Friday, August 15, 2008

New Garden Boxes

Hi, Everybody! The new garden boxes are pretty much finished. I have left one side open for now as the weather is still nice, but if it threatens to freeze, I'll splice on some more plastic and close the covers up. Here's how I made the boxes.


15, 2" x 8" x 10' boards
16, 1" x 4" x 10' boards
3, 1" x 2" (furring strips) boards
2, 2" x 4" x 8' boards
about 1# 2" galvanized wood screws
about 1# 4" galvanized wood screws
about 1# 1 1/4" thin galvanized nails for nailing PVC clamps
about 60 1 1/2" 6d galvanized wood screws
24 sticks of 1/2" PVC pipe
50 clamps for 1/2" PVC pipe
4 bags 25' long 10' wide 3 mil plastic* (*If you want regular 6 mil greenhouse plastic, you can order it from Farmtek or try to get it locally from a nursery supply or farm store like Fleet Farm or Tractor Supply.)
18 strap hinges
Stapler that uses T50 staples and staples
Scrap lumber

NOTE: Build the boxes where you want them to be as they are heavy to move.

Cut three of the 2" x 8" boards in half and using 2" x 8"s and 4" wood screws make three 5' x 20' frames. Splice long boards on inside and outside using 6" piece of 2" x 4" and 4" wood screws. Reinforce corners with 6" piece of 2" x 4" and 4" wood screws.

Cut three 1" x 4" boards in half and using 1" x 4"s and 2" wood screws make three 5' x 20' cover frames for the three base frames. Reinforce splices inside and out using 6" piece of 1" x 4" and 2" wood screws.

Align cover frame flush to the outside of the base frame on one long side and attach 6 strap hinges evenly spaced on that side of the box. Do for all three boxes.

Using clamps and small galvanized nails, attach both ends of 8 pieces of 1/2" PVC pipe evenly spaced on both sides of each box cover. Now cut 48 2" pieces of furring strips. Using 1 1/2" wood screws, screw a block piece flush with the base of the cover below each piece of PVC. (Pipes will be loose in clamps and will slide out of place each time you lift the cover if the block is not installed.)

Look at the covers. Unless you are obsessive/compulsive and have made sure all your work is plumb, the covers will probably overlap their base at some point. If so, cut 10" pieces of 1" x 4" board and nail to the outside of base frame where the cover overlaps. This will act as a restraint to keep the cover in place.

Open one bag of plastic at a time (don't do this on a windy day) and pull the plastic over the hoops. Try to make the plastic relatively tight over the hoops and even on each long side of the cover. Loosely staple plastic to cover frame being careful to put plastic inside of base frame restraints (or else you won't be able to open the cover without tearing the plastic!). One short side of each box will have enough plastic to completely cover the end. Gather the excess plastic together at this end and staple to the cover frame. The other short end will not have enough plastic to enclose it. When you want to close the cover entirely, you will cut a piece of plastic from the 4th roll of plastic you bought and tape it to the open end using good strapping tape or regular greenhouse film repair tape and then gather the plastic together and secure as you did for the opposite end. Use of the staples is temporary. I intend to purchase 15 more furring strips and screw them to the outside of the cover frame over the plastic. I think this will secure the plastic better in inclement weather. To hold the covers up for working in the box, I will cut two 4' lengths of 2" x 4"s and notch both ends so they don't slip. Scrap lumber can be used to crack the covers open for ventilation on cold days.

They aren't perfect, but I think these boxes are going to help me improve my vegetable production over a longer season. For someone with no formal construction experience, I think I did a pretty good job. By the way, the boxes are filled with my 4 year-old composted chicken bedding. I will fill the boxes to the top with more dirt after I harvest what I have currently planted in them. I also used scrap lumber to reinforce the end hoops.

I hope you find the pictures helpful.

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