Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Expanding my Garden in the Desert

I wanted to share with you my "garden" progress...

raised beds

A little while back I shared with you my plan/dream for some raised beds...

My growing space has been very limited and I was only using pots around the yard and these large planters.  Ever since we moved here our yard has been a work in progress and every year we add and improve.  This year we built some raised beds and I am so excited about them.

We wanted to spend as little money as possible, make them as eco friendly as possible,  but still make them strong enough to last a good while.  So here is what we came up with...

First we took a little trip to Home Depot.  Well, we actually we started off at Lowes, but they were unable to cut our wood for us.  Apparently they can only cut wood that is 1" thick or less, so boo on them and good to know for the future.

We were super happy to find the wood we wanted, and that we were able to have it cut to any length we wanted at Home Depot.  We picked up 8- 2" x 12" x 10' boards and had them cut in half.  We also picked up a couple 2"  x 2" x 10' boards and had them cut down to fit in our car.

We used the smaller boards for corner pieces and screwed everything together.  The boxes ended up approximately 5' x 5'.  

Next I painted everything with Raw Linseed Oil.  I bought natural untreated boards because I didn't want any chemicals seeping into the soil, but I was worried they wouldn't last very long.  So after some research I decided to use an old method of wood protection,  Linseed Oil.  Raw Linseed Oil is Flaxseed Oil which they sell in the vitamin section, so I figured it was pretty safe.  I bought the raw untreated version because there are some linseed oils out there with chemicals in them so that they dry quicker.  So make sure you read the labels before buying.  This oil does take along time to dry, but since I live in a desert I wasn't worried.  I left them to dry in my garage for about a week and after that they were still slightly greasy, but I'm not sitting on them or anything so it didn't bother me.  I just brushed it on, it's basically like painting on olive oil.  

Raw Linseed Oil for raised beds

Once they were somewhat dry we moved them to the backyard and into place.  We quickly discovered our yard was not as level as we thought, which is probably our fault.  So we just dug out some dirt under the high parts until everything was level.  

Here is Leo inspecting the new beds...

Now we were finally ready for some dirt!  I was so excited until I realized how stinking expensive and heavy dirt could be.  We ended up buying the cheapest dirt we could at our local nursery and just amended it ourselves.  

desert gardening

I could not wait to get some of my plants and seeds in...

desert gardening

 I still want to make this area a little prettier.  First I want to remove the grass between the beds because I feel that will be a nightmare to keep mowed.  Then this fall I want to add an olive tree to the middle for something nice to look at.  I think this summer will pretty much be one giant experiment.  Each box gets a different amount of sun so I still need to figure that out and figure out how much I can fit and grow in each.  Hopefully I will only have good updates this summer, but you never know.  Fingers crossed!

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