Photographer: Events, Weddings, Portraits – Austin, Texas

Archive for March 22, 2011

Building a Garden Planter Box

I frequently blog about photography related subjects, so I’ll divert my attention for a minute to gardening. My last blog was about gardening and this one will be about our new garden that we planted this weekend.

On Friday I arrived home and found the garage open and a stack of gardening supplies awaiting me in the driveway. My wife had just returned from a local gardening store with a car load of things such as mulch/gardening soil, lumber, hardware, a slew of plants and a plum tree. And for those people who know me fairly well, I’m not only the family photographer; but I’m also the designated family gardener and landscaper. And I like to think I have a green thumb to some degree.

When I was eleven years old, I took an interest in the flowers and gardening that my mother did around our rural Texas home. She was very successful at growing plants, especially flowers, and I wanted to learn all of her gardening secrets. She showed me the things that her grandmother had taught her and I learned to garden in a simple, organic way (before it was cool to be “organic”). Eventually I took it upon myself to plant and maintain an herb garden, including herbs such as basil, dill, oregano, parsley and the like. It was a great success for the most part and was a great experience for a kid who wanted to connect with nature in a positive way.

So the challenges that my wife laid before me:

1.  plant the plum tree and keep it healthy and bearing fruit;

2.  build a wooden, elevated garden planter box in a place in the yard that will provide just enough sunlight for all the plants that would be included.

Most of the day on Sunday was devoted to building the wooden garden box. I used wood screws and nails (whatever I had on hand), along with the metal connectors to link all the boards together. The long side of the box was made up of 1X4″ and 1X6″ boards; the short side utilized 1X4″ and 2X4″ lumber. Once I hammered/screwed all the pieces together, the bottom was lined with plastic with holes (to allow excess water to drain from the box). Next, 4 stakes were driven along the sides of the box to provide support for the outer wooden panels and to have something to attached chicken wire to. The final step was to attach a layer of chicken wire (poultry fencing) from the top of the wooden box up about 3 1/2 feet (the width of the fencing), to keep animals out of the garden (not pictured).

Ultimately I think this design will work well. The box measures approximately 3X6 feet, which seems a little small now that it’s built. We planted tomatoes, squash, watermelon, peppers, etc., which is too much for one little planter box. The tree was easy to plant, if you don’t count having to dig a hole in ground that feels like concrete! But with a little elbow grease that task was completed too and now after a few days of watering it seems to be looking healthy and ready to make fruit (hopefully).