There’s been a good amount of yard work going on here lately – planting, building more raised garden beds, putting up the playset, and most recently, building teepees for our plants to climb. I want to maximize my growing space, and by having them grow vertically instead of horizontally, I can plant things closer together.
I like raised beds since the yard looks more organized. They also are nice since you can put whatever growing soil you want in them instead of trying to amend your existing soil, and they are higher off the ground, making planting and harvesting more comfortable. It also helps children at play be clear about where they can and where they can’t run! (And it’s a bit of a deterrent to foraging ducks. :))
The only soil amending I’ve done has been composting by burying vegetable scraps deep in the dirt. Last year I got a half a truck load of wood chips, planning to use them for paths between the beds. But since I didn’t yet have raised beds built, the chips ended up getting mixed in with the composting so my soil isn’t as rich as I would like. I could probably use more wood chips for the paths now, but I don’t feel like making the effort at this point – too many other things to do.
We built the raised beds and teepees for free using recycled wood (we also used recycled screws that were removed from the playset when we took it apart). A while back someone was giving away fence sections that had been cut in half vertically, so they weren’t good for using as fencing. We got a bunch of the sections, and then took them apart (because they were old this was lots easier than it would have been if they were new). Then they were rebuilt into the raised beds, which I think have an attractive rustic look, kind of like logs.
There are seven new beds – two sections each with three beds (the one you see is the first, then there are two more parallel behind that), then another one against the back fence. Oh – you can also see part of our lovely new fence beautifully installed by dd13 and ds16. Doesn’t it look nice?
With the remaining wood we made teepees for trellising the plants. How many teepees we’ll build will depend on how much wood there is – so far we’ve built 11. Ds17 (today’s his birthday :)) had an idea of how we could attach four of the boards with one screw, and then when we take them down for the season, they should be able to lay flat without having to be dissembled. That’s the idea – if it works out, it means we have just the one time effort of building them and then we’ll store them compactly in the garage until next season when they can be used again. We’ll see if it works out that way when the end of the growing season rolls around!
I had another idea of how I wanted to trellis the plants but the materials I preferred didn’t come to me for free so that clearly wasn’t what I was meant to use! I hope that the last of the teepees will be built today, and then I only have one more building project in the yard to do. (I want to build a pergola for the berry bushes to grow over, but it will have to wait until I have enough free wood to build it.)
Frugality and creativity often go hand in hand – you have to look at what you have and think how to make it meet your needs. It’s satisfying to look at the yard and see what was a pile of junk wood headed for the dump being put to good use and looking attractive!