My new, critter proof, raised garden beds

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  #1  
Old 04-08-09, 03:26 PM
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Cool My new, critter proof, raised garden beds

Howdy all!

I'm constructing a garden bed designed to keep out the local deer, racoons, squirrels, possums, skunks and all other veggie eating critters.

I'm using cedar for the bed walls, and treated lumber for anything that doesn't touch the soil.

The overall dimensions are 14 feet wide by 12 feet deep, and the beds are three feet wide in most places, 29 inches wide in the front. The depth of the beds will be 23-1/2 inches.

I've already had the lumber delivered, and 10 yards of sandy loam (with compost) delivered.

I'll be posting pics of my progress over the next few weeks, and invite any questions, suggestions or observations. Below, find the plans.











Take care everyone!

Quietman
 
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  #2  
Old 04-09-09, 10:26 AM
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Wow!! Now I need one of those!!! That looks fantastic.

Newt
 
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Old 04-28-09, 02:54 PM
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Smile would you share?

Your plans look great, saw something similar in store fo 1000 bucks!! would you share a materials list/blue print and the amount you have spent so far on this. Yours is WAY better than the mass produced in china version!!!!!!!!!
 
  #4  
Old 04-28-09, 04:21 PM
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Raised Beds

The wire sides will be a great place for raccoons and opossums to climb. I would add a wire top.
 
  #5  
Old 04-29-09, 12:04 PM
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Quietman: Any pictures yet?

I would not worry about enclosing the top of your garden. I have not seen one that is attractive and I have never had trouble with animals climbing the fence. Just watch for any opening close to the ground that small animals can get through, especially around the gate. If you do have trouble with animals climbing over the fence a few electrified lines (electric fence) are unobtrusive and very effective.

I enclose my blueberries in 1/4" netting to keep the birds away. But everything else does well in open top, fenced areas.
 
  #6  
Old 04-29-09, 03:36 PM
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Post Plans, typical details, cut lists

Well, I've actually got this thing about 70% built, but thought I'd start at the top with some of the detail drawings I developed. BTW, I used Google Sketchup (FREE) and I'm very impressed with it's capabilities.


Below is a drawing of the "base" layer:



Here's my cut list of the 2x12 cedar planks. All boards were 12 footers, except "B" and "E" which were 14 footers by mistake, I'm thinking the lumber yard that delivered the wood did not want to take the time to cut them down to 12 feet (excuse the yellow, something amiss with the jpeg export):



Here is a sample of how I used joist brackets for attaching the "inner" planks:



And here's how I connected the 10 foot tall uprights to the garden bed corners using 5/16" carriage bolts:




Lastly, here's a typical "screen panel" to provide defense from most mammals:



I've got a TON of pics to post, along with my building notes, I'll continue to post as I find time.
 
  #7  
Old 04-29-09, 03:54 PM
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Get materials delivered

After determining (from the drawings) how much wood I would need, I contacted the local lumber yard and made arrangements for the cedar to be delivered. I also decided to use treated lumber (ACQ) for the uprights and stringers since they would not touch the soil. The delivery guy managed to get it into my pole barn (out of the weather). See pic below of the cedar after I removed the treated lumber stacked on top.



I also decided to paint the joist and corner brackets, as well as the carriage bolts, for aesthetic purposes only:



Here was my "command and control" center while I was working on this, do you recognize the drawing??



My plan called for removing the first 23 inches of 1/2 of the 4x4's so they could be mounted to the bed siding (like taking a notch out). I know, some people would like to bury them in concrete, I did not see much benefit.


Because my circular saw only cuts to 2-3/4", and the posts are 3-1/2" thick, I had to draw a line down the center of each post (for each of my 23-1/2" cuts), make one "ripping" cut with the circular saw (using it's built in guide/fence) then flip the post over and make a second cut along the same line. The final cut is made perpendicular to the first two, right at the 23-1/2" mark:
:



Then cleaned them up by making a fixture and using my router for touch up:



Not "perfect" but will certainly serve my purposes. After trimming and cleaning these up, I set all nine posts aside to work on my cut list and installing joist brackets.

Quietman
 

Last edited by Quietman; 04-29-09 at 05:20 PM.
  #8  
Old 04-29-09, 05:24 PM
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Now cut the lumber to size

Once I completed work on the uprights, I started working on the cedar boards. Measuring twice before each cut, I used a speed square to get quick, perpendicular cuts. For those of you not familiar with a speed square, you can see it in the attached photo where I used it to align the brackets before screwing them down.



A few things I learned along the way:

a) The saw seemed to follow the speed square smoothly when the square was to the right of the saw. When positioned on the left, the saw "jumped" and moved about a bit. Soon, I learned to take advantage of the smooth side for all cuts.

b) It pays to cut a 1/2" or so from the ends of the board (especially for rough cut lumber) to insure the ends are square and parallel BEFORE making the final measurements and cuts. Obviously, if you are cutting a 12 foot board into two 6 foot lengths, you may not have this luxury (I was not ALWAYS able to).

c) Make sure your saw blade is sharp. Old, dull blades tend to "kick back", make poor cuts, etc.

I used the measuring tape and speed square to mount the painted joist brackets in the correct positions, as shown in the attached photo.



I used my router to provide the reliefs for the post mounting hardware, as shown below:



I also decided to use the router to "mark" the parts per the plan,making final assembly easier. All marks were made on the non-stained sides. (i.e. the sides that would be buried in soil anyway)



Whenever I finished a pair of parts (there was always a right/left and/or top/bottom combination) I applied stain to the non-soil contact sides so it would have maximum time for curing. The photo below shows a stained versus unstained surface.




More to come.

Quietman
 
  #9  
Old 04-29-09, 05:30 PM
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Some surprises along the way

Because I'm not a carpenter, I guess it shouldn't surprise me to learn something new (and special!) every day!

While it's common knowledge that a 2x4 isn't really a 2x4 (oddly enough, it is before it's dried in the kiln!) but actually a 1-1/2 x 3-1/2. Sooooo...

The deck joists I bought (and painted, good bye refund capability!) are designed to fit standard, dimensional lumber. PROBLEM: My cedar is "rough cut", therefore the boards are ACTUALLY 1-3/4" thick, not 1-1/2".

GOOD NEWS!: Checking online, Simpson (the deck joist guys) actually make joists just for rough cut lumber!Beer 4U2

BAD NEWS!: It takes 2-3 weeks to get them, and planting season is just around the corner.

Alright, I decide to cheat and route 1/8" off each of the boards that connect to the joists. I had to think it through, so none of the "modifications" are visible after assembly (i.e. they will all be on the soil side of the board). Pics below for your amusement!

1st Photo: Look how well the joist fits on a standard 2x4!!!



2nd Photo: Err..now on a "rough cut" piece of lumber



3rd Photo: Use joist as a template (Glad I hadn't mounted them all yet!)



4th Photo: Few minutes with the router



5th Photo: Fits like a GLOVE!



Only 15 more "cheats" to go!

Quietman
 
  #10  
Old 04-29-09, 05:41 PM
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Ready for final assembly

So, after pulling an all nighter to finish all the cuts, staining, "cheats", etc I prepare for my friend to arrive and help me carry the lumber to the build site. We'll need to insure the structure is level and square, and I was hoping everything would go together easily.

Help arrives, and we tote all the lumber to the site. Some of the boards are 14 feet long, so I'm glad for the help!

Our first build site didn't work out so well. I resorted to getting my water level (created during my pond adventure) and we discovered after several frustrating hours that one side would have to be lowered (think digging a trench) about 12", and the other raised (think lifting onto landscape stones) about 12". Alright, we are not golfers and apparently couldn't read a green to save our lives!

We spend a half hour or so locating a secondary site, more LEVEL than the first, adequate sunshine, close enough to the house to discourage deer and easy watering, harvesting, etc.

The only saving grace: It was our first 70 degree day in a LONG time, and the weather was gorgeous!

Eventually, we move to the "beta" site. Everything is level in about 45 minutes, and the base structure completely assembled in another hour.

Please find attached photos.

1st photo: The markings came in handy!



2nd Photo: Glad I added the reliefs for the post mounting




Last three photos: The Raised Beds







Next I need to level the posts that are there, add the three remaining posts and tie up a few loose ends before I fill with soil.

Quietman
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  #11  
Old 04-29-09, 05:46 PM
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Truing the posts

On the weekend we built up the base, I intentionally left the fasteners for the posts "handtight" so I had room to make them true and level.

The process was pretty straight forward. Using a "post level" and speed square, get the post true. Use shims where necessary,tighten all the fasteners, then use a sharp chisel to trim the shims.

I used 5/16" carriage bolts (5 inches long) with 1-1/2" fender washers and lock washers. If you can, use galvanized.

1st photo: Post level and speed square



2nd Photo: Shimming the post



3rd Photo: Trimming the shims with chisel



4th Photo: All buttoned up




In the above photo, the gap between the boards is a result of "rouch cut" lumber. You should have seen it before I clamped it down! Five more of these, and it's almost Corona time! Beer 4U2


Quietman
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Old 04-29-09, 05:52 PM
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Install the remaining posts

For the first six posts, I had pre-drilled the holes to insure (or at least maximize my chances) for true and square installs. I guess I could have done the "center" posts the same, but opted to put them on last. (In retrospect, I think I ran out of time!)

I measured between the corner uprights for each of the three sides, finding the exact center of each bed wall. Using a clamp, I pinned the post to the bed wall:



Then pretty much followed the previous leveling step except that now I also had to drill the holes for the carriage bolts.



 
  #13  
Old 04-29-09, 05:56 PM
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Last minute preparation before adding soil

The rear most bed is 14 feet long and three feet wide. The soil will weigh over three tons.(14 long x 2 deep x 3 wide = 84 cubic feet or 3.1 cubic yards)

All the pressure from the weight is likely to cause the bottom boards to bow out, so I've decided to add 3 foot sections of 1" galvanized pipe. My local Ace hardware store was nice enough to cut the pieces to 3 feet and thread both ends.

I then added a "Pipe floor flange" to each end, and installed them with 1/4" x 2" lag screws.



I tried to install the bottom pipe section nearly center (12" board, so 6" from the bottom). The upper board is in the growing zone, and most of the pressure will be greater near the bottom, so I installed that pipe section 9" from the top. Both pipe sections are installed very close to the 7 foot mark (center) of the 14 foot bed.



This should provide enough rigidity to keep the boards from bowing. The other beds are short enough (6 foot or less) that I am not concerned about them (famous last words??)



The last two photos show the bed with all the posts installed, true and level.





I had a rental Bobcat skid steer delivered to move the 10 cubic yards of soil (instead of 60 wheelbarrow trips), so I had to wrap any remaining work inside the beds.

Quietman
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Old 04-29-09, 06:02 PM
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Bed preparation

I spent today making final preparations before I add the soil, pics are posted below.

I lined the bottom of the beds with newspaper to smother any grass or weeds. I doubt they'd make it through 24" of soil, but why take chances?

Over the newspaper, I placed hardware cloth (1/4" spacing, galvanized) just in case something decides to get cute and try to tunnel underneath and to the goodies!






In the center of the garden beds (where I'll be!) I installed landscape fabric, tucking it under the edges of the bed, to suppress weeds and grass. I'll be covering that with several inches of river rock. The combination should keep weeds down in my work zone, and keep me from working in the mud. (ya, I know I need to straighten the fabric a bit, windy day!)



Along the outside of the beds, I added 18" of landscape fabric, carefully tucking it in under the bed edges. I'll be adding river stone over that as well. It should keep weeds from growing close to the bed and sucking any nutrients up that will inevitably weep from the bed. (I hate to weed eat!)



The last thing I did was install a threshold where the gate will be located, and I placed hardware cloth under that as well to discourage any "tunnel kings". (NOTE: Photo below does not show threshold )



Should have more pics tomorrow, good night all!

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Old 04-29-09, 06:08 PM
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Bobcat arrives, filling the beds

In the photos below, I've added the 10 cubic yards of garden soil to the beds. The mistake I made was not insuring that the Bobcat that was delivered came with a 60" bucket. I ended up with a 74" bucket, and only the bed in the rear could be filled directly from the Bobcat. Thankfully, it was the single largest bed!



I spent today trying to beat the rain tomorrow by getting all the soil in the beds. The gravel border needs some touching up, but I'm happy to work with it when it's wet!





I've also installed (just because I was excited about it!) one of my new "Texas Tomato cages". Lastly, in the rear bed, you may notice onion sets I planted for Spanish yellow and Walla Walla sweets.



One of the photos below is a profile shot of the man behind the plan, that's right, Quietman! (One of Mrs. Quietman's better pics of me!)



Take care everyone, I'll keep you posted on future progress.

Quiet
 
  #16  
Old 04-30-09, 08:47 AM
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The garden looks great and it seems you thought of everything. The fence will certainly be high enough to discourage deer from jumping over and it will make a great trellis if needed. I see you even marked the little tree so you did not run over it with the loader.

I cannot wait to see it when everything is finished.

After showing off with CAD drawings, home-made/pre-made kit, cutting in bolt pockets, individually labled parts, pre-staining, and even leveling the cross support pipes that will be burried... I am glad you screwed-up on the lumber thicknesses .

PS: Nice stand-by generator.
 
  #17  
Old 04-30-09, 03:12 PM
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Wink

Originally Posted by Pilot Dane View Post
... I am glad you screwed-up on the lumber thicknesses .


Ok, ok, we ALL make mistakes! I thought recovered gracefully from that one!!! *LOL*

Quietman
:WH:

P.S. You forgot to mention that I also radiused all the interior, upper bed corners so no one bangs up their knees on the raised bed walls!!
 
  #18  
Old 05-03-09, 03:28 AM
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Start the screen/fencing panels

Before doing anything for the screen panels, I re-measured between all the upright posts to insure I would achieve a good fit.

Starting with the first screen panel, I cut 4 pieces of 1x4 (and 2 pieces of 1x2) treated lumber (ACQ) to the measured length.

Below you can see I'm using a jig to add "pocket holes" so I can mount the cut pieces either to the upright posts (for the 1x4's) or the top edge of the garden bed (for the 1x2's)




I'm putting two holes at each end of the 1x4's, as shown below:




After all the pocket holes are drilled, You can see below where I have placed the "top" rail and center rail on sawhorses with the 48", PVC coated, welded wire fence. I'm cutting the fence with a fencing tool, and as close to the length of wood as possible.




After the fencing is trimmed, pulled square to the wood and clamped down, I'm using hot-dipped galvanized staples to hold down the corners of the fence to the 1x4 boards. My fence cutting tool also has a hammer on the other side, useful for installing the staples.




Once all the staples are hammered in, I've removed all the clamps so I can apply the second layer of 1x4's to sandwich the fencing and "clamp" it between the boards with deck screws. If you look closely, you'll see that the fencing goes nearly to the top edge of the "top" rail, but only to the center of the "center" rail. I want to make sure I leave adequate room on the center rail to accommodate the 36" wide fencing that makes up the lower portion of the screen panel. In other words, the center rail will clamp both the lower and upper sections of the fencing at the same time.




Quietman
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Old 05-03-09, 03:41 AM
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With the 48" section of fencing applied to half the sandwich, it's time to install the 36" fencing:



With both the 48 and 36 fence sections "stapled" on the corners of the top, center and bottom rail, it's time to finish installing the rest of the "sandwich" boards on top of the fencing. I should point out that it's CRITICAL to insure the pieces are well clamped before screwing together with deck screws. Below, you'll see just two clamps on the bottom rail, but I'm just keeping the panel in place while I prepare for the center rail. I'll generally use 5 or 6 clamps per rail, tightened as much as I can:



The screen panel now has all three rails, almost ready for installation:



I've added a temporary piece of lightweight lumber so I can carry this section out to the work site, kinda like a picket sign:



At the wok site, I've already placed a 2x4 across the uprights where I'll be installing this particular screen panel. I've also pre-placed several large clamps on the 2x4. If you look closely, you'll see the 2x4 is placed on it's 2" edge, to minimize deflection when I tighten the clamps. The temporary piece I installed certainly helped when hooking onto the clamps as it's almost 8 feet up!



Quietman
 
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Old 05-03-09, 03:45 AM
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With the screen panel dangling from the clamps now, I'll line up the bottom rail flush to the outside edge of the garden bed wall, and install 1-1/4" deck screws to secure the bottom rail. Due to the tension I'll be applying later, I'm using screws about every six inches on both sides of the bottom rail in pocket holes that I made before assembly:



Now I'll remove the temporary piece of lumber (used for transport and hanging) before I tighten the clamps to pull the fencing tight, and put a little tension on it. I don't want to pull it out of the sandwich of boards, or deflect the 2x4 the clamp is pulling against, just enough to pull the fencing taught:



Almost done! I want to check the level of the top rail, and adjust the clamps to get the board as level as possible. I want to avoid loosening a clamp to achieve level, as the fencing may sag if I do:



With the fencing taught, and the rails level, I'll now go back to the pocket holes for the center and top rail and install 1-1/4" deck screws to secure them:



Now I'll loosen the clamps sufficiently for removal, also removing the 2x4 on top of the rails, and the first panel is installed! Beer 4U2



I'll repeat these steps for the remaining seven screen panels.

Quietman
 
  #21  
Old 05-03-09, 06:05 PM
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Interesting how you approach the problem differntly than I. Stretching/straightening the fencing was a real pain for some sections. High quality fencing went much easier than the cheap stuff.

I've also built a hops garden. Not raised bed and I just usesd 4x4 posts for the fencing with no top or cross members. It is impossible to put any tension on the fence without pulling the posts out of plumb. Not one of my finer moments.
 
  #22  
Old 05-07-09, 08:48 PM
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Just remember to keep it plugged in and switched on every night or it'll be for naught!
 
  #23  
Old 05-10-09, 06:26 AM
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Wow I remember seeing the plans you posted.
Your project is a thing of beauty. Very motivating!
 
  #24  
Old 04-08-14, 08:46 AM
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Hi there Quietman... I know this was a project that you posted a while back, but are you able to put the pans up in a different format? Or possible email them to me? The photobucket pics are not showing up... and I really would like to recreate your design here in my yard...

 
  #25  
Old 04-09-14, 09:16 AM
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Hi Moosey 2 and welcome to the forums. Since the pictures are four years old, I doubt that they are still on Photobucket. Also, it's been about a year since Quietman had any activity on the forums, so you may have to start your project from scratch.
 
  #26  
Old 04-09-14, 11:53 AM
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Unhappy Looking for the critter proof raised garden plans

I was looking for the garden plans too. They were just up (along with the Photobucket pictures) last week, but are now gone I should have printed them out when I saw them. I'd love for Quietman to re-post them, if possible.



----
Check back every few weeks. Quietman's Photobucket account has reached it's bandwidth limit. When PhotoBucket's next cycle comes around the images should reappear. I just checked his account directly and the images are still there.

Dane
 

Last edited by Pilot Dane; 04-09-14 at 01:34 PM.
  #27  
Old 07-24-15, 06:00 AM
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Cool Project Update - Been a long time

Apologies to anyone that was trying to access the photos, cut lists, since my last post. Thought I'd post a few photos of how all this worked out.

Thank you Pilot Dane for unlocking this thread!

After a long winter:



Set up for the season:

Tomatoes:





Strawberries:



Onions:

 
  #28  
Old 07-24-15, 06:14 AM
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Thumbs down What I wish I had done differently

I got a little sloppy when putting down the river rock around the outside perimeter. As a result, I spent a fair amount of time cleaning up the gravel. The worst part was that by waiting until late spring, I had to pick the gravel out of grass that I couldn't mow, because of the gravel.

 
  #29  
Old 07-24-15, 06:19 AM
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Cool Results!

So here are some of the photos from the garden:







I do believe the marigolds and white geraniums helped keep the bugs down.
 
  #30  
Old 07-24-15, 06:24 AM
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Cantaloupes! (musk melon)

I trained the melon vines up the trellis so my melons would not be on the ground.



I used bird netting to make "hammocks" to support the melons until the ripened.




However, this one snuck past me:





Best part was when ripe melons separated from the vine, I was able to simply remove the finished fruit from the hammock, had 12 or 15 by the end of the season.

 

Last edited by Quietman; 07-24-15 at 07:02 AM.
  #31  
Old 07-24-15, 07:14 AM
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Cool Tomatoes,garlic and squash











 
  #32  
Old 07-24-15, 09:36 AM
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Beautiful looking veggies!

My city raised wifey planted tomatoes every year in the same bed. Fusarium wilt hit them hard last year. On the plus side she now listens a bit more when I offer gardening advice.
 
  #33  
Old 07-25-15, 01:41 AM
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You are correct, I try to rotate the tomatoes to a different bed each year just to avoid that.
 
  #34  
Old 07-25-15, 05:02 AM
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Wow, great example of what a modest space can produce.

Bud
 
  #35  
Old 05-04-16, 06:32 AM
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Red face cost question

Hi and thank you for posting this amazing, detailed summary of what you built. Great looking garden!
I am trying to decide what to build at our house to introduce our kids to gardening.
May I ask if you know the total cost of your materials? That would help me know whether we should invest in a pre-packaged kit or hire our handyman to help us build something ourselves, using your terrific project as an example and guide.
Many thanks!
Hunter
 
  #36  
Old 05-04-16, 09:03 AM
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This thread was started seven years ago. Material prices back in 2009 are probably not much help today. Best would be to figure what materials you need and go to your local lumber yard or home center and price out the material.
 
  #37  
Old 05-04-16, 01:52 PM
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Pilot Dane is right, the cost will have changed over time.

Back in 2009 when I built mine the cedar cost $1,087 and the corner brackets were $22.49 per pair (I needed eight) $120 total with shipping.

The brackets now cost $39.99 for four each, so $80 total.

Brackets can be found HERE

The complete garden kit (ready to assemble) is about $2,600

The kit similar to my project can be found HERE.

Your lumber rates will vary depending on how close to cedar you might be. I live in New Hampshire now, so cedar is more expensive that I when I lived in Ohio. My former home in Seattle would offer perhaps the lowest cedar rates per board foot.

Hope that helps!
 
  #38  
Old 05-04-16, 04:39 PM
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Is that about $10.00 per tomato?

Snack gardens are fun, but they sure can get expensive. I think my garden veggies probably cost several times what they would cost in a supermarket.
 
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Old 05-04-16, 05:31 PM
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I put a lot of work and money into our raised bed garden but I am constantly amazed at the production we get out of it. I enclosed one bay with hardware cloth bird netting and have 6 blueberry bushes and they produce more than we can eat in a year. Then add in all the tomatoes my wife cans and freezes and I don't regret working so hard to build the garden. The one thing I've found difficult over the years is how to properly rotate the crops. Since the beds are so close rotating from one to the other is not enough to avoid some pests.
 
  #40  
Old 05-05-16, 10:10 AM
Member
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Canada
Posts: 1
I didn't see the list of materials needed to build this raised garden bed, could you please provide me with one. Thanks.
 
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