April 17, 2012

Food in the Front Yard Project: Part 2

It took a few years for me to be convinced, but we finally decided to replace a big section of the front lawn with an edible garden. Here's how we're doing it.

This week: planter boxes.

(Read about how we came to this decision and got rid of the grass in Part 1).

I had been pretty worried about whether a vegetable garden in the front yard would look nice, and not until I saw our finished planter boxes did I really believe it could.

We built ours out of redwood, which is beautiful - and more importantly, naturally rot resistant. Cedar is too, and in fact, when we were researching how to put this garden together, cedar was the wood most often recommended. But redwood was less expensive and easier to find. Ours came from a lumber yard, which had a better selection than the home-improvement stores we visited.

Once we figured out how many boxes we wanted (four) and what size they were going to be (roughly 3 feet-by-5 feet) my husband drew up some plans and put them together in the garage.

We have basic carpentry tools, and he's comfortable using them. If you don't or aren't, there are lots of places that sell attractive planter kits requiring minimal assembly - we nearly bought some ourselves. (And throughout the process, I kept remembering a container garden my grandmother once made out of a few cast-off toilets. Options abound.)

Before putting the planters into place, there was still one more preparation step to finish: Back where the grass used to be, we marked off spaces for the boxes, then covered the rest of the dirt with landscape fabric to help prevent weed and grass growth.

Then we put the planters down, spent a lot of time checking that they were evenly spaced, and filled them with soil. After that, we covered the landscape fabric with rock.

Besides the redwood, dirt and rock were easily our most significant expenses. Because we needed so much of both, we opted to have it all delivered from Allen's Valley Loam. Definitely cheaper and more convenient than trying to purchase by the bag.

Next week: Spring plants
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