Spring Garden Planter – DIY

DIY Spring Garden Planter 

I love love love vegetables.  But more then that, I love to save money.  Last year we had our first garden, and while we had some not so successful items, our successes were amazing to me.  For 4-5 months we didn’t have to buy tomatoes, cilantro and lettuce which are eaten almost daily in this home.  And 2-7 tomatoes a day, year round, is pretty expensive!!  There are still spicy peppers in the freezer making those almost a year long bounty from the garden last year.  Also, last year we missed the boat on fall crops by not planing them in June.  Whoops.  If you are new to gardening, definitely keep in mind it is baby steps in learning to garden.

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So this year we expanded by adding another planting bed and a vertical climbing area, hoping the vertical area will maximize the growing potential of the cucumbers, zucchini and yellow squash.  My husband built the two raised planting beds last year by himself, so this year I offered to help with the build process.  The place we put the new bed is just off the back porch in the backyard.  The other two planting beds are off the other side of the house on the back and side {pictured below}.    The stepping stones make it so we can work in the middle of the bed without compressing the soil around the plants.

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The new spot before image.  I almost forgot to take it in my enthusiasm to get digging!

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The boards we got are general garden board for about $4 a piece at Lowe’s Home Improvement.  After bringing the wood home, I started the digging the edges where the boards would be placed while my husband headed out to pick up a load of soil from a local supplier.  We borrowed a trailer from a friend for the day to accomplish this.  Last year we paid for a truck to come dump a load of soil.  The same amount cost half of last year, $75, picking it up ourselves.  I measured out the plot and ended up adding 8 inches to accommodate the width of the boards.  This was fine, but it did make for more smaller pieces of boards when we made cuts.   Had I measured the width at half of an 8 foot board we would have had better cuts.

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Supplies needed:

Wood garden landscape boards (We used 19)

8 inch nails (We used 46)

12 inch nails (used on the bottom boards as stakes)

Level

Drill with large bit to accommodate the extra large nails, check out Toolerant for ideas.

Circular or table saw (Ours is small so we cut both sides of the board to cut through)

Water (keep hydrated:-)

Hammer

Ground cloth (keep the weeds and grass from growing through)

Optional – Cute and super helpful 3 year old to fetch water, nails, hammer and power tools out of reach!

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The first board was placed at the lowest part of our garden.  We used the longest nails on the bottom row as a little extra “spike” into the ground.  Other options would be to sink stakes, spikes or other boards into the ground to hold it up.  If your ground is level, you can lay the whole bottom course of wood.  The next step was to place the next board as that one was our only board on that bottom level.  All the boards were placed offset from the previous one to make an interlocking pattern and a sturdy structure.  We didn’t put a whole lot of thought into it except for using the level to make sure the first couple layers were level.  The more solid the ground is when you start, the more level your structure will remain.  Ours ended up a bit off which didn’t bother us.

We built ours as a U shape with a cosmetic top piece across the back. To hold up the cosmetic boards across the back we took the smaller scrap pieces and used 5 of them vertically nailing the two large boards across the top.

Our cute three year old was actually a lot of help, and we rewarded him by letting him pound a couple of the nails partially in.  He felt the need to wear gloves like mommy.  Maybe I should find him some garden gloves so he doesn’t have to wear winter ones!

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It took us about 1.5 hours to build the box.  Then we put the inside tall post for the climbing area and laid down the ground cover material we had left over from last years beds.  My husband got the trailer very close to the bed so we could shovel the soil into the bed.  My mom took the nice blurry image, but it is included to show how we did the cosmetic board along the back.

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Here is the finished bed with two stepping stones and the vertical climbing posts with wire strung across.  For the vertical climbing area we secured the two tall wood pieces vertically by sinking them into the ground and nailing them to the sides of the garden bed.  Then we used wire to wrap around the posts working our way up the posts to create different levels of wire for the plants to grow up.  We secured the wire with a staple tunas we made each pass.  We {lazily} left the rest of the wire on the post in case we want to add more wire when it starts growing.  I’ll probably cut it and put it away as it just looks weird having it sitting there.   I also realize our window may get blocked by the growing plants, but it was still the best place we had for this particular bed.  We’ll take the fresh and amazing food over a little light!!

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Tip: One thing that worked well for us was to drill through the top board until it marked the board underneath.  We’d then move the board and drill a hole in the other board.  This kept the drill bit from freezing up on us like it did when we tried to go through two boards at once.

When the twins got home from school (1st grade) they helped to hammer in a couple nails.  It allows them to feel like they participated and they will hopefully have a sense of ownership in the garden.   The kids will all help more with any pruning needed as the plants grow and need attention.

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Good luck with your own garden.  We’d love to hear how yours goes and see pictures of your own project!

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Sandy Weinstein - i like this, but it would be hard for me to do since i am alone, would have to get someone to help me. i would have to put up a big fence to keep the deer out though. they eat everything, i mean everything…i see their hoof prints along my house.November 29, 2015 – 6:35 pm

5 Favorite Tips for the Garden | Everyday Creative - […] is an inexpensive and quick raised bed, but probably won’t last more than a few years.  Shannon built a much sturdier bed that cost a bit more, but it will be around for many years to come!  You can also just throw some […]April 10, 2015 – 10:13 pm

Aleesha Bake - Thanks! Super Exciting! We would love to see pictures and link back to your blog if you post your garden on there :)March 20, 2015 – 10:37 am

Sarah Baird - I thought this was a great tutorial! I liked it so much, I linked to your post on my “Friday Favorites” post on my blog. This looks like something I can do in my own yard. Thanks!March 20, 2015 – 10:14 am

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