Lumbering at Lowe’s and Planter Prep

My three boys traveled with me to Lowe’s to purchase lumber and brackets for their planters. There’s a lot they can do in that store – as you can see – so I try to go when it’s not very busy. That way, boys lounging on piles of lumber or playing tag while the wood is cut, is not distracting (annoying) to other customers.

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I purchased 8 x 10 treated planks, which Lowe’s employees cut in half for me,  a much better option than my husband cutting them. Those long planks are awkward for one man, and it’s an extra step I can take care of.  The garden beds will be four feet by four feet.

I also purchased  L-brackets to help hold the wood together. These don’t do the job alone – lots of long screws are added in random places – but they help in the event that some screws loosen.

Building the boys’ planters requires husband and wife teamwork. Generally, my hubby and I tackle projects pretty well. I hold the four foot boards steady while Ty uses the power drill. The boys dance around the activity and jump on the trampoline.

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BUILDING THE PLANTERS and DIRT WORK

Building the boys’ planters requires teamwork. Generally, my hubby and I tackle projects pretty well. I hold the four foot boards steady while Ty uses the power drill. We move from corner to corner, over and over, until all 16 corners are secured. The boys dance around the activity and jump on the trampoline.

Once the planters are built (one for each boy, one for my husband = 4), there is still a lot of work to be done: mostly dirt work. Dirt is not cheap, even when it’s in abundance all around you. Our neighbor has a skid loader, and he plopped mounds of Iowa soil into the garden beds. I evened out the earth with a shovel and raked out the clots and rocks (not easy!). Then, I added peat moss and potting soil for extra nourishment. These details are quick sentences in my post, but there was a lot of time, shoveling, raking, and sweat involved – all mine – before plants could be planted.

I’ve read a lot about Square Foot Gardening, and I know there is a soil to fertilizer to peat moss ratio, but I didn’t quite follow it. For one, I couldn’t imagine how many bags of each I’d have to buy, haul to the backyard, and dump to fill all the planters. Too many. For two, Iowa dirt has a pretty good track record for making things grow, and I decided I’d bank on it. So, the majority of our planters are filled with soil from home.

My next step was to make a grid, again a tenet of Square Foot Gardening. I measured and marked one foot along each side of the garden bed. Then, I banged a nail into the side every foot. Then, I connected a string of jute from one nail, across the bed to another nail. Finally, a grid: 16, one foot by one foot squares for each planter. I repeated this process for each planter, a total of four times.

The gardens are ready for planting!

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