The Best Laid Plans

I am posting as a follow-up to my post about moving into the new house, getting my garden going, and all that jazz. I have been reading a lot about garden planning and what’s the best way to arrange your garden, where should it go, how big should it be, etc. And, as a result, have been planning my garden at home. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far.

In the vein of “being green” I decided that it would be best to find and use recycled materials as much as possible to minimize the amount of material I would have to purchase from big box stores such as Lowes or Home Depot. So, what is a man to build this garden out of without purchasing his materials?


I work for this irrigation company right? Well, we use a particular company as our main parts supplier and one day I called and asked if they had any extra pallets laying around that I could relieve them of.

“Dude, we got tons. How many you need? Like, a hundred or what?”

“No, man. I only need like twenty.”

“Cool. I’ll set some aside for you.”


Easy as that. It pretty much is easy as pie. I mean, pie is easy. But that was way easy.  So, if you are reading my posts thinking, “man I want to start a garden too” then all you need to do is find a local shop that sells anything from irrigation supplies, landscape supplies, hardware, building materials, or anything else along those lines and just give them a call.

Ok, now I have twenty pallets in my back yard, how do I use said pallets?  Like this.  I am standing the pallets up on end and placing them side by side to create a fence.  The first thing about my garden is that it won’t be much of a garden unless I keep my dogs out of it.  So, naturally, I needed to fence off a piece of my yard.  Fencing is expensive, and this way I am keeping these pallets from a landfill somewhere.

Sweet.  Got my fencing.  Now, what can I use to build up my raised bed?  My first idea was perfect, but I missed out on my opportunity to execute.  There was a building being renovated to become some new pizza and beer joint near my bosses house and one day I saw my gold mine out behind the building.  ALL of the cinder block that they removed from the building was just sitting in a giant pile.  PERFECT!  I’ll just go in one day, ask the guy if I can save him a dump fee and take those off of his hands, and walk out of there with my FREE raised planter bed.  The next day I went out to the place to inquire, and to my dismay the entire pile was gone.  No more free raised planter bed for me.  So, let this be a word to the wise that when you see something you need/want for your project, take action.  I missed my window of opportunity and now I’m stuck with no materials.  What I am going to do now, though, is get on Craigslist and check their “free” adds for left over building materials that people need taken.  So far, all I’ve found is a bunch of sheet rock and fire wood, but I’m keeping my ends out.  The point is though, be resourceful.  There are tons of construction sites around the city that have loads and loads of refuse that they are going to have to pay to get rid of.  All you have to do is kindly save them some money and take it off their hands.

Now, to my plan.  I came up with a layout that I think is going to work great to start with.

I have an area of my back yard that I marked off with construction paint to make sure the size is appropriate, and I think it’s going to work out fine.  The fence line is 12 feet wide and 20 feet long.  I’m going to have a two foot walkway between the fence and the raised planter bed.  This will give me enough room to walk around all sides of the bed.  The raised bed is only going to be 4 feet wide and 20 feet long.  A 4 foot wide bed gives me enough room to reach the middle of the bed without having to walk on the soil and compact it.  On the opposite fence from the raised bed will be a bed that is planted in-ground which will have my berries and fruiting bushes (blackberries, peaches, etc).  This is the plan that I’ve drawn up on my computer:

The only thing I have to do now is find my materials for my raised planter bed.  My hope is to build my fence this weekend so I will at least have that up.  Once I get this thing built, I will be ready to put my raised bed together, fill it with soil, till for my berries/shrubs, and plant.  My hope is to get all of this done in the next couple of weeks because I’m losing time for planting.  Typically, a harvest for Fall veggies and herbs is anywhere from 40 days to three months.  That means that if I don’t hurry, I could lose my Fall harvest to freeze if it gets to the end of November of December.



Wish me luck.  I’ll keep you in the loop as I go.