Backyard Garden: Get it started

Gardening is something I never thought I’d get excited about. Ever. Once I took a few steps on the long journey of how and why to be proud of myself for my own reasons, I recognized the potential personal value of growing a living thing from seed to fruit.

Although the sentiment is all well and good, what is a guy to do when he is renting and can’t tear up part of the yard on a whim? There are plenty of ways to grow potted vegetables, small planters, et cetera, but not really anything that will end with a “harvest”.

My parents, who have been rotating between a decent variety of veggies in their backyard, decided to go for a raised planter bed that is capable of holding multiple plants at a time. Inspired by their box, I started researching the construction and associated costs online.

I came across a ton of designs, some more sophisticated than others, but in the end decided to design my own box.  Cost and construction were big considerations, I was hoping to cut the $150 cost of my parents’ box in half.

My design, written in Chickenscratch.
My design, written in Chickenscratch.

After careful consideration and reconsideration I tallied up the resources I would need, figured out how to cut it so it would fit in the car, and set off to get my mats (that’s materials, n00b).

Having a fully flushed out plan of what I would need helped a lot. Turns out, home improvement stores have a ton of stuff that could be used to build one of these things!

Luckily for me, I happened to choose a line with a cashier trainee. It was her first day, but I was in no rush which I let the gentleman training her know first thing. He mentioned that I could save 50% on my purchase by opening up a credit card through the store, an offer I typically let float in one ear and out the other. After looking at the total, I quickly changed my tune and signed up, cutting the cost from $95 to only $47. I asked if a 50% discount is what everyone is offered and was told that my patience had saved me that 50%: “It’s up to the discretion of the cashier, actually. Thanks for hangin in there.”

For $47 I got all the Douglas  Fir (plus it was cut a few times), screws, sandpaper, a big bag of small rocks, a tomato cage, and 2 bags of potting soil. This didn’t turn out to be quite everything I would need for the full gardenbox, but it was about 75% of the way there (and for $47 who could complain?).

Don’t miss out on the details of how I put the box together and especially how I finally filled it up!

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