Saturday, February 14, 2009

Garden Shopping list ( aka what to stalk freecycle for)


6 x 6 concrete reinforment mesh for trellises....and wood posts...I have some nylon trellis netting but learned last year it starts to sag with heavy vines. Good for beans & peas, not as good for tomatos and melons

wood for raised beds....redwood and cedar are probably best, but more expensive...I wonder if I can get away with a inferior wood like oak or pine since its so hot and dry here, and with drip line the wood should not be getting too wet...I think...

still need to find some vermiculite locally. Got a few leads from people on freedomgardens, need to actualyl drive out and check.

price out decent compost. armstrong has bags for $8 each and its great stuff, but unless they have a discount on volume I think I am going to have to find something cheaper. worse comes to worse I can make a 'mix' of 50% mels mix and 50% miracle grow potting soil *shudder* hate to do that but I really need to do this as cheaply as possible and miracle grow is usually on sale at this time of year.

quarter inch 'rabbit hutch' mesh to line bottom of raised beds with- to keep out voles. I am thinking of recycling all my moving boxes by lining the beds with these as well to deter the weeds a la lasagna gardening.

question, how tall should the raised beds be?

I can probably reuse alot of the drip line I had at our old house, just need to buy new connectors and find a irrigation pipe I can tap a spigot onto.

need to call city about having them dump a truckload of 'mulch'- i can use that on the 'pathways' around the raised beds, I think.


Sinfonian said...

When you're talking to the city, check to see what they do with ALL the yard waste they turn into compost?! Even an area the size of Seattle has a great system where you can buy a cubic yard of very diverse compost for under $30. That's what I did. Cheapest part of my Mel's Mix.

Frankly, if you can't find a great deal on vermiculite, forget it this year. Make sure you try wholesale/retailers in areas with cheap land so they have a huge yard to store tons. I got my vermiculite for $14 for 4 c. ft. from a wholesaler 20 miles away. It's well worth letting your fingers do the walking.

I'd say go cheap pine and coat with linseed oil. Two coats should make them last for a while in your climate. Oak is a speacialty hardwood so it'll be far more expensive than cedar. Oh, and your kids should be able to help paint the boards, linseed oil is non-toxic I believe.

As for trellises, I went netting and it sagged but held. Just need more frequent supports (I used 2x4s). Check my summer garden photo's on FG or my blog if you're interested how easy and cheaply I built them.

Ok, for depth, you should only go 6 inches. Sure more is better, but you're on a severe budget. Frankly, if you can't get the wood, go without this year. Maybe find it over time on Craigslist/Freecycle and piece it together as you get it after the beds are growing. To get more depth from your 6 inch beds, you may consider double digging. I know it's a TON of work, but make it a family affair and it should go quickly. Here is a buddy of mine's page on double digging.

I love the idea of using the cardboard for a weed barrier. If you don't do double digging, it'll be a great idea. Frankly you can get by with 6 inches if you use SWCs for tomatoes and don't mind short carrots, hehe.

SuburbanGardener said...

Love your blog. Thanks for sharing. For the compost, can you get some horse manure and start composting it to add to your other material? I am running low on compost and hate the idea of buying it. There's never enough. For the raised beds, I would suggest a foot deep of course depending what you are growing. Maybe if you make smaller beds, like 3 feet by 3 feet, it would take a lot less soil and you could be more efficient. Just some thoughts. I trust you'll do great this year.