Tuesday, May 18, 2010

It's a box

For the most part since we moved into our house, our efforts have been on the inside. Let’s face it, we moved into the house in January and I would guess we spend 90% of our time inside our house so it really makes sense we would focus on that first. It also might be explained by the fact the yard was covered in snow when we bought the house so the disaster waiting for us was unknown and buy the time the snow melted, we were knee deep in house stuff. We pretty much picked up all the junk that was left under the snow. I’m not talking a toy here and some paper there. We found bats, dishes, pillows, blankets and random tools in our backyard when the snow melted. Yikes.

Last summer my husband basically spent his time outside fighting weeds and that is about it. Having secondary water is a blessing and a curse sometimes. It’s super cheap and we don’t feel guilty actually watering our grass but it comes with all sorts of weed seeds in it.

One of the things we loved about the backyard when we were looking for houses was the separate garden area. It’s completely fenced off from the rest of the yard which meant I could get my puppy and not worry about him ruining our garden. The previous owners had some garden boxes set up but they negotiated to take them with them. The first year we pretty much planted seeds in the dirt mounds left by the boxes and called that good. The garden was surprisingly successful.

Because things have settled down inside the house, my focus has turned to the outside which any husband can tell you, leads to lots of projects. The first item of business, get the garden in great shape and make sure we do it right for minimal maintenance down the road. Because we have so much space in the garden, we decided putting garden boxes in the space would be the best idea. That way we could have paths in-between the boxes to allow ample space for weeding and gardening without having to kneel in dirt. We did opt to leave one space open for dirt our vine plants to grow and flourish. I’m determined to have my own pumpkin to carve this year dang it!

When we started talking to people and pricing out our garden box options, I was shocked at how much they cost. I was really leaning towards getting white vinyl boxes to match our fences and to last forever and look clean and nice forever too. One of our local vinyl fence companies quoted us $150 per box. Yikes. I’m not going to be saving any money growing my own veggies at that rate especially considering we needed about 10 boxes. I then thought about doing wood. I guess it won’t look that bad if I paint it and I wasn’t too excited about the extra maintenance or possibility of slivers down the road but even pricing those out was about $100 per box. Still not what I was looking to pay – I’m cheap!

While wandering around Home Depot one day, I had an idea. Why can’t I just by a vinyl fence panel ($50), cut it up into pieces and assemble it into my own garden box? Sure the edges won’t be perfect and I’ll have to use bolts to fasten them together but they will be cheap, functional and look pretty dang good if I may say so myself. Because the panels come in 6’x6’ squares, my garden boxes will be a bit smaller than I was thinking but honestly I hated how big our piles of dirt were last year while I was trying to pick peas and beans. There were too wide and long to get to the middle so smaller than standard garden boxes honestly sounded like a great plan to me.

Why is it that coming up with a plan is so much easier than cutting, drilling and assembling 18 garden boxes?

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