Category Archives: Garden

Building a cold frame

This morning skies were hazy, our day was moving slow, and we needed a project.

Step 1: Go to the hardware store and ask what is needed to build a raised bed with a cold frame. Builder Bob gave us some great ideas and then had to run to catch the supply boat. We went home and watched a few youtube videos on how it’s done. This one is my favourite. Materials needed: Four 8×2 boards (ours are spruce, which is inexpensive and was not pressure treated), a sack of 3″ nails (though some shorter ones would have been good too), 1″x1″ sticks, about 8 or 10′ (I don’t know the building term for these), 24′ of 1/2″ PVC piping, 6 pipe clamps, a hammer, a pencil, a tape measure and a saw. And some plastic (though we didn’t finish that part today).

Step 2: Get supplies, spread them out. We decided on a 4’x4′ box. Boards come in 8′ pieces and 4′ is a great size since you can reach across it fairly easily. So we got four 8′ boards. This picture only shows three because Dave is in the process of cutting the fourth one in half. We cut all of them in half, to prepare for the next part.

 

 

 

Step 3: Make the sides of the raised bed. We used some 1″x1″ as a cleat first to secure the two halves of a board together (this makes the raised bed two board widths deep). Later, we used this cleat to help hold the corners of the raised bed together.

 

 

 

 

We only did this for two sides of the bed. The other two sides we used the 1″x1″ to secure the boards together in one place: the centre. I didn’t take any pictures of this part.

 

Step 4: Attach the pipe clamps. We decided that the pipes would be fitted to the inside of the raised bed, even though we had seen others attach them to the outside. Dave nailed them in using some shorter 2″ nails we found in the basement.

 

 

 

 

We only did this on two sides. The PVC pipe will be anchored to them, and bent over to the other side to form the structure for the frame.

 

 

Step 5: Assemble the raised bed. We nailed the corners together to make the square bed. I also added some nails to anchor the sides without the cleats to the cleats.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 6: Final assembly! Dave cut the PVC pipe into 8′ lengths, and then we installed them into the clamps in the frame. Oh, but first: we put down cardboard to kill the grass and any weeds that might make their way into the soil.

Step 7: The final step. We attached a PVC pipe to the top of the hoops to just make them a bit more secure. We used some nylon string to just tie it on.

The sun did peak through while we were working and we had a great afternoon.
Tomorrow: fill with soil. We’ll use a mix of some “wild” soil from a recently dug up area on our property (not dug up by us, for the record) and some sea soil and peat moss. And maybe also put the plastic up. We bought a 10’x16′ feet piece,  because they come in 16′ lengths. We’ll probably have lots left over.

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Filed under Garden, Life in General, Posts by Hana

Ready to plant!

Earlier this week, I was at our plot in the community garden, preparing the bed to be planted. I turned all the soil and added a bit more fresh soil. I was hoping to go back the next day and plant the seeds, but it started raining. Not that rain bothers me, but I haven’t heard of people gardening in the rain — do all the seeds get washed away if you plant during the rain? I’m sure the local gardeners would laugh at me. It rains so much here that I imagine that people must garden in the rain.

In any event, yesterday and today have been pretty rainy, but there have also been a few dry breaks throughout today. I took one of these moments (the sun even shone through for a moment!) to go down to the garden, with the sole intention of planting out the only vegetable seedling that I brought from the mainland: a zucchini plant.

When I got to the garden I discovered that the tools necessary to set up a grid for square foot gardening were all in the communal shed! So I got to work and strung up a grid of 9×3 feet (with an extra 3 half-feet at one end). There was no ruler to measure feet by, so I estimated that a foot would be about the length of my fore-arm. Really, I don’t think it has to be precise. I noticed that across the short side of the raised bed, about three of these estimated feet would fit. So I took a bit of string and “measured” the short side of bed. I then folded the string into three equal sized pieces and these were my “feet”. I made a mark on the string at “foot length”  and then used this string to measure even spaces for bent nails along the long side of the bed. Then it was just a matter of stringing line through the bent nails and the squares were made. (A quick aside: I first heard of square foot gardening when Dave installed a garden as one of his projects when we lived in New Brunswick.)

I stuck the zucchini plant in one corner and will make up a plan for the rest of the squares. Hopefully later this week I can go back and plant my seeds!

Shortly after I left the garden, the rain started again — and this time it was a downpour! I know I’ve mentioned the rain several times in this post, so I just want to set the recored straight: I absolutely love the rain; it is what makes this place so beautiful.

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Filed under Garden, Posts by Hana