New Boxes from Old Fences!

I sighed.  Then I sighed again. Louder.

“What’s the matter?” dearest husband asked.

“Everyone has a garden but me. I miss having a garden”, I whined pouted said.

“But we can’t have a garden, remember?”

This has been the general conversation around our house for the last month or so.  Every blog I read is gushing over with pictures of happy little seedlings peaking out of the ground, questions about whether the frost is finally over, and even those in the South who are already harvesting.

melon

I grew some wonderful melons last year!

I’m jealous.  I had a garden last year and it was wonderful!  I had a bumper crop of tomatoes and peppers, my black turtle beans did very well and I still have some green beans left in my freezer!  My grandson and I had a beautiful crop of sunflower seeds that were at least 15 feet tall when all was said and done, with heads a foot across!  I harvested some beets and a few misshaped carrots.  I dealt with squash mosaic virus and ended up losing all of my zucchini plants to that dreaded disease – lessons learned.  And the corn?  Well, lets just say that it looked great, but I didn’t stagger my harvest so we only ate fresh corn for a couple of weeks. That’s okay – I froze the rest.  My greatest pleasure was when my grandchildren came over to help.  And also my first ever purple potato harvest! This year I still have remnants of last year’s garden with volunteer tomato, bean and sunflower plants.  I potted up some of the tomatoes, but without garden space, the beans and sunflowers will just have to be tilled under for the sod.  Sigh.

I had a beautiful bumper crop of anaheim chile plants last year.

I had a beautiful bumper crop of anaheim chile plants last year.

I miss gardening.  But, we are preparing our home to sell (so we can move up to our future homestead – hooray!) and the real estate professionals say that gardens do not sell houses, pretty, green, un-ecological, water-wasting, nitrogen eating lawns do.  So, last year’s garden will soon be a sea of green sod.  Sigh.

But, my husband loves me – yes he does!  Last month he replaced one of our fences and still had most of the boards piled in a corner.  So, do you know what that sweetheart did?  He built me some raised boxes out of the old fence boards and set up an automatic irrigation system to boot up on our future homestead!  Did I tell you I have the best husband in the world?

Salvaged raised bed boxes

The old fence had seen better days, but we were going to give it a new life!

The boards are cedar and they are still in fairly good shape.  The 2×4 rails, however, had seen better days. But we picked through and found the best ones to build the boxes with. Ray decided to make the boxes two boards high, or about 12″ tall.  He used the 2 x 4’s as stakes and support, while the boards made the sides.  When all of the pieces were assembled, Ray cut the pieces and parts on the tailgate of his pick-up truck.  We decided to go with a 2′ x 5′ planting bed simply because after trimming all the rotten and split wood off the boards, this is the largest bed we could have!

Raised Garden Boxes out of Salvaged Wood

The ground is hard clay, which is another reason to build raised boxes for the vegetable garden. We were able to save that beautiful wild iris in the middle of the picture!

Once the raised box pieces and parts were cut, we needed to dig a bit of a hole in the dirt where each 2 x 4 post was going to go, fill it with water to soak into the clay soil, then dig a few more inches.  Whew – that was the hardest part!  Once the ground had softened a bit, Ray pounded the 2 x 4 posts into the ground until they were good and solid (he had cut a V in the bottom of each post).  Well, maybe that was the hardest part.

Then came time to screw the boards into the 2 x 4 posts.  A few of the boards cracked a little, but they generally held up good and solid, and so the boxes were done!

Now Ray set up an automatic watering system because, sadly, we can’t be up on our future homestead all of the time.  When we had the garden in our backyard last year we used a watering system that took advantage of the risers from our previous lawn’s sprinklers (which will now be converted back to lawn sprinklers).

Raised box automatic watering gardening system

Here is the CIA (Central Irrigation Apparatus) of our watering system.

This watering “outlet hub” screwed into the risers and had eight ports  to which the watering lines are attached.  Ray knew this would work well and he patterned our new system much like our gravity fed system we have worked out for our orchard, with an automatic timer.  The hub was placed on a wooden stake to keep it upright, which was right smack dab in the middle of the boxes he built.  He then cut the water lines to the lengths needed to reach the center of each planting box and attached them to the hub.  The timer was hooked up to the spigot at the bottom of one of our 1,100 gallon water storage tanks and was set to run 15 minutes every morning.

The first test didn’t go so well.  At first all eight water lines had water coming out the ends, then a couple lines sputtered and a few stopped water flow completely.  Ray detatched the water hose from under the hub and discovered that ants had set up a nest in the hose, and had caused a blockage in the hub system!  Ugh.  After that was cleared we tried again.  Perfect!

I filled the boxes with some purchased organic garden soil, some native clay soil, and some of our lovely compost, planted the volunteer tomatoes and watered them in.  It’s a good thing we got them transplanted because their roots were coming out of the bottom of the hole in the pot and a few got torn during the transplant!  Because of this, I was worried that they might wilt, so I gave them an extra dose of water. It will be fun to see which type of tomatoes these turn out to be. Last year I grew 4 different types of tomatoes, from yellow and red heirlooms to some really good sweet-as-candy grape tomatoes.

Old Fence becomes Planter Boxes

The tomatoes finally have a home where they can spread their roots! 😉

The next morning I checked on them and – sure nuf – they had been watered by the automatic system (yes!) and they were not wilted at all (double yes!).   Next week I will get some more plants for the other boxes Ray built – maybe peppers – although it might be a bit late for this season.  But, at least the boxes will be ready for a fall crop!  🙂

So now I have a vegetable garden afterall, even if it’s just a couple of tomato plants!  I may not get to see it but once every other week or so.  Yeah – I may even end up with a lot of rotten tomatoes because I won’t be there to pick them every day.  But at least I have a garden now.

I just wish I could be there every day to tend to it!  Sigh.

While I can’t garden every day, perhaps I can live vicariously through YOUR garden!  So – please tell me – how does your garden grow?

Our Three Peas
Green Thumb Thursday

 

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42 thoughts on “New Boxes from Old Fences!

  1. Woot! Congrats on getting your garden 🙂 Your hubby is so sweet. And you can be patient while you wait to move out there knowing you will be in garden heaven when you get to live at the homestead year ’round!! 🙂 Don’t forget some marigold friends for your ‘maters!

    • Oh – you are right – I need some marigolds! Thanks for the reminder. Of course, I do still have some potatoes coming up in the compost heap also. So, between the maters and taters, we have an official garden! 🙂

  2. It so sad that people see a garden as a negative when they purchase a house. I think lawn can be so much more work than a garden. We just had to replace a portion of our lawn because it just wouldn’t grow well. This time we had sod put in and the ground mounded to keep the water from pooling. If this doesn’t work a pond it will be.

    Your husband is so nice to make you a raised bed. Such a great guy.

    • Yeah – I didn’t want to argue with the real estate lady that I already had a big beautiful lawn in both the front of the house and the side backyard. She said lawns make people think “outdoor living” and kids playing on the swingset kind of thing. Okay. Whatever. Hopefully it won’t be my house after this summer anyway. Good luck with your lawn, though I think a pond would be lovely. And, yes, my husband is a great guy. That’s why I snatched him up almost 38 years ago!

  3. It is sad that gardening is seen as a negative. The people behind us have chickens and a rooster. I love them, but I’m afraid others don’t. The people next to them are trying to sell their house and I don’t think the chickens are adding to the appeal.

    • Some areas allow hens but not rooster – for obvious reasons. I love them. What I don’t like is our back door neighbor’s little dogs that yip-yap from 6 AM to 9 PM. I guess I should be glad they don’t bark at night, but jeeze louise, every time we go into our backyard the little monsters yip-yap-yip. I hope it doesn’t scare away buyers from our home!! But, back to the gardening thing, I suspect that as food prices keep rising, more and more people will “see the light” and begin gardening also. Thanks for your comment, Pam.

    • Thank you Rachel and Kathy! I love the name of your blog. I have two sisters and we have “sisterhood days” where we shop until we drop, or a slumber party.

  4. This makes me unbelievably excited. We just fenced our yard in and have a lot of left over fence panels. I had planned to make a compost coroner out of some but I still had a ton left over. This will work perfectly!

    • Oooo – a compost corner! We still have some left over fence material also – I should make a compost corner! Hahaha – I love how I get great ideas from other bloggers – thank you, Manda!

  5. How thoughtful of your husband! I wish we can have a garden too but we live in an apartment complex where the ground is cemented. I have a few plants though (3 actually, so sad) in a pot. I plan to add a couple more, maybe basil and pepper.

    • I’m right there with you! I still have my (ahem) pot garden – a tomato plant, a basil plant, two blueberry plants (1 died), three volunteer baby almond trees, two pomegranate, one meyer lemon and one tanga mandrin – all in pots! Most of these will go into the ground when we move up to our future homestead. If you plant a pepper, you should try an Anaheim Chile. They are soooo good, but not too hot! I make chile rellenos and bbq chile poppers with them.

    • Hello, Ashey! You wouldn’t believe how many tomato plant volunteers I have had this year and it makes me feel so good that I could save some of them. I still have a couple in a large pot – I hope they survive. It’s going to be fun seeing what kind of tomatoes I got. Last year I had golden and red heirloom tomatoes and some little grape tomatoes, and I loved them all, so whatever varieties I saved will be wonderful.

  6. I have a huge garden and it is a LOT to take care of. Your little planter boxes look great! Your hubby is awesome to build them for you. Hope you have much success with them. Thank you for sharing at What We Accomplished Wednesdays. Have a lovely week! ~Deborah

    • Hello, Deborah. I hope to have a huge garden soon also. I can’t wait! Thank you for hosting the blog party.

  7. Hey lovely lady, I think your husband is an angel!
    Why would a veggie garden not be a selling point?? It is over here! Though fruit trees are another matter….as are chook pens, but never mind!
    Your tomato plant will do you proud!

    • Thank you so much for the kind words. Go figure – but since we want to sell our house, what’s a girl to do. I will just have to be happy with a few tomato plants in pots at home and the tomatoes that we now have up on our future homestead. However, I am hoping to get maybe some peppers in also. Love my anaheim chile peppers!

      • Yeah, and peppers are a pretty forgiving plant to grow, too, aren’t they?
        Have you got any of your garden in pots? Some veggies cope very well in pots.

        • I do have another pot full of tomatoes. In other pots I have some blueberry bushes and our volunteer almond trees. The problem is that we don’t want too many pots around the backyard while we are selling because we don’t want it to look messy and helter-skelter. Hopefully the veggies in the boxes up on the future homestead will do well.

          • Yeah, fair enough. But at least you’ve got some 🙂 and speaking of potted blueberry, I had one, but I killed it!! I do not know how! It’s the only potted thing I have recently lost >o< but I know you'll treat yours better that I seemed to have treated mine. Lol!

          • Actually, I think one of the blueberries bushes, maybe two now, are dead. 🙁 But that’s okay, these were rescues that cost only 99 cents. One of them is looking pretty good right now and the other still has green stems, but no leaves yet. We will see. Maybe I’m just not very good with blueberries.

  8. I love the re use of wood, and for such a good purpose. Your tomatoes will thank you and you will reap the rewards!!! Thanks for stopping by Weekends Are Fun, appreciate it.
    Have a great weekend
    Karren

    • Yes, yes!! I hope to reap many tomatoes! I also love the re-use of the fence wood – so much better than shipping it to the landfill. Plus, it was free. 🙂 I hope you have a great weekend also, Karren!

    • Thank you! The fence boards do look fairly rustic, don’t they! 🙂 The best part, however, was that they were free.

  9. Such a great idea while you are in transition a raised garden bed. Even though I strongly disagree with your real estate agent. I looked for 2 years for our current home because I wanted an existing garden and some curb appeal. Plus a great spot to entertain family and friends. Some home buyers might look and say “Thats going to be work to put in grass, flowers or a small patio:…I do some research on it and take what she said with a grain of salt. But thats my humble opinion and those are like weeds. Everybody has those…lol

  10. Thanks for sharing this post on The Green Thumb Thursday Garden Blog Hop. We hope you will join us again this week.
    That was so sweet of your husband to build you a raised bed! I love when my husband does things like this for me, it’s better than receiving flowers! 🙂

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  13. That’s funny, when I was looking to purchase my first home, a garden was one of the things that appealed to me. Different strokes, I guess. I am so glad that you will be able to do a little gardening this year.

    I am so happy to find your blog through Green Thumb Thursday. I have chosen this post as my “Featured Post.” Feel free to join in again this week and don’t forget to grab your featured badge. Thank you for sharing at Green Thumb Thursday. You have a new reader. Don’t forget to grab your Featured Badge:
    http://growagoodlife.com/new-boxes-old-fences-green-thumb-thursday/

    • Good morning, Rachel. Thank you so much for the feature! I am so glad you like those recycled planters. At least I should get some good tomatoes this year – I hope! The lawn has already been sodded and is actually quite pretty in a sea of green, just not very practical. I already entered a post for today on harvesting rosemary and then cooking with it! Thanks again.

  14. Thank you for sharing this post at City of Creative Dream’s City of Links on Friday! I appreciate you taking the time to party with me. Hope to see you again today 🙂

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