Tag Archives: raised bed garden

On to the Kitchen!

I forgot to write a post last week, but we did finish our second garden and our plants are doing very well in both beds. We finished making our swinging door on the new garden, which makes it easier to get into the garden to prune/pick things and water – here’s Nik working on the door frame.

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We got the outer structure finished and filled:

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And then added the plants and fencing:

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We have 2 large tomatoes (from Mom), 3 small tomatoes I grew from seed, a cucumber, an eggplant, 2 peppers, a spaghetti squash, a cabbage, and a cantaloupe I just planted from seeds I got in a melon I bought last week. And I just threw in some basil, parsley, and radish seeds into some free space so we’ll see if those sprout.

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I took these pics over a week ago…and I can tell you the plants have all gotten much bigger since. We had to stake everything this weekend because things were getting so big. I have a feeling this garden will be overrun pretty soon!

So now that the garden was done, we got down to business with the kitchen this weekend. We had a pretty major change of heart with the kitchen colors after I was still undecided about the green walls Nik was envisioning. We were watching Fixer Upper…and she did a lovely color combo in the kitchen that had us sold. We haven’t totally decided on the new paint color for the cabinets yet…but I’m picking up one more color sample on my way home from work tonight and that will hopefully be the chosen color. I’m keeping it a secret until they’re all done since some people (ahem, Mom) have strong opinions against our color choice. But I really think it’ll come together nicely, once the floors and gray granite are in. And since we already bought other paint for the cabinets (light neutral gray), this will go on the wall.

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We started by removing all the cabinet doors (and precisely labeling where they all go), and then we took off the first cabinet to the left of the sink. They came down very easily, and just had a couple screws in them that went into studs. As soon as this cabinet came down, Nik begged me to put shelves back there instead of a cabinet since it let in a ton more light. I told him if there’s shelves, we need to keep them looking neat…so we’ll see about that. I did like how much more open it made the room feel though, without that cabinet there.

Then we got the rest of the upper cabinets down:

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We sanded about half of the cabinet door fronts, and we got through all the sanding of the base cabinets (indoors, which was dusty and messy), and the upper cabinets, which we did in the garage. Next will be priming them to prep for paint. I also washed all the walls in the kitchen so paint will be going up on those this week as well.

We still need to buy our new cabinets that will be going on the far wall, which will frame in a small banquette storage seat that we’ll eventually get around to building.

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It’s coming along, but it’s a little overwhelming at the moment. We’ll call the granite company this week and see when we should get that ordered to fit into our timeline. We’ll also be tiling the backsplash, and adding an over-mount microwave over the stove to free up more counter space. The electrical that our hood vent went into seems very straight forward to converting into a plug for a microwave which is fortunate, so I now think Nik can actually do that himself safely. And finally, we’ll be adding our wood floors to this room and putting new quarter round trim over all of the flooring. Our goal is to have this done by early August so we’ll see how well we can stick to that!

To finish up on an unrelated note, we saw tons of nature in our yard this weekend. The red shouldered hawk was back for a few minutes, and we also found a 2′ or 3′ black rat snake sunning himself near our garden, and we found this adorable baby turtle. He was maybe 3″ long, and hesitantly let Nik pick him up:

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A Garden, At Last

The board canceled their meeting where we’d finally have a chance to appeal our rejected side-yard garden in person and postponed it until mid June, so the office suggested sending the board a written appeal in the meantime. We still haven’t heard back from the board regarding this (2 weeks ago at this point), which I feel is pretty rude of them to not even follow up when they canceled our appeal on us. I’m pretty fed up with them at this point, so we decided to just go ahead and build a smaller garden in the least shady area in the backyard since we technically got some sort of approval for this location.

The tomato plants given to us by my parents are getting huge (almost 3′ tall!) so we’re not sure those and everything else we have will fit in this garden, which is only 3.5’x7.5′.

We have those 3 tomatoes, 6 more tomatoes I grew from seed, then 4 eggplants, 6 peppers, 2 cucumbers, 4 spaghetti squash (that just sprouted this weekend, as if we need more!), 1 cabbage, and some herbs (mint and rosemary).

We decided to build the garden near the deck, so we can add some trellises that will connect with the deck so our cucumbers can vine there. We also built the garden vertically up the hill, which was probably a little more work and will require more soil to fill the higher raised bed at the bottom of the garden, but doing it this way we felt would give the plants the most sun with how it falls on our back yard.

First, we went to Lowe’s for a lumber run:

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Here’s Nik staking it out:

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We decided to do the 4 corner posts as 2×2″ posts, which would support the thin netting we bought (if I don’t call it fencing, maybe the HOA can’t complain about it). Nik used the jigsaw to make an angled spike which made it easier to sledge hammer these into the ground about 1 foot:

We checked the levelness approximately 1,000 times for good measure. I guess we’re smart enough to know that if it’s not level at this point, it’ll never come together. IMG_0819

After about 2 hours of work we had 6 stakes in the ground in a near-perfect rectangle.

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The next step was to figure out how to attach the 6″ boards, which became a little tricky with the slope. We figure out that we’d have about 6″ of board above ground at the high end, which equated out to about 3 6″ boards above ground at the low end. We also trenched out the dirt so we could set some boards under the ground, to help hold the soil in the bed, and also to (hopefully) deter any digging critters.

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While trenching the edges, we uncovered a HUGE boulder under the soil. We’ll have to find somewhere to put this prize.

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We worked our way around each side of the garden like this, and you can see how we did a stair pattern up the side to deal with the slope.

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A couple more hours later, and the frame was complete!

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We used decking screws to just bolt each board to the corner pieces, and it feels very secure. We also chose to use pressure treated boards – a few years back these weren’t considered safe to use in a garden because they treated them with arsenic, but after some research we’ve found that they don’t use the same dangerous chemicals anymore and they’re considered pretty safe for vegetable gardens. The other option was cedar boards, but a quick comparison of price revealed that cedar was 6x more expensive than these boards…so pressure treated it was. The boards ended up costing us about $36 (we bought 9 6″ x 1.25″ x 8′ boards) and the 6 2″ x 2″ x 8′ posts were about $24. So about $60, not too bad.

Here’s some more pictures (you can click on them to make them bigger). You’ll also notice the boulder sitting nearby:

The inside is still a work in progress. We got some garden liner fabric from friends to protect dirt from coming out the cracks.

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Nik also started tilling the clay so we can mix in some good garden soil with it. We brought home 6 2-cubic foot bags of soil and 2 50-pound bags of black kow manure to fill it with, which ended up being pretty pricey (about $55) and we probably need a few more bags still, but we didn’t want Nik’s car to break down hauling more than that. We also got some tall stakes for the tomatoes, and we still need to fashion some sort of trellis for the cucumbers.

I think we’ll wrap this up this week and get our plants in the ground soon!