Thursday, June 4, 2009

Playing in the Dirt: Part II

Here is the much anticipated follow-up to Part I. You were just waiting on the edge of your seat for this, right?
We let our seeds/plants grow for about a month. Josh diligently watered them, took them outside on warm sunny days, and babied the heck out of them.

He is seriously ready for a dog. Our plants are spoiled by all the attention they got.

We decided to plant them Memorial Day weekend (May 23rd), since the weather was consistently staying a bit warmer. I read you should wait until it is consistently above 50 deg F at night as a guideline. I didn't want to wait until July, so we gave it the go-ahead.

First, we prepared the area.
We wanted to try and reduce the weed growth, so we cleared the grass and weeds from the area for our raised bed. I tried to loosen the ground up a little bit, but this wasn't too important since we aren't planting any root vegetables.

Second, we built our raised bed.

How hard can it be to build a rectangular box? Wrong question.

How hard can it be for 2 engineers to agree on how to build a box? Well... Josh and I didn't exactly see eye to eye on this one. Tears may have been shed (but only a couple, and only because crying helps me get my way).

The process is apparently much too complicated for me to explain here. I'll run through our supplies, links to other posts explaining how it could be done, and the finished product. There is not enough room on this blog to explain Josh's "common sense" approach, because it made no sense to me. And we ended up doing it mostly my way anyways.
After a not-so-quick trip to Lowe's (we had a 10% off coupon), we had the following:
(3) 2x10" boards, 8 ft long, untreated**; one board cut in half for free ($14.19)
(1) 1 lb. box 3" exterior screws ($6.95) - we had plenty left over
(1) bundle of 18" stakes (we had these in the garage)

** I have received conflicting information regarding the kind of wood to get. Pine or cedar seem to be good choices, but can be expensive. We went with untreated lumber because I didn't want any chemicals leaching into the soil and contaminating the soil and plants.

You might find these or these instructions helpful. I thought we did, but Josh had his own ideas. (Its my blog, I can pick on him if I want to :) )And here is our pretty box:
Third, we added the dirt.
Who came up with the saying "Dirt cheap." anyways? Cuz, uh, dirt ain't cheap.

After asking around, we determined that the compost we acquired was pretty good dirt and we didn't need to add too much to it. I estimated we needed 22 cubic feet of dirt, but we didn't have enough. I wanted to supplement with some nutrient rich planting soil, so we picked up some of the Miracle-Gro stuff at Lowe's, and when that still wasn't enough, I grabbed 2 more bags of potting soil with peat moss from the local flower shop.(2) bags Miracle-Gro Flowers and Vegetable Garden Soil, 2 cu. ft. each ($12.69)
(2) bags Potting Soil with peat moss, 40 lb. each ($6.58)

We just dumped all the dirt in and mixed it around really good. Easy peasy. And dirty.All ready for plants. Which, I think I'll make a separate post. This is LONG enough. Thanks for sticking with me!

Cost summary:
Raised bed subtotal: $21.14
Dirt subtotal: $19.27
Total to date: $74.67 (includes first post)

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