I recently moved into a town house with a south facing 30'x30' "back yard". This topic will show my progress as i convert it into a worthy summer space for my tropicals and my recent decision to grow at least 33% of my own produce. ... all suggestions are welcome!
This bed was constructed 5 days ago from (3) 2'x10'x16' boards, approximately 45 dollars. They were cut into (4) 8' lengths, (2) 6' lengths and (2) 2' lengths. The boards were screwed together into two rectangles with 8' withs and stacked to create a final foot print of 6'x8'. It is a two step bed with the top step being 2'x8'x20" and the bottom step being 4'x8'10". I have at this point only spent $60 on the total construction and half the soil. Thats pretty good considering the home depots cheapest raised bed is $80 alone and only measures 4'x8'x9"... please guys invest time in your gardens you'll spend less money
Summers in MD can be very hot and the soil cracks like a desert. i decided before i built this to recycle an old 5 gallon dog waterer and turn it into a wicking system to keep my bed some what moist. (my dog is scared of the bubbles)
next i threaded a series of cotton wicks (twine) through the cutting board. they are tied in a knot around a skewer at the bowl end. the skewer keeps them from pulling through the hole to ensure they are wet.
Please note this device is not intended to be the sole source of water for my bed. i also plan on installing a drip system for my tropical containers which will be extended in to the bed. This system is simply a back up to combat the 105 degree days when i can not water during the afternoon. last year we had two consecutive weeks with insane temps. i am simply covering all my bases. Please do not think that by building this you can go with out watering your garden.
My drip system i just purchased is a first for me. It is due to arrive on Thursday. i bought a medium sized started kit and added a lot of goodies to it. i designed my lay out to cover all of my potted tropicals, my raised bed and my in ground squash plants. the basic gist of it is as follows:
100' of 1/2" main line tubing with 4 inline control valves
100' of 1/4" secondary tubing with 6 inline control valves
150 mesh filter
i upgraded from a 20psi regulator to a 30 psi regulator to accommodate misters
5 3gph mister nozzles
5 adjustable circle bublers
5 adjustable circle sprayers
2 adjustable 1/4 circle jet sprayers
3 adjustable 1/2 circle jet sprayers
1 adjustable full circle jet sprayer
23 1/2gph pressure compensating drippers
20 1gph pressure compensating drippers
20 2gph pressure compensating drippers
I also got a ton of connectors and stakes total cost $105 including shipping
I hope to be able to rig it so that i can isolate the misters, the sprayers and the drippers/bubblers and run them independently or in any combination. i think i got enough valves to do that.
This pic shows a little insight on the insanities that run around in my head
It is a list of all the components i needed to build my system, it shows the cross referencing of four different kits to get what i wanted, it shows the up charges for the additional pieces i needed and the additional pieces i received with the kit that i may or may not need. it also shows the sacrifices i made to reach budget. which i went way over any ways.
i did this with four web sites. i went from $115 at the first site for a kit that i had to cut my needs and wants in half and in which i received very little extra, to $105 at my Final website i which i got every thing i wanted and a ton of extras.
the only sacrifice i had to make was on my mist nozzles when my final site only had one nozzle so i didn't get the adjustable ones i wanted. (8 bux on ebay later). however, with what i purchased i can change my lay out to my needs at any given time because i already have all the extra's...
this took a day of research and number crunching but it will be worth it.
P.s. i just noticed that the site i actually bought from isn't even on my comparison list... i was doing it in my head by the time i got there.
my tropicals get it and so do my tomatoes. the tropicals with the double mist are my under canopy plants they will be conveniently shaded by my tomatoes located around the mist nozzles in the raised bed.
next week I will document the installation of my system, fill in the rest of my dirt and plant my seedlings
Yes I can! Don't know what or when to start, but that's what I'm learning from all of you. Al's RB mix just saved me from running out and buying bagged soil. I'm thinking corn, tomatoes, green beans, chard and lettuce for a start.
I am getting a couple of meat rabbits ( hope nobody minds), and will plant a 60' x 25' area with white clover, old chain link fence buried 12" deep with soaker hose 6'' above. This to help feed the rabbits.
Also converting an old storage shed to a chicken coop for a couple of layers, they can free-range in the clover and the garden, I hear chickens are great at bug control but won't harm the plants. Is this true?
I want chickens so bad!!!!! i think my HOA would kick me out of the neighborhood. Carl~ i have been searching for good links to feed crops for wild animals for some time now. i hope to have a house in the next few years with lots of land in which i will seed for them. i don't know about the validity of this site because i haven't ordered from them yet but they seem to have good mixes. i would think that blend created for hunting wild animals could be useful in the cultivation of your own.
My neighbor has chickens and when they get out of their cage they go straight for her planting beds--checking for bugs and worms and pulling up plants in the process. So, I agree with PlantiMcPlanter: fence in the chickens and throw prunings, etc. to them. You can let them out in the fall to go after all of those bugs after a hot summer.
I have discovered that you are right, I thought they would just eat the bugs and scratch the soil. Turns out that nothing grows where the chickens stay. I am starting my chicken and rabbit garden before my own. I spent two afternoons digging out an 8x12' planting area in my upper backyard to about 14" deep, next I'll dig in some amendments below that level and spread 1/2" chicken wire in the hole and up the sides. jThree or four inches of Al's planter mix and then the soaker hose,drip system with an inline fertilizer pump and fill it up, I'm planting chard and lettuce and other greens for the rabbits and chickens with a clover bed around the planter.
well ... the drip installation hit a snag when only half my kit showed up today. I am still negotiating with the company so i'm not going to rant yet. i will say this though they defiantly went from a good review to an ok review if and only if they fix it in a timely manner. they are lucky their prices are dirt cheap otherwise i would have thrown them to the wolves.
**********DRIP SYSTEM UPDATE*********** (still unresolved)
Here is the deal. I ordered my system from www.irrigationdirect.com
* i ordered a mid sized starter kit for $64.50. this was an insanely great deal due to what was included in the kit. comparable kits on other sites were around 30-50 more expensive
*I added aproximatly $20 in additional components. each component cost on average $.05-.10 less than other sites
* I paid $18 shipping and handling
* One week later (for $18) i received ONLY the additional components i ordered
*The kit was not even included on the packing list.
* I called the company and asked them if they had shipped them separately. the guy i spoke with told me he would look into it and call me right back.
* i double check the parts that were shipped:
* the 30psi regulator i ordered was not sent they sent a 25 psi regulator in a bag that said 30 psi????
* only five stakes were included instead of the ten i ordered. once again this was in a bag that said ten stakes
(what are the chances that a drip irrigation company in so. cal employs stoners?)
* after some gardening i realize that it has been FOUR hours since the guy said he would call me "right back" so I CALL THEM Again:
* i am connected with some one else despite asking for the guy i was initially dealing with.
* this new person tells me they are dealing with the problem and offers no further explanation.
* i tell her thats not the only problem, there were issues with what i did receive.
* She tells me they will take care of it and contact me when they have more information
* @$%%#%$%^^ 24 HOURS LATER I CALL THEM A THIRD TIME
* i am connected with the same lady again
* She puts me on hold while she checks the status of my order
* "Oh" she exclaims "that order went out yesterday, i'll email you the tracking info"
* she actually did! i am shocked
Think its over yet... its not. now after having no trust what so ever for this company i double check the tracking info
* The package did go out yesterday
* it weighs 11.1 lbs
* having no faith in the stoners in the shipping dept. i go back to the web site and create a shopping basket with every thing that should be included in this delivery
* interesting fact the companies web site says that every thing in my cart should weigh 12.15 lbs
ACCORDING TO THE WEB SITE MY SECOND PACKAGE IS 1 POUND TOO LIGHT. I NOW HAVE TO WAIT ONE MORE WEEK TO FIND OUT WHAT THEY FORGOT THIS TIME!!!!!!!!
It has now been ten days since i placed my order, i payed 18 dollars shipping and it will be a whole week longer before i receive an other l package (that has a high probability of being incorrect).
was the 30-50 dollars in savings worth it... H*LL NO
my entire construction of my raised bed project was due to be finished yesterday. now due to this company it's looking like two-three weeks longer
Irrigation Direct ~ planting season in maryland is april not may... YOUR FIRED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
i will transfer this review to the garden watch dog after i have survived the inferno and made it out with every thing i have paid for. i want a complete tale in that review. ..I can't believe that they are a top five company.
Im looking for some worms i just need to make it to a bait store. i think that might be cheaper than getting them from a garden site. i have also been tossing in all the ones i come across while digging around.
Pet food stores also sell them by the oz. If you put them in there and there is nothing to eat they will go back to where they came were. Put cuttings, frozen vegetable scraps (they break down faster) and they will stay. They also love over ripe bananas and coffee grounds. Sharon.
finally finished with my fill and just in time for a good rain to settle it. Its comprised of 50% top soil, 25 % fine bark shavings, 10% leaf grow, 10 % peat moss & 5% sand and gravel. In all it cost about $100. total cost to date (excluding the awol drip system): Approximately $150.
im going to have to re-design how i install the drip system in this box. i was going to run it under the soil but now i am going to run it around the upper rim. i don't want to wait any longer to but my plants in.
After a good rain planting is next. i am hardening my starts as i type.
Honeybee ~ not a problem, I am still wondering wether the pound difference in my second package is because it is missing something or if they over estimate their shipping charges in order to charge more money.
Thank you for the complement. i have always enjoyed building things like that. it was pretty simple to make and i'm happy with its status as of now. The "construction" phase of my plan wont feel complete until the irrigation is in.
I did some planting earlier this week. i couldn't contain my self my starts were taking up half my light space ind i have new things that needed it. in the bed currently is basil, chili pepper, tomatoes, mountain mint, carrots, leeks, potatoes and cilantro. the back right corner that is empty is being reserved for sesame seed )they are still under my lights). the empty section in the front bed is four three foot rows of lettuce which will be rotated weekly.
Irrigation came in today. the company did nothing to try and make me happy with their mistake. They got the order right, but if it was my company and i was a week late due to an error on my part i would at least send an apology, coupon or extra goodies. They did nothing. My final judgment on them is never ever use this company.
This is the "suggested" assembly of all the parts that connect between the supply line and the faucet. It consists of a back flow preventer, a filter, a pressure regulator and a swivel attachment that connects to the supply line.
this is how i adapted it to my liking. (it's orientation is flipped from the last pic) i added a siphon in between the back flow and the filter. i added a y adapter and a second swivel in order to add a second supply line. i want to run mist for my tropicals. mist wants higher pressure than any thing else i am running so i gave it its own line in order to keep its performance as optimal as i can offer. i will not install that line until i actually take my tropicals out for the summer.
This is how the swivel attaches to the line, it simply slides over the line. Actually this is really difficult the internal diameter of the swivel is tapered to about 3/8" and your supposed to fit a 1/2" line into it. i recommend a hair drier and work cloves. work cloves because the line gets hot and because after putting ten adapters on the hose you will regret you didn't. ... do not believe the advertising that this takes 45 mins to install. not unless yours is the simplest of systems. even then it took me a good ten mins of toying with this until i figured out the easiest way. heat the line, twist and push as hard as you can.
When laying out the line i created an end that was the high side and one that was the low side. each have threaded end caps that can be screwed off to allow drainage of the line. In doing this, i realized that my initial plan for my bed was flawed in that the water entered on the highest part of the bed and would remain in the line and probably burst it in the winter. i re-designed it so that it entered at the lowest point in the bed so that it could drain as well. This pic is of the "high" part of the line. The line travels past zucchini, acorn squash and peas.
Before installing my line in the bed i measured out the lengths an built it out side of the box. this is due to t being planted already. also my original plan was to have it buried but due to it arriving a week late i had to redo that one as well. (the show must go on)
this is the bed after the line was installed. i decided i didn't care about aesthetics and opted to save my self $6 by running the line across the top. this way i didn't have to use two more elbow connections and i saved my self from having to drill two more holes. i may opt to change this later.
next i hooked up my valves and created my five zones. (the little red knobs). one is always on and there are four which can be turned on or off. The lone line with its own zone in this pic will accommodate my sun loving plants. that is also the lowest spot in the line.
Some area's need more control than a single zone. this is the 1/4" feed line that goes to the peas. I drilled two holes into a tinny container to keep the valve out of the dirt and elements. they sell these pre made for about 10 bux a piece and around 60 dollars for the 1/2" valve housing. my tupperware cost 10 cents.
[quote="Gymgirl"]Uh, I think Trixi belongs to you...now...[/quote]
she has a collar and tags. i think they leave her out every day and let her in around 10pm. thats when she disappears. i don't know if i could stand caring for four animals any way. Trixi is fun because i can play with her with out the added responsibilities. though they do say that cat's choose their owners.