Thirty Minute Thirty Dollar Raised Bed

Herb Garden
       Our generous nurseryman Tim (my step-father and the kids’ go-to ‘Papa’) had on his own initiative cultivated a bunch of herb plants and flowers – fifteen to be exact – in backyard pots.  One day he told us they were ready for planting, so I had to build something fast.  Despite its relative impermanence in the world I decided to go with an 8’x4’ raised bed made simply out of 2×10’s and screws and laid flat on the ground, no stakes or setting needed.  
  I bought three untreated 2x10s, 8’ long ($27), cut one in half, pre-drilled four holes at each corner and assembled with 4” exterior screws (a few bucks, but I already had them).  I used my corded drill since my cordless lacked the power I needed – that, and I love an excuse to use yellow tools.  I still had trouble sinking them so I stood the whole box up on end and used a step ladder to get on top of it.  Done: thirty minutes.
       I took a few minutes to locate the new bed so it worked with our future deck and landscaping plan.  It was level as it sat on the ground so I could have been done there, but no.  I’ve been noticing the other beds leaking water out their bottoms when being watered, making a muddy mess.  I decided to trench the bed into the ground a couple inches to see if it would stop the problem, or at least curb it.  It didn’t, as you can see in the photos, so I have to find a better solution.  (What isn’t pictured here is the labor I brought on myself when I nicked our coaxial cable wire that was buried not more than an inch below the surface.  I had to tape it up then trench it another few inches into the ground where it passed under the bed itself.)
       After picking up a scoop of compost we filled this bed along with a kids garden we created.  Colleen and I planted the herbs, locating them in such a way that separated similar varieties and put flowers between.  To avoid having tags throughout, which could easily and quickly be removed as toys for little hands, I created a reference chart.  I set up three masonry ladders, cut to a length appropriate to the bed size, and draped Agribon over the top to protect against the sun’s inferno.  Between the fertilized soil, the soaker hose irrigation, and the shaded canopy, we should have a thriving herb garden that’s right outside our kitchen door.  

reference chart

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