensure the ground is a flat 180 degrees. At this point, you have an opportunity to ward off intruders in both the animal and plant kingdoms. To suppress intrusive weeds, lay a sheet of landscape fabric that covers the entire bottom of the bed dimensions, PopularMechanics.com suggests. Earthworms and voles will also do their darnedest to interlope on your horticultural hobby. A steel mesh grid placed underneath the bed will fend off covert underground attacks.
To Cap It All Off
To guarantee that the frame stays in place, some garden bed builders pound stakes along the outer edge. ThisOldHouse.com suggests cutting 2-foot posts with diagonally cut edges to pierce the ground along the outside, and driving screws into the frame to secure them. A wooden cap railing is arguably the better and easier option to secure the frame’s structure. The cap adds a degree of visual appeal—and doubles as a seat for your hardworking gardener’s rump. Simply match the lumber to the bed’s dimensions, use a miter saw to cut the corners at 45-degree angles and drill the four pieces into place to construct the cap railing.
Soil & Amendments
Once you retrieve the old wheelbarrow from the shed, it’s time to fill the bed with a mixture of soil and compost. Adding amendments to the soil will assure healthier crops. Many at-home gardeners use manure to nourish the soil and provide a healthy portion of nitrogen. Adding a top layer of organic mulches will shield the soil from detrimental temperatures and retain the soil’s moisture.