Friday, July 8, 2011
Building Cheap Ass Raised Beds
I have a guy. This guy that can get me some decent stuff of consistent quality and strength. Best of all, he's always got a fresh supply. Getting my hands on wood pallets has never been so easy. Now, the projects I'm building around the house are designed with pallet proportions in mind. And why not? Pallets have the best attribute a home tinkerer looks for in a raw material: free.
So after dismal soil test results forced us here at Peach Fuzz Farm to redesign our garden plan to incorporate raised beds, pallets were the logical choice for construction. With a few tools and about five bucks in screws and nails, I developed a quick deconstruction procedure to make garden walls. Let's go.
The tools. Plus a nail gun. And a clamp.
The pallet. I used twelve of them, chosen because they were all 36" wide and built the same.
Trimming off the unnecessary boards with a saws-all. So much easier than pulling nails. These boards became the infill panels.
The midsections weren't of any use. Goodbye.
First stage with the saws-all complete.
Time for the circular saw, to trim the sides...
And cut into two sections. The long side on each will be the stake.
It's dangerous cutting stakes. Set up a jig.
Two sections from one pallet. Done.
Lining up staked side to free side for the 4lb sledge hammer.
String line to make it straight.
Don't get lazy. Predrill, then screw.
Lovely, variable height for that rustic appeal the ladies love.
Infill panels created from the unnecessary boards. Nailed on.
Ready for some lead-free loam and compost!
The gardens at full tilt. Raised beds performing beautifully. Other free stuff includes steel pipe trellis for beans, baby crib tomato stakes strung together with stripped romex cable. Ghetto fab.
So, do I have you hooked on pallets yet? Do you need to find your guy? My guy is a tile and countertop store. Masonry and stone outfits are also a good bet. Grocery stores are alright too, but they're not as likely to give them away in any quantity. Pretty soon you'll find yourself sneaking around behind warehouses, driving slowly past fenced construction sites, and suspiciously eying piles of wood on your neighbor's curb. You're welcome.