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Posts Tagged ‘building’

It’s our first workshop in Pennsylvania! And what better way to kick off the curriculum than with an organic garden work party! Come learn how to turn your lawn into an thriving, abundant, edible paradise!

Lee has designed a simple raised bed vegetable garden for a woman who was interested in growing her own food. We will be erecting an 8 foot deer fence, as well as a skirt extension to keep groundhogs out, assembling a raised bed, filling it with soil, and planting lots of veggies!

Come learn about organic gardening, lend a hand, eat some food (lunch will be provided at 1:00), bring an instrument, and have fun!

Please RSVP on the Facebook event or email if you’ll be joining us.

Saturday, June 12, 2010, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

@ Dorothy’s House, 1751 East Saw Mill Road, Quakertown, PA map

UPDATE 6/23: Photos!

Before the workday, Lee dropped off the soil on site

The wood was cut to size to create a 3' x 15' box, secured with L-brackets.

We lined the bottom with uncoated cardboard to suppress any grass or weeds.

The box was filled with soil.

Our helpers arrived and began working on the fence while we raked the soil level.

To deter groundhogs, we made a skirt around the perimeter out of a 4' roll of 1"x4" welded wire.

Deer netting was installed overhead and around the perimeter.

We planted seeds and transplants and watered them in.

The final garden, ready to thwart critters and feed a family!

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A cold frame is kind of like a mini greenhouse, protecting tender plants from frost so you can harvest salad through the winter or get a head start on summer crops. Plants grown in a cold frame will be stronger than those started indoors; a day with the glass removed is enough to harden them off before transplanting. We’ve discovered that cold frames can also give protection from hungry deer and chickens!

Lee started building these easy cold frames when we were living in Austin, and he’s been banging them out ever since. It basically consists of finding a window, building a box to fit it, and sloping the whole thing toward the south.

Things you’ll need:

– An old window, a scrap pane of glass, or a piece of corrugated roof plastic. Anything that is at least 2′ x 3′ or so and will let light through

– 4 pieces of lumber, about 2×10″, 2 pieces cut to same length as the glass, 2 pieces cut to the width minus 4″

– 4 pieces of 1×1″ lumber, cut to the same width as the larger lumber or a little smaller

– Some nails or screws

1. Arrange your 2x10s to form a box, the shorter pieces set inside the longer. It’s okay if its smaller than the glass, which will just rest on top and can have an overhang. If the height of all the pieces is a little off, just make sure their tops edges line up on one side. Then the glass can rest flat and the plants will have more protection from the cold. Put a few screws in the corners to brace it.

2. Place the 1x1s vertically in the corners to further reinforce the box and keep it square. Make sure they don’t stick out past the top and put some more screws in there.

3. Decide where you’re cold frame will live. It can fit over a garden bed which you plant directly into, like one above, or sit on an unused part of the yard and protect potted things, as below. Either way, the location should receive a good amount of sunlight each day, and be sloped toward the south (or the north if you’re below the equator). This doesn’t mean the ground already needs to be graded that way, although that would be cool. We just dig a little dirt from the south side and mound it in the back to give us a slope.

4. Put your plants inside the box, and the piece of glass on top.

Viola! Didn’t we say it was easy? The hardest part is remembering that those little plants in there still need air. Try to open the cold frame up at least a little every day. We crack the glass by propping it up with a rock, or more so with a stick prop. Most days, though, we just take the whole thing off during the warm hours.

This can get a lot fancier. Try adding hinges to the glass, angled sides, mitered corners… or just get bigger. Show us some of your cold frames!

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Here’s our new chicken tractor, housing 5 happy hens, built with scrap wood and chicken wire. It’s 4′ x 8′ with a 1′ skirt all around to keep digging predators out. It has 2 nesting boxes above (they ended up only laying in one of them), with perching bars and food and water access below.

Even though we move it every day or so, there are many advantages of a chicken tractor over a stationary coop. We don’t have to let them out early in the morning or close them up at night (we get to take vacations!), or clean out a coop, and they mow the lawn. Plus we’ve been letting them scratch at our future garden beds, eating the grass, aerating the soil, and fertilizing with their poops. It’s the portrait of mutual benefit!

Some things we’ll change for chicken tractor 2.0: designing it as a 45-45-90 degree triangle (less complicated cuts), using lighter material for construction (all that wood makes it a 2-person moving job), and giving the chickens more protection from rain.

For further inspiration, check out this city chicken page with over 170 pictures of different people’s takes on the chicken tractor idea.

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