Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Worlds Most Expensive Vegetables Part 2

Was there gardening done this weekend? Oh yeah!

For starters, I needed raised beds. Well, more like wanted due to the advantages, per my dad, such as it's easier to work in them, the soil warms up faster so you get better and faster yields, and the height keeps the critters at bay. I've seen three different flavors of critters 'round my house and all need to keep away from my vittles! The question then becomes how long? How tall? Made out of what? Cinder blocks last forever but look ugly. There's all kinds of fear mongering concerning treated lumber and chemicals leaching into the food. And that's when I stumbled upon roofing sheet metal.

Menards has the stuff and it would cost me about $55 for the metal, plus the cost of treated 2X4s for the frame and wood for a ledge to sit on 'cause no one wants to put their keister on a razor thin (well, 22 gauge) slice of metal. But there's a problem. Having worked with the stuff for twenty-five years I'm completely comfortable with wood. But stone? Tile? Linoleum? Carpet? I'm a newbie. The same goes double for metal and it's sharp edges. Just thinking about making the necessary cuts gave me mental images of sliced fingers and palms.

So I called a few local metal working places to see what they would charge to make these very few cuts. I figured that someone with the right equipment could slice right through in about five minutes, probably less based on the metal cutting videos on YouTube. I'm cheap but would gladly pay $20 for such a convenience. No one was interested... too small of a job. I then turned my attention to Craigslist and got a quick reply! The guy wanted $140 to make two length-wise cuts on each of three pieces of metal. I decided that I'd buy the $10 metal cutting blade for my circular saw and try it myself, politely telling the guy thanks but no thanks. He responded with something along the lines of "When you screw it up, let me know and I'll come out and fix it for you." Even if I mess it up I won't be contacting a jerk like that.

So with my fear and trepidation I changed out the blade in the circular saw and began cutting, remembering to wear eye and ear protection but forgetting to wear long sleeves. There was smoking, there were sizzling red hot edges, the saw blade warped and had to cool until in unwarped but in the end I was able to make all the necessary cuts in about one hour and with no bodily injuries. Take THAT Craigslist jerk!

Attaching the 2X4 legs wasn't too difficult. I used a combination of galvanized roofing nails and exterior screws. The legs themselves only extend two inches into the ground as I figure once these are filled with dirt they aren't going anywhere. In putting them together I took great pains to make sure that they were lined up with the existing onion bed. I wasn't really thinking about making sure the sides were straight up and down. Oops. Because the side legs aren't exactly plumb the 4" wide topper boards aren't quite up to the task so I'll be replacing these with 6" boards soon and no one will know of the err in my ways. Unless they read this and look closely at the pictures.

The urgent item to get in, three weeks before LFD (Last Frost Date) is the first planting of romaine lettuce and the spinach. Because half of this planter will house carrots that need the full depth of the planter and because my soil provider is still AWOL I had to once again go buy dirt. But it's lettuce so I didn't need to fill the bed, hence the cobbled together mid-section wall made of pieces left over from the construction of a bed for my daughter. Cardboard on the bottom topped with a mixture of garden dirt, peat moss, and bagged composted manure and I'm in business!

So what am I out for this week's adventures?

$55 - sheet metal (for three 10' X 4' raised beds)
$20 - 9 treated 2X4s (makes three)
$12 - 3 10' X 4' boards (makes one) $10 - 2 10' X 6' boards to cover up my mistake
$1 - .75 cu ft manure
$7 - 6 plastic bags o' dirt
$2 - seeds
$10 - metal cutting blade

That makes a whopping total of $117! However each raised bed, sans dirt, will cost around $42 and should last until I'm too arthritic to garden.

Lesson Learned: Don't be a jerk if you offer services on Craigslist.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your bed height makes more sense than some of the 2 foot beds I've seen.