I have had a bit of a dream for a while now of having my own garden out back and it’s finally happening this year!! We love cooking food that’s as fresh as possible here in our house, so it only makes sense that we would also have a little garden out back to get some produce from as well. Plus, now that we have a toddler, I definitely want to teach our daughter how to love the outdoors and how to grow things out there, so I should probably learn soon so I can show her how!
This post is sponsored by Gilmour, a brand that makes simpler solutions for gardening and watering. When making the garden, we wanted to plan ahead on how we’d take care of it too, and the Gilmour products make watering a garden really convenient. As a working mom, I definitely wanted a process that was quick and easy, so here’s what we did and I think you’ll be surprised how easy this is to make, too!Supplies:
-1″ x 6″ x 8′ cedar boards* (6 of them)
-4″ x 4″ cedar board (at least 4′ long)
-3/4″ x 4″ board (at least 4′ long, doesn’t have to be cedar but should be untreated wood)
–galvanized wood screws 2″ long
-access to a saw (or ask lumber store if they can cut the pieces for you)
–weed barrier cloth
–staple gun and staples -drill
-4′ wide chicken wire (optional)
*Cedar is a super durable outdoor wood so I would suggest getting cedar if you can, even if the measurements are a little different. Call a lumber store if your home improvement store doesn’t carry it.
1. Cut Your Wood!
Start by cutting 2 of your 8′ boards in half so you have 4 boards that are 4′ wide (leave the other 4 boards as is). Cut your 4″ x 4″ board into 4 pieces that are each 1′ long and do the same with your 3/4″ x 4″ boards.2. Build Your Frame!
You’ll use one of your 4″ x 4″ posts for each corner. Line up a 4′ and 8′ board with the bottom half of your post and screw into place.
Repeat the process with each corner until you have a long rectangle built. You can see I positioned the two shorter end boards past the post a bit so the side 8′ boards would fit in snugly between them to complete the corner. Repeat the process with the remaining four boards to complete your sides and use your four 3/4″ x 4″ x 1′ boards to brace the interior of the two long sides as shown above. 3. Line the Bottom!
Take your weed cloth and staple it across the top of your garden bed in strips until it is covered (the top will now become the bottom). I lined it in overlapping strips in one direction (like above) and then did a few strips the opposite direction (longways) for double coverage. As an optional move, if you have problems in your yard with moles, voles, or gophers, I would also line the bottom with a layer of chicken wire on top (use your staple gun to attach) to keep them from digging up through your garden. We have a huge mole problem in our yard, so this was a necessary step for us!4. Flip ‘N’ Fill!
Once your bottom liners are attached, flip your garden bed over, place it in the spot where you want it to stay, and it’s ready to fill!
I would ask your local garden/plant store if they have soil they sell in bulk since that’s the best deal. The place near us did and they also delivered the soil, which was a big help—he even backed the truck up and dumped the soil right in!You did it! Now it’s time to pick out your plants and get this garden planted! You’ll notice that I have a grid on top of my garden which is another optional thing to do, but it helps to keep your plants all organized and it’s easy to add if you want to. I got PVC flat trim from the home improvement store (it’s a little over 1″ wide and super thin) and cut seven pieces that just fit inside the box widthwise and three that fit inside the box lengthwise. I spaced them out evenly and then screwed them together at each juncture with a small short screw—easy!Watering your garden is obviously a super important step, so make sure you are planning to put your garden not only where it will get a lot of light (8 hours of sun a day is ideal), but where you can also get to it with a hose (or not too far from a hose so you can fill up a bucket and carry it over). Our hose was too short to reach our garden location, so we got a pretty new hose and this awesome nozzle with swivel connect, which lets the nozzle turn or pivot without getting the hose all twisted! It has a bunch of settings so you can choose one that’s perfect for gentle watering at the base of each plant (it’s best not to get the leaves wet if you can help it, so that’s why I water at the base). It also has a thumb control on the nozzle so you can easily control the water pressure as well as needed for more fragile plants—love it! We ended up adding a cage to the top of ours because we have a lot of animals around (since we live right next to the woods) and didn’t want them to get all the goodies as they grow. You may need to consider that depending on where you live and what you are growing (not all animals are interested in everything in your garden).
We built box frames out of thin boards, draped chicken wire over them (up, over, and down one side and then up and over the top on the opposite side leaving one section that would face the middle open) and stapled that on, and then added two wooden “X”s on each cube for stability. Then we lined each cube up with an end (the only side without chicken wire facing the middle so that area is open) and used hinges on each end so I can flip them open to water and then flip them back in place. If you have any gaps in the middle where a critter can get into, just use some extra boards on one of the cubes to close the gap and open that side first and shut that side last. Again, you may not need this step, but I just wanted to show you what we came up with!
Also, as a side note, some people advocate that you don’t need a 12″ tall garden box and can grow almost everything in a 6″ tall box, so that’s possible if you are trying to be more budget conscious. It’s a little easier on your back to have the taller bed and you can grow some things (like carrots) that have roots too deep for a 6” deep bed, so just make sure you can grow the items you want in the shorter bed if you decide to do that.
I’ve been using this book as my gardener’s guide so far (it was recommended to me at the plant store!), so I would definitely recommend that to any of you other first-time gardeners as well. It also tells you how to care for and troubleshoot different plant problems. I can’t tell you how excited I am to watch all these guys grow and eventually eat some good food too! Hope you decide to give it a try and let me know if you’re an old pro and have a gardening resource that you love to use as well! xo. Laura