Daughter's Garden Box

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  #1  
Old 06-11-11, 06:16 PM
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Daughter's Garden Box

My mother is an avid gardener. Although I never saw the benefit of gardening as a child, the lessons I learned from my mother (mostly through osmosis rather than actual lessons - though she did try!) proved immensely beneficial in later years, particularly after I became a homeowner. Though I don't have as much land as my mother does I still wanted my daughter to have some of that experience, so I decided to build her a small garden box in the corner of our yard. It came out pretty nice so I thought I'd share with the community.



This is the assembled framework. The entire structure is red cedar held together with carpenter's glue and brass wood screws. Obviously I took this picture at night. A few days later we treated the wood with a water sealer to help prolong its life. Later, I stapled landscape fabric to the inside of the bottom (where the dirt will go) and plastic netting around the top and sides (to keep the birds and animals out).



The completed garden box! My daughter had a few seedlings that she brought home from school; we used those, plus some more seeds, to start her garden off. Visible in the far corner are four pumpkin vines and in the near corner is a green bean plant. Also planted are a few more bean plants, peas, cucumbers, and watermelon.



This is the open side of the garden which will be held in place by a couple of clothespins. The netting is plastic; if the animals chew through it I'll replace it with metal.

The box itself sits on four 8" paver stones which lifts the box off the ground by about an inch; this was done to help prevent the wood from rotting at the bottom. There are eight 12" pavers at the bottom of the garden, plus about 40 lbs of pond stones to provide drainage in the event that things get too wet, and to discourage digging animals from coming up under the edge. The dirt is a mixture of bagged topsoil and Miracle Grow Flower & Vegetable Gardening Soil.



Ah, the irrigation system. Expecting a four year old to water the garden twice a day would be futile. The fact that the garden is on the diagonally opposite side of the yard from the spigot doesn't help any. So here's my solution: A couple of 12" pavers under a dozen cinder blocks, upon which rests a 50 gallon rain barrel. Whatever rain falls in there, great. Otherwise we'll just have to refill the barrel as it gets low. The black hose connects to a valve inside the garden box, which in turn is connected to 25' of soaker hose which is buried about 3-4" below the soil. I'm hoping that it'll work like those "Aqua Globe" things; as the dirt dries out the water will draw into it, and when the dirt is already moist the water will stay in the soaker hose. If that doesn't work then I'll remove the valve and put a timer on it. With any luck I'll only need to fill the barrel about once a week.

The azalea bush at left is just going to have to share its space. :-)
 
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  #2  
Old 06-12-11, 11:22 AM
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Project

Your project looks great! Looks like you have covered all the bases.

One observation: The pumpkin vines will take over the entire area unless severe pruning is done.
 
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Old 06-12-11, 07:45 PM
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Well aware, and we have a contingency plan at the ready. :-)
 
  #4  
Old 06-13-11, 05:03 AM
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Pumpkin, cucumber and watermelon all in that size bed? You'll be pruning them constantly and so heavily I doubt if you will get any production. I would gently work at convincing her to put in plants more suitable for the available space so she can see positive results of her labor. The beans & peas could go along the back since they will get tall and climb the enclosure with shorter stuff on the accessible side and maybe a flower or two so she can have something pretty. A marigold is nearly impossible to kill, will give some color and help deter pests.
 
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Old 06-13-11, 08:36 AM
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There will be sunflowers just outside of the garden box and there are marigolds in the smaller garden boxes on our patio which she planted a few weeks ago. When she wasn't looking, we removed the watermelon seeds from the bed and moved the cucumbers to the opposite side. The beans are bush beans and won't get very high; the peas are climbers and will climb up the side of the enclosure.

One of my other projects this year is to clear out an area on the opposite side of the house. When that happens I'll plant her watermelons over there.
 
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Old 06-13-11, 11:14 AM
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You really do have a plan. I'm glad to hear you are getting her involved in gardening.
 
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