January 25, 2008, Newsletter Issue #100: Collapse!

Tip of the Week

You've decided that you're going to use the lumber from the woodpile and not a store-bought solution when you're building raised beds. But you haven't chopped wood in years and you just got the woodpile because of high energy costs. How do you keep that homemade timber from collapsing or splitting and spilling your cucumbers all over the yard for the raccoons?

Here are our crash-course Boy Scout tips on how to build a raised bed garden that's collapse-proof. We had a little help getting our merit badge from show recaps of HGTV's Chris Dawson's "Seasoned Gardener". Cut the corners of your boards so that they'll form overlapping joints when you lay them. Stick to a standard board size--two inches thick by eight, ten, or twelve inches wide. The board should ideally be eight or ten inches long. Pre-drill holes so the wood doesn't split when you hammer spikes to secure the corners. You can leave one or two unsecured when you're adding soil from a wheelbarrow. If you're wondering how to build raised bed gardens that are tiered, say for L-shaped gardens, you only need four-foot lengths of board (or more depending on the shape). Follow the tip for hammering spikes in the corners. You might want to add stakes to the top tier to fasten it to the lower tier.

Now that you're a regular Ethan Allen, or at least a Cub Scout, you can have a feeling of pride every time you look at your woodpile--just keep the raccoons out of it since they can't get your vegetables!

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