Boxes Briefly

4x4 Garden Box

4x4 Garden

These beds were made as an experimental prototype with 1×6 cedar boards. This makes them about 11.5 inches tall. They are held together and supported by 2×2 boards that were all cut with one straight cut and one 45º cut so that they could be driven into the ground for stability. They are going into their 6th Spring planting season so I have no regrets about the $17 investment I made in materials.

The surprise came when I started trying to fill them with soil. Now, I can look at them and visualize bags of soil piled inside and imagine how much it would take to completely fill them. I no longer think they need to be built so high. When first installed, they ended up being about half full. Now after seasons of freshening them up with compost and organic nutrients they are almost full and look great!

The next ones I build will be constructed of 2×6 rough cut cedar which is a very substantial and naturally long lasting piece of lumber. I’m going to use metal brackets in the corners to hold them together along with a couple of long screws directly in the boards.

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Too good not to try again

It was just a whim. It was early Saturday morning and I was trying to get to the community garden on time — sounds like a silly idea now, probably don’t need to be too precise, not like anyone was waiting for me (although I’m sure the weeds were busy growing). I stopped off to buy a few pepper plants and I was about a half cup low on coffee, so not up to my usual questionable level of mental capacity. I’m someone who can never pass a seed rack so I stopped at one for a quick peruse. There they were, a nice big pack of heirloom variety seed corn and it just seemed like a fun thing to try. I had no serious expectations about production but thought that even if the plants got to a decent size it would be fun to show the local kids.

I planted six kernels, three each on opposite ends of my plot and they all came up. These plants produced eight ears of the sweetest, juiciest, most delicious corn that I had eaten in years. It was so good that I could have just pulled it off the stalks and eaten it uncooked right on the spot. Of course, it probably wouldn’t have turned out as well if it was all part of some big master gardening plan…but being the stubborn gardener I am, it’s not going to stop me from giving it another try this year.

So this year I’m renting an extra 4’x8′ plot just for planting corn. Last time I planted in early March and harvested in mid June and plan to stick with the same schedule this year. As usual, I’ll try not to get over confident — but I’m hopeful. Stay tuned.

My few stalks of corn did surprisingly well in the community garden last year.

My few stalks of corn did surprisingly well in the community garden last year.

Getting Ready to Plant Something

I was out in the backyard today watching Leo and feeling completely overwhelmed (but in a good way) about the approaching spring. Building on last year’s banner tomato year, both as still life material and on the table, I think it’s just about time to get some in the ground. There’s still a slight chance of a couple of nights close to freezing, but I think I can protect my plants well enough.