The R&R Garden
a.k.a. The Plant Prison
My wife loves to cook. She cooks with everything as fresh as possible so she asked me if I could put together a garden for her to raise fresh veggies in.
Of course I said yes and we began looking into what would be involved in gardening in the desert.
Water and protection from the critters ended up being the two main requirements. Shade came in a close third.
First thing was to pour a concrete footer. It's one foot wide, one foot deep (it is a footer, after all...) and a twenty four foot centerline square. The frame gets booted down to this and keeps the local critters out.
Prepping the ground for the garden.
Pouring the footer.
After getting the footer poured it was time for the walls. They're eight feet high and twenty four feet long. Two of them have doors right in the center.
Once the four walls were completed outside they went and i placed them in their new homes outside.
Next I made four raised bed frames. These got lined with composite deck boards then placed in the garden frame.
Sitting in their new home.
Once the beds were in place the walls and doors were covered in expanded metal.
There's less than a quarter inch opening under the doors and the rest of the frame goes from concrete footer to the roof line. Thus far, it's proven very rodent proof.
We also put together four ground level beds. These were made out of rough timber 4x4 posts.
The garden is basically big erector set. The four walls bolt together and then I ran roof bars across the top, matching the four foot vertical wall braces. the roof was then covered in 1/2" square screen.
Next came the magic dirt. My wife ordered a few yards of special mulch from a local organic farm. I cheated and rented a baby Skid steer to move the dirt. The four raised beds and the four timber beds were filled with he magic dirt.
The first attempt at shading was sliding covers. I strung up lines across the top of the garden's structure and then ran movable covers. The original idea was to be able to shade sections as needed. Unfortunately this setup didn't work (very long).
Each bed was assigned a number and we put in a 12 station watering system. This way we could control each bed's watering for the plants that were in them and also supply water to a couple other areas around the garden - plants on the outside, three trees, etc..
The original watering system was a drip/rain setup that used PVC tooooobing filled with holes. It worked well enough but got in the way of weeding and the plants. It slowly got changed out to drip lines and weeping lines that were buried in the soil and work much better. We can give each plant a source instead of just covering the bed.
Eventually the sliding shade was removed and the roof was covered in a 50% shade cloth. This has worked out extremely well.
Today the garden continues to grow and produce. We have fresh veggies of all sorts and the plants outside seem very happy (pretty much any plant out here that gets a drink on a regular basis is happy)
There are plans for a chicken coop that will be attached to the garden to be built this summer.
Bon appetit!Return Home