With treated 4x6 timbers and some old treated hand rails, we built the following vegetable garden to keep those garden pests (such as Julius also known as
Droolius Maximus or Pookie). If you’re more interested in this large rodent than vegetable gardening, go to Pookie’s Page.
Layout: This may eventually turn into a greenhouse
so I made it 16 feet wide. The 4x6 treated timbers that frame the raised beds and hold the posts will double as a low-tech foundation.
First Side: Use a string, stakes, hammer, 4’ level
and a tape measure to layout one wall parallel or perpindicular to the house or garden structure. Line up one row of timbers with the string and level by
digging into the ground or setting on bricks. Start at the first corner (cornerstone) and continue the entire length. It’s OK to slope the frame slightly but try to make
your slope consistent so it’s not too noticeable. Use a maul to drive 2x4x24 inch stakes every 4 feet and at joints (on the inside
of the frame) and screw using (6) 3 1/2 x # 10 wood screws. Pre-drill the holes to keep the wood from splitting and to keep the
screws from stripping out. You can also use lag screws which are much stronger.
Ends: Attach the end timbers perpidicular to the side timbers
with 3/8 x 8 lag screws. Pre-drill a 1/4 hole 7-1/2” deep and counter bore 3/8” through side rail.
Second Side: Space timbers 4’ outside edge to outside
edge parallel to the outside timber. Keep level with outside timbers.
Interior timbers: Build (3) boxes 16’ by 4’ wide. Space
equally and level. Attach to 2x4 stakes with decking screws.
Posts: Every 8 feet. The posts are notched. Attach securely
with (2) 6” lag screws or (5) 3-1/2 #10 decking screws.. Make sure the posts are plumb using a level and hold with a large C-clamp. Pre-drill the holes so the wood doesn’t crack.
Rail: The rails are built out of treated 2x4’s, 2x2, and top hand rail. Assemble
using 2-1/2” long decking screw. Attach to post using brackets or “toe nail” with screws.
Gates: Cut a section of handrail to lenght to fit the opening and
screw a diagonal cross brace to keep it from sagging. Install hinges and latch.
Soil Preparation: To prep the beds, double dig and add
composted manure, peat and compost.
Soaker Hoses and Timers: Use (3) soaker hoses 75’ long
and run the entire lenght of the beds. On the three center beds, run the hose underground in a piece of drain pipe. For walkways between beds,
cover with weed block and 2 to 3” gravel. Battery operated timers can be
programmed at automatic intervals or connected to a moisture probe. I usually set it up to come on 20 minutes a day either early morning or late evening.
Planting and Mulching: Plant seedling or seeds in rows or
mounds. With raised beds you can usually plant a little closer than recommended in rows. Apply a few inches of mulch around plants
to keep the moisture in and the weeds down. For layout of plants see the books at the right or an new listing on companion planting.
Controlling Pests: Row covers will keep most of the flying insects out. Buy a good insect mesh rated for the insects in your area. There are lots
of organic ways to control insects - beneficial predatory insects, natural plant extracts, traps, etc. that are good for the environment and good for you. I’ll try to publish a bug page soon . . . . We were
a little late planting in 2001 but had good crop of tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, basil, sweet potatoes, beans and
Okra. The squash bugs got the “squash” so we’re going to try again with row covers.
2002: We’re expanding to 64’ x 64’ raised beds. and 100’ x 100’ rows for the melons / sweet potatoes and cukes. We ordered open
pollinated varieties so we could propagate our own seeds.