Apology, Thanks, Raised Beds and Mini Farming

First of all, I want to apologize to my Mama for my Mother’s Day post, in which she (and our supper) were mentioned after my cat’s butt.  Sorry, Mom.  You are definitely first in life, and I promise to never put you and cat butt in the same story again after today.  I don’t know what I was thinking.

Second, last week I purchased lumber for raised garden beds.  My hubby, thinking smart like a builder, suggested treated lumber because it would last longer.  Then we thought about the chemicals that would leach into the food we want to grow (like arsenic and cyanide) and we ruled that out.  The fellow at Lowe’s recommended cedar, but the biggest was 1x8x8 and twice the price of plain old lumber.  I wanted 2 x 10s untreated and I wanted to spend as little as possible.  Some folks said to make the raised beds 3′ by 7′ so you can reach in and across easily.  I have read that, too, and thought it made sense… but I was concerned 7′ would be too long for my vehicle and it was raining cats and dogs at the time.  Also, a certain someone we know (who is married to my sister) busted his windshield when the back gate on his vehicle was slammed down on 7′ boards.  I made fun of him, so I dared not risk the same thing happening in my car.  I ended up buying four 2x10x10 untreated boards.  The folks at Lowe’s cut them into 4′ and 6′ lengths for me.  I have to give kudos to the guy at Lowe’s.  I had 30 minutes to make my selection, get the wood cut and loaded, and get to work.  The guy got the job done.  I was positive I’d be late for work and he proved me wrong.

IMG_7923

Third, thank you to my sister and he of the busted windshield.  They loaned us the metal corners to make these raised beds.  They are 10″ tall, (the corners, not my relatives) and have 2″ wide slots at right angles to hold 2×10 lumber.  John and I set the boards up on the skinny edge at right angles, each end inserted into a slotted corner.  We secured the boards to the corners with roofing nails.  The boards can be secured to the corners with wood screws, but nails ought to do the trick.  We won’t be carting these frames around.  I think they’ll hold up fine.  Two years from now I intend to have an acre plowed and to grow most of our food.  Raised beds are temporary due to time constraints these days.

Fourth, I thank author Brett Markham.  In his book, “Mini Farming” he describes a GREAT WAY to reduce effort when creating raised beds.  I employed this method today and was impressed by its simplicity.  It saved me so much time!  In two hours, I had a 6 x 4 raised bed prepared, all I need to do is bring in topsoil and organic material and plant!  Mr. Markham’s chapter on raised beds gives step by step instructions.

Here is my version of this clever method:  First, I used an edging tool with a flat blade to outline the inside of the wood frame.  Then I moved the frame away, and used the edging tool to cut

IMG_7933

squares in the sod.  (See edger tool in photo, it’s perfect for this job.)  Once I had defined the squares, I used a flat shovel to dig down about 6 inches along all of the cuts I made in the sod.  Then, I lifted out the first square of soil and sod and flipped it over, out of the way.  I moved to the next square, dug it up and flipped it over into empty spot where the first square had been.  I continued in this  fashion until all squares had been flipped into its neighbor’s spot.  Then the first square I removed was put back into the last space.   It took me about an hour to complete one raised bed this way.

In previous gardens, I chopped way at grass, pull it up, shook soil from the roots, ended it up with a pile of  grass and roots to dispose of.   I always ended up with a freshly turned bed surrounded by clumps of weeds, roots, and mud.  This method is so neat by comparison.  Some folks loosen the soil beneath the squares, too.  I elected not to, since I have 10″ of raised bed on top of the 6″ of flipped squares.

IMG_7927

IMG_7930

A good day.  We hope last night’s 38 degree temps were the end of chilly weather, so I can get my seedlings and seeds into these beds by the end of the week.  It’s 80 degrees today, so we should have had our last frost.  I can’t wait to plant!

Another quick story – our old boy cat Amos managed an adventure last night.  John was in his office practicing a song on his bass, when he heard a ruckus from the living room.  Amos managed to remove a window screen, let himself out, hunt down a baby bunny and bring it back to the family.  Bunnies are cute, but to me this means one less rabbit to destroy my plants, so I can’t be too upset with the cat, beyond destruction of yet another screen.

This is why our cats are supposed to stay in at night.   Predators and prey abound out in the country.  Of course, the lame Rory Gallagher took this opportunity to go outside and stalk my chickens.  His limp is bad again today, he’s paying for the time outside.  John had to herd him back to the house and get him in and dispose of the bunny.  Such is life on the Flying L.  bunny

, , , , ,

Subscribe

Subscribe to our RSS feed and social profiles to receive updates.

2 Comments on “Apology, Thanks, Raised Beds and Mini Farming”

  1. Ute Westphal Says:

    Moving from being am mental farmer to a Raised Bed Farmer. Not bad – not bad at all. Love the beds. I love my 12×4. Can reach it all easily.

    Like

    Reply

  2. Mental Farmer Says:

    It’s fun, isn’t it? Thanks for stopping in to read!

    Like

    Reply

Leave a comment:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: