Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Urban Farming Frustrations

AKA "Building Your Own Raised Beds"

This project seemed so simple at the beginning. We plotted out exactly where we wanted the beds, their sizes and wrote down the building materials. Then we want to the local hardware/building supply center on the Saturday of Fourth of July weekend. We thought we could buy all the materials and have the beds finished over the holiday weekend - ha ha ha ha ha ha....

First it took us forever to get someone to help us. Then we realized we couldn't fit the boards for the long sides of the beds into our car (16 feet long into a CRV - I don't think so!) so I arranged for delivery on Monday morning. I still had hopes we could build these suckers Monday afternoon. Well, Monday morning comes and I pull out from my car the small boards that did fit into my car, and noticed they are the wrong size. I wanted 2x6s, they gave my 2x4s. I had to call Anawalt, as they were going to deliver the wrong size long boards in the next few hours. I got the lumber issue sorted out and all the correctly sized lumber arrived that afternoon, along with a bout of the flu for my husband, resulting in instant building postponement as this is definitely a two person job.

So, last weekend we finally completed ONE bed! Yes, one. This one bed took 40 bags of organic potting soil ($$$$) so the resulting vegetables will officially be known as the "world's most expensive vegetables" - that is, when we get vegetables. We have so many other things to do that our slow progress and the overwhelming expense of this project is really annoying! We have to lay down wood to secure the bottom of the chicken wire fence (those little monsters keep escaping under the fence) and we haven't even begun to landscape the front yard. Arghhhhhhh!!!

Enjoy this slideshow detailing our pathetic journey in building one raised garden bed:


  1. I wish you luck with the rest! I do understand expense. We are in the process of preparing property for retirement. Only catch? We can only go twice a year and each trip costs us roughly $3000. And almost half of that is travel expense.

    Now that you've done one though, hopefully the rest will go more easily. Hope you all have a good weekend. :)

  2. I feel your pain. My vegetable garden fantasy has ten 4x8 raised beds. So far six have been built in the five years I've lived here! Ah, home improvement projects!

    Next time get a yard or two of compost/top soil. It'll be much cheaper than buying the bags, especially if you have access to a pickup and can transport it yourselves!

    And don't fret -- it really is wonderful growing things in raised beds!

  3. Thanks for the encouragement everyone! We built another bed today and will hopefully get it in place this week. Of course, the chickens got loose yesterday and ate the leaves off the seedlings we planted in bed #1, so husband is having coq au vin fantasies right about now. :(

  4. I used some deer netting on my raised bed to deter various critters in the yard. It appears the chickens are also not fond of deer netting and pretty much steer clear of it. It's very thin and light - -you barely see it but chickens do. Might be worth putting over the tender seedlings. Only thing to watch for -- make sure the neeting does not rest on the wood or anything a lizard might crawl along - I freed more than one that got tangled and almost died. Other than that -- great stuff

  5. I always think the wood is the big part of the beds. Because we have to bring home the wood in our car too. Then I remember we have to bring home a hundred bags of organic soil to fill them...It is always funny how you forget how expensive organic soil can be. Or any soil at that... We was lucky and found some organic soil on sale this year for half off because they had pallets of soil that were busted. So ask if they have some busted normally places are more than happy to get rid of them at a discount price. The bags be bought were not even missing any soil.