How to Get Cheap or Free Hardwood Lumber
Making boxes that are extra deep mean they are extra dramatic. I know I've told you that 6 inches of Mels Mix is enough for all plants, but your garden becomes more dramatic when the container is extra tall. If you decide to build your box taller, just use 8-, 10-, or 12-inch lumber instead of the normal 6 inches. The only drawback is cost. But no matter you're after a dramatic, spectacular look now. Since the plants don't need more than 6 inches of Mel's Mix, don't spend your money on filling the entire depth with Mel's Mix. Use sand, (cheap and available at any home improvement center) on the bottom layer. I'll just use my existing yard soil, someone says uand save even more money. Don't Most soils don't drain well and have weed seeds. Remember weeds We don't have them anymore in SFG, so if you're going to multiple layers for your garden boxes, fill any space below 6 inches with just ordinary sand.
You wouldn't think of building a house by gathering up some lumber, concrete, and roofing materials and then making the house up as you went along. First you need a plan to direct the course of the work and ensure a satisfactory outcome. Landscaping is no different. In fact, the landscape, especially the sustainable landscape, is complex, and it demands a great deal of thought if you want to end up with something that works well and looks good.
However, wood decks are notoriously vulnerable to attack by various pests and pathogens as well as to the general ravages of weather, sun, and time. Alternative decking materials, such as plastic lumber (see Chapter 12), are much easier to live with and require no maintenance other than periodic cleaning. But they're usually used in combination with natural wood framing, which has its own problems.
If you need a more solid solution, sustainable wooden fences made from certified sustainably harvested wood, nontoxic treated posts, and high fly ash content concrete to fill the post holes are an option. Unfortunately, certified fence lumber can be difficult to find. If you have to buy noncertified wood, at least it's a natural material and not the worst thing you can choose.
Active and makes a very effective biofilter. Kiln-dried sawdust is too light and airy to be a 100 effective biofilter, unless partially rehy-drated. Furthermore, kiln-dried sawdust from wood-working shops may contain hazardous chemical poisons if pressure-treated lumber is being used there.
To make a wooden bottom for a wire cage, attach four pieces of 1 X2 inch pine lumber 4 feet long in a box shape with two deck screws at each corner. Then cut and shape your chicken wire or fencing wire to the 4x4 box to create any height you want. Staple the wire to the wood frame using Vs-inch staples, and then wire or tie the vertical corners together or wherever the wire forms a corner. If you are using chicken wire or any wire that has sharp edges, you may want to cover the sharp points including where the wire is stapled to the wood with something like duct tape (choose a nice color) to prevent getting scratched while you're moving your cover. Another way is to attach the wire to the inside of the 1 X2 frame. Its a little more work to staple the wire to the inside, but there wont be any Brace the frame with your foot sharp points to scratch you. If you have a couple of these cages made
The author built this simple 8x12' greenhouse in his yard in just a few weekends and for less than 1200 in lumber and GE Thermoclear glazing. The author built this simple 8x12' greenhouse in his yard in just a few weekends and for less than 1200 in lumber and GE Thermoclear glazing.
Sawmill sawdust has a moisture content of 40-65 , which is good for compost.18 Lumber yard sawdust, on the other hand, is kiln-dried and is biologically inert due to dehydration. Therefore, it is not as desirable in compost unless rehydrated with water (or urine) before being added to the compost pile. Also, lumber yard sawdust nowadays can often be contaminated with wood preservatives such as chromated copper arsenate (from pressure treated lumber ). Both chromium and arsenic are human carcinogens, so it would be wise to avoid such lumber now banned by the EPA.
Decomposed granite goes on 3 to 4 inches deep. Excavate the soil to accommodate the material or install header boards made of recycled plastic lumber so that the d.g. is entirely or partially above grade. Place the d.g. and grade it level with a rake, then wet it with a hose and compact it with a water-filled lawn roller so it will stay in place. Unlike gravel, d.g. forms a pretty solid surface. Many people mix portland cement or special stabilizing agents with the loose d.g. before they place and compact it this technique helps it last longer but also makes it impracticable to reuse the material.
More and more companies are catching on to the market demand for affordable, hobby-style greenhouses. One of those companies, RION, has designed a clever line of full-sized, prefabricated greenhouses that can be shipped by UPS. From what I've heard, they snap together in a couple hours and out last many of their treated wood counterparts. For just a little more than you would spend on plans, lumber, glazing and hardware, you can get up and growing in one of these nifty prefab houses in a fraction of the time, and never worry about rotting wood and termites to boot.
Dig a rectangle about 6 -8 inches deep beside the wall. Using scrap lumber or plywood, build a frame with sides the slope down toward the front a 6 inch slope is sufficient. Make sure the front is high enough (about 18 inches) to accommodate your shortest bonsai. Then set the frame againt the wall and spread 3 - 4 inches of gravel in the bottom.
The cage needs to measure at least 3 by 3 feet to be effective. Commercially available bins of tough black plastic with a lid on top and hatch in the bottom ( Darth Vader bins) are this size, or you can make your own out of chicken wire, concrete blocks, wooden pallets, lumber, or even piled-up hay bales.
Vertical supports can also be added to patio, balcony, or waist-high gardens. They are constructed in the same manner. However, we suggest that they be no taller than 4 feet. Instead of using rebar in the ground to secure them, they are fastened to the garden box using special clamps screwed into the sides of the box. Buy those when and where you buy your conduit and lumber. In this situation, there's not a great strength with the vertical frame, so it would be necessary to put the struts from the top down to the south side of the box, and depending on how high, and your location, the wind, and the plant growth, you might have to provide additional support. The next page shows guy wires.
Once you drill the top piece, slide the board back to expose the next one. All types of lumber come in 8-foot lengths and multiples of 2 feet thereafter. Since most SFGs will be 4X4 feet, ask the lumber company to cut your 8-foot-long wood in half when you buy it. They usually do this for free. Then its easier to take home, quicker to assemble, and eliminates any need for sawing. All types of wood can be used pine, fir, cedar, or even redwood (which is more expensive but longer-lasting), but don't use treated lumber.
The teepee ought to be at least 6 or 8 feet high, depending on what you're growing. Read the seed packet or the plant label for the ultimate plant height and then plan accordingly. You don't have to use lumber how about slender branches Lash three or more tall branches or poles together, and stick them a few inches into the ground to make them stable. As for the climbing plant that will cloak it, you want something lush and fast-growing. I suggest pole bean, scarlet runner bean, climbing nasturtium, or morning glory. Set at least one or two plants at the base of each support.
Construct your wood frames by nailing four boards together, four feet long at each end and as long at the sides as you want each bed to be. If you don't have lumber that's long enough for the sides (let's say twelve feet long), you can easily splice two pieces together. Butt the ends together and put a piece of plywood on the inside, nail To splice lumber, use a small piece of plywood, nailed on the inside of the bed, and bend over the nail ends. To splice lumber, use a small piece of plywood, nailed on the inside of the bed, and bend over the nail ends.
A good basic mixture consists of one-third clay, one-third humus, and one-third sand. If you live in an area where humus is not available, then obtaining an artificial soil mix from your garden store or nursery is the only answer. river or quarry sand can be purchased from lumber yards and variety stores where it is sold under the name of white aquarium sand.
For the boxes, buy only construction-heart redwood, construction-heart cedar, or ground-contact, pressure-treated common lumber anything else will rot away in just a few years. To retard rust, assemble the boxes with galvanized nails, screws, and corner brackets 2 Cut Winch plywood into panels 3' 2 inches taller than the height your wall will extend above the ground (the earth below provides the form for the footing). Coat plywood with motor oil for easier removal. Nail studs of 2x4 lumber to the plywood, spacing them 24 inches apart.
Your beds should be bordered with wood if possible. This makes for a neater garden which is easier to take care of, and it allows you to build up your soil more easily and to cover individual beds more readily for protection (see chapter three). The ideal size for lumber is two-by-sixes or two-by-eights. This is fairly expensive if you buy it, but you should be able to find some for free. There's always some construction in the neighborhood and builders throw away a lot of good lumber. Just ask the foreman. Chances are he's a gardener and will have a personal interest in your project. Some inquisitive builders have even offered to deliver the lumber so they could look at my garden plan. Be careful you don't want to tell too much about your new business or you may have an unemployed builder as your new competitor.
If you want to edge your patio with wood, construct permanent forms with redwood, cedar, or pressure-treated lumber. Apply a coat of sealer to further enhance the wood's natural rot resistance, then put masking or duct tape on the top edges to keep cement from staining or scratching the wood. (See pages 122-123.)
My idea of the best kind of wood is free wood. Go to any construction site, tell the foreman you are building a Square Foot Garden, and ask if they have any scrap lumber. Chances are they will be throwing out just what you need. They may even cut it for you if you ask nicely. Then your box is free. When constructing your SFG box, cut all four pieces of your wood sides to the same length, and then rotate the corners to ensure you end up with a square box. If you want a different look than the rotated corners, measure the thickness of the lumber and subtract that from two of the sides and add it to the other two sides so you still end up with a square box. It is not critical that your garden box be exactly 48 inches either inside or outside, but it should be square so each square foot planting area is the same size. Attach your box with coarse-thread deck screws that are twice as long as the thickness of the lumber. Use three screws per corner. Pre-drill your holes in the first piece of...
When you order lumber, specify construction-heart redwood or cedar or ground-contact, pressure-treated wood for all posts and bottom rails upper rails and fencing can be less expensive grades of rot-resistant lumber. To minimize rust, buy hot-dip galvanized nails and fittings.
Improvise a screed board like the one shown to assure a uniform depth of sand. Screed one area, lay bricks, then move on to another. Our screed consists oj a 2x6 notched at the ends you also can make a screed by nailing together lengths of different-dimension lumber, rounds provide a slightly resilient surface. We mack these by slicing 4x4s with a circular saw. Use only redwood or cedar heartumod, or pressure-treated lumber.
Pages 184-185 present your materials options. No law says you must use the same grade or species of wood throughout a project. For economy, we used pressure-treated lumber for all the structural members of our raised deck. For appearance' sake, we used redwood for the decking, skirting, railings, and stairs. outed lumber. Drill
If you plan to start a good many seeds prior to transplanting them into your garden, there is nothing more satisfactory and helpful, short of a greenhouse, than a cold frame. You can buy a finished cold frame, one ready to assemble from a kit or as a partial kit with the hardware and specifications for the lumber needed, or you can make your own cold frame from an old storm window and whatever used lumber you might have lying around in your garage or basement. Cold frames have a top-to-bottom slant to invite the southern sun into every corner of the box. Window orientation should be slanted toward the south.
A sturdy deck begins with a sound plan and high-quality lumber. After you've sketched out the platform you'd like to build, consult the span table on page 185 to determine the dimensions and amounts of lumber and other components you will need, adding 10 percent for waste. Then refer to the descriptions of deck materials on pages 184-185 to decide what kind of wood to use for your deck. As you select lumber at the yard or as it comes off the truck, examine each piece and reject any that are split or badly twisted. Don't worry about boards with minor warping and cupping, though nailing these in place will straighten them out for you. 1 For a preview of how your deck will look. JL test-assemble a section on a patio, drive, or other open space. This also gives you a chance to identify your straightest lumber. Cut scraps of ' - or -Winch plywood to serve as spacers between boards. S Position joists according to the span table on page 185. Use a scrap of lumber to adjust joist hangers so...