Monday, May 2, 2011

gardeners - jes

Using a left-over deck, a crowbar, a machine shop, and a truck, Marshall and I managed to make five raised bed gardens in two days. The previous renters had left this hideous deck that we have no use for whatsoever. It held a pool, which I found out from the backdoor neighbor's nine year old "was really fun, but they took it down before they left so it's okay you don't have one." Using my brute force (all of it) and Marshall's lead hammer wielding abilities, we broke apart most of the deck and salvaged most of the wood.

Then we went to the shop where he used a radiack (sp?) to slice off all the nails. I've learned that nails are horrible things, particularly three inch long nails. Screws are the way to go. When you use screws, you can take things apart with a drill. When you don't have screws you have to pound and chop and sweat to pry apart a few pieces of plank. Then we machined the brackets. I love using the machine I call the "chomper" (it's actual name is an iron worker) and together we cut the metal, punched the holes, and bent it to fit.

After that is was assembly time, which must have been some sort of record. We were hustling because I was meeting Bre at the house for the first time so she could see it, and there's no reception at the shop. But we got four of them together (the fifth had to be assembled on site because it wouldn't fit in the truck).

Sadly, she didn't get to see them, because we weren't able to borrow the truck right away, but the next day we got them hauled over. Rocket had been very good about staying in the backyard until we were loading the very last of them. Then he decided it was time to chase a cat all the way down the street, me running like a maniac after him. If Rocket dies of anything but old age, it will be car via cat.

Fortunately for our hard work, before we added dirt Marshall made the point that we better double check that the lawn mower fits between the garden beds. We got a lawn mower at an estate sale in Norman last weekend, so we had it stored in our shed.  Luckily he remembered, since both of us enjoy a well-mowed lawn. I myself refuse to mow, but he likes to so it evens out. 

The next day, it was dirt time. I'm not gonna lie, when the friendly man had his backhoe raised over Bob's truck and he started dumping hundreds of pounds of dirt into the bed, I had horrible flashes of it coming down on the bed and us having to pay to replace the purty little truck. Needless to say, that didn't happen.

It took two loads, but we got all five filled with dirt after lining them with a tarp to keep grass from growing. I must say, my Leatherman Tool has been invaluable. It cut through the tarp like it was melted butter. If you care about someone, or if you yourself are embarking on a project such as fixing up a house, buy them or yourself a Leatherman Tool. It's the best tool I have. (Thanks Santa).

We stood with pride once we got things planted. My mom gave us a pointer so we got all the plants from Urban Garden in Tulsa.  The plants come from Guthrie, which in itself is neat.  I can't wait to have veggies galore this summer and fall. We're going to learn how to can and pickle things.  Last Christmas we got the jelly thing down, so pickling is next. It feels so good to have gotten so much done in just two days.

I may miss some plants, but here's a list of the things we got planted:
bell peppers, jalepeno peppers, banana peppers, five kinds of tomatoes, basil (thanks Mom), spearmint, peppermint, chives, okra, cucumber, cantaloupe, yellow squash, zucchini, lemon balm, thyme, parsley, and watermelon.

Mom and Dad are talking about making themselves a raised bed like ours, which I feel is a very high form of praise. Anyone in Tulsa who wants to is free to come over with a pry bar and help themselves to a handful of deck bits and we can even whip out brackets for you.


  1. Thanks for posting! So cool to watch the process. Looks like a ton of work, but it will be worth it when you have fresh veggies! So inspiring. You two are so handy! Keep posting. I love reading. :)

  2. I want to make some of these!!