It is truly amazing what you can build with a little bit of wood, some screws, a drill, and a saw. These tools, along with a few other helpful borrowed items, helped make a simple and sturdy final product that does exactly what it was designed to.
My box uses four pieces of 4”x4” for legs, fixed to the inside corners of a two 5’x2′ frames made from 2”x8”s. The 5′ long sections cross over the ends of the 2′ sections, secured with two screws to hold the frame together (see below)
My construction buddy, Todd, and I made this frame twice over, eventually stacking them on top of each other to make a deeper box (see above). The frames were then screwed to the legs on both the 5′ and 2′ sides to make it nice and sturdy. Slowly but surely, a plan was coming together.
I learned that drainage was extremely important for raised beds, as they do not quite suck water out like the natural ground does. If the gaps between the bottom boards were too small, the soil would turn into a sopping wet bacteria haven and nothing would grow. In the end, we didn’t quite measure the gaps precisely enough and had a good 2 inch hole between the last two boards, but decided to slap one of the extra pieces onto the bottom. We also cut out corners on the end boards for the legs.
As you can see, I crushed my goal of cutting the cost of my parents’ kit in half and actually almost got the grand total to 1/4.
As for drainage, I picked up a great tip from none other than Todd’s mom (my elementary school music teacher). She mentioned that in her own planter box, she had a layer of small rocks lining the bottom to help circulate air into the bottom of the box and suck the water out, which we did. The gaps were big enough for the small rocks to fall through, so we… erhm… borrowed, some bigger rocks that we, um, found lying around and stacked them along the gaps.
After the small rocks came the dirt, which was a research project in itself. The mix I used is about half a bag of earthworm casings, 2 bags of potting soil, and 2 bags of a sandier soil. Once this is all mixed up, it is important to STOP MIXING IT UP. Rather than destroy the potential worm tunnels being made under there, just water the dirt without stirring it. This helps keep the soil less compact overall which helps with drainage and promotes healthy root growth.
Next I’ll talk about the actual gardening part of the garden, along with how I plan on feeding my poop-to-be with compost. Which is already part poop.