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Banging on stuff can be therapeutic
Old 12-05-2007, 12:22 PM   #1
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Banging on stuff can be therapeutic

Well, I have my first EAP counseling session today. And I had a stress EKG on Monday. My personal feelings are that I did better than last November. But I was still looking for a little "self-therapy". So I started banging on things. Nope, I haven't lost it.

Cindy and I are starting our path toward a self-sufficient homestead this spring. We are going to get serious about a garden. We both like the idea of bio-intensive gardening, a la "square foot gardening." So I spent the morning building a 4' x 8' x 19" deep box for our first bed. I plan to fill this with the leaves (which I still haven't raked) and then top it off with some wonderful feed lot compost from a farmer friend of mine.

Now, I do have to put this in perspective though. It's only 28 outside and it's snowing. But it was a thoroughly enjoyable exercise. I did it all with hand tools, despite having all the power tools one would need to become an independent contractor (including air powered nail guns). Somehow, the physical process of building was all the more enjoyable for that.

Next comes a storage shed. Something on the scale of abour 12' x 16' I think. I believe it might just be another hand powered project also.
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Old 12-05-2007, 01:15 PM   #2
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We both like the idea of bio-intensive gardening, a la "square foot gardening." So I spent the morning building a 4' x 8' x 19" deep box for our first bed. I plan to fill this with the leaves (which I still haven't raked) and then top it off with some wonderful feed lot compost from a farmer friend of mine.

.....I did it all with hand tools, despite having all the power tools one would need to become an independent contractor (including air powered nail guns). Somehow, the physical process of building was all the more enjoyable for that.

Next comes a storage shed. Something on the scale of abour 12' x 16' I think. I believe it might just be another hand powered project also.
Congrats!!! I really like raised-bed gardening! You can stuff so much in them...and you don't have to crawl along to work in them. I have an L-shaped one by the patio which I can work in from the comfort of my patio chair. I've built mine with common hand tools also......I have to admit that I did use a cordless drill with an 18" long bit to drill for the 3' long steel rods that I pounded in about every 4' to hold everything square. Other than that it was an "armstrong" hammer and 10" spikes, and all of the timbers were cut with a hand saw. I didn't feel like messing with power cords!

I have several raised-beds....some wood and some stacked block. I also use a LOT of containers....'store bought' and 'adapted'. The 'adapted' are a mix of buckets, half-barrels, tubs, wooden boxes, and other stuff like that.....and I plant everything from herbs & greens, to tomatoes & peppers in them. I even planted zucchini squash in one this year. And I always get bumper crops of everything!

In both the raised-beds and the containers, I plant a mix of veggies, herbs, and flowers. I've found that by putting flowers in with the veggies, the veggies get pollinated better because more pollinators are attracted there by the flowers. Especially true for my squash! My friends and neighbors had few if any squash this year.....and I had far more than I could possibly use! They said they had lots of blossoms, but very few pollinators.

Another benefit of "bio-intensive" gardening is that it helps create a diverse bio-system that attracts all sorts of lil' creatures.....insects....that not only pollinate but also eat the other pests. We have oodles of preying mantises that eat just about any bug the can catch. Loads of lady bugs. And bees and wasps by the swarm! BTW, wasps eat aphids! And a gazillion butterflies & moths. And of all the bugs flying and crawling around, we ourselves have NEVER been bothered (or stung) by any of them.

We don't use ANY pesticides at all.....don't need to with the bio-diversity. The only thing that I have to do is 'flick' a japanese beetle into a cup of soapy water once in a great while.....maybe 6-8 beetles a year.

I'll be finishing another raised-bed in the spring....it's 5' x 12' and 20" high. It's being built around/over my old compost pile....so it's 'pre-filled' with brown gold! I'm building a new compost bin a few feet away.....two 3'x3'x3' bins side-by-side.

Happy gardening!!!

Goonie
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Old 12-05-2007, 01:28 PM   #3
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What did you use for lumber?
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Old 12-05-2007, 03:14 PM   #4
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Cindy and I are starting our path toward a self-sufficient homestead this spring. We are going to get serious about a garden. We both like the idea of bio-intensive gardening, a la "square foot gardening." So I spent the morning building a 4' x 8' x 19" deep box for our first bed. I plan to fill this with the leaves (which I still haven't raked) and then top it off with some wonderful feed lot compost from a farmer friend of mine.
Be careful using leaves; they can be quite acidic, and most garden plants do not like this.

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Old 12-05-2007, 03:14 PM   #5
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Goonie, I built two kind of L-shaped boxes last spring, with the corners at 45. If I'd gotten around to the other two they would have all made a neat little octagon with a sitting area in the middle. Kind of letting my artsy side slip thru. Unfortunately, in the years since our last garden a tree on the neighbor's property has grown up and shaded the old garden spot until after noon. So I built this new box up on the hill next to the pool. Full sun from early morn 'til late evening. The two old boxes, provide I can move them are going to dragged up to the front yard and placed on opposite corners of our driveway entrance, where they will become herbal/floral focal points.

Martha, I used pressure treated 2x10's. And I know some people say not to use PT in gardens. I lined the inside with 6 mil plastic to prevent leaching of the chemicals into my soil, just in case. But all my reading indicates leaching never reached toxic levels, and even then it was only inches from the lumber. It is a risk I am willing to accept, sort of like riding my motorcycles.
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Old 12-05-2007, 04:14 PM   #6
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You're singing my song. Build raised beds, grow lots of greens and other veg. Fresh veggies taste ten times better than store-bought, so you eat more of them and less of the more highly calorific stuff. The more successful my garden, the less my weight problem.
I made raised beds from pine first (I was too poor to buy cedar), then cedar later. The pine bed lasted for more than a decade in a sunny spot, although I had to be careful digging around the edges in the later years. The cedar bed in a shady area that seldom dried out lasted less time. We have carpenter ants here.
In the early years I buried leaves under about six inches of soil and had no problems. In our short season the roots never go that deep anyway. Oh, but the earthworms loved it!
Fresh greens all summer and more blanched and frozen away for the winter! Edible pod peas! Fresh cilantro at every meal! Baby lettuce! Tomatoes on the vine!
Bliss!
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Old 12-05-2007, 05:20 PM   #7
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what about deer and rabbits? - ERD50
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Old 12-05-2007, 05:32 PM   #8
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Here's FAQ on Pressure Treated Wood that I thought may be of some interest. There used to be the big fear of using treated lumber because of the use of CCA (Chromated Copper Arsenate) because of the chromium and arsenic content. However, CCA isn't used in residential or general consumer wood products anymore (still some in commercial and agricultural use though).

Most of the treated lumber I've seen and/or used around here is treated with ACQ-C (Alkaline Copper Quat Type C) or ACQ-D Carbonate (Alkaline Copper Quat Type D, Carbonate formulation). It takes a major toll on metal fasteners, unless you use decent galvanized or stainless. I've seen it almost completely corrode away 5/16" diameter steel rod in just a couple of years. Not sure what, if any, major health risks the new ACQ's pose, but it's what has been recommended (as far as treated lumber is concerned) for raised beds and such for several years.

That stated, I prefer redwood and cedar over treated any day! My new raised bed will have side constructed of 4" X 8" (full dimension) timbers that I salvaged during a demolition project at w*rk a couple of years ago. They're rock solid, even thought they were in and under water for 50 years!
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Old 12-05-2007, 07:17 PM   #9
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what about deer and rabbits? - ERD50
Let them plant their own. My garden is inside a 3' picket fence, which is inside the 5' tall solid board fence I have around my backyard. If they can get over the first fence they still have to out run my Airedale and Chocolate Lab. And I don't see rabbits getting up in beds that are 19" and more above the ground.

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You're singing my song....Bliss!
You are not kidding, it's fantastic. Picking a sun warmed tomato fresh off the vine and sprinkling a little salt on it for that first fresh bite of summer...heaven.

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Not sure what, if any, major health risks the new ACQ's pose, but it's what has been recommended (as far as treated lumber is concerned) for raised beds and such for several years.
That's pretty much what I have read too.
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