Posts Tagged ‘design’

Three Sisters Garden

What is a Three Sisters Garden?

It is an ancient method of gardening using an intercropping system which grows corn, beans, and squash crops simultaneously in the same growing area that is typically a rounded mound of soil, often called a hill.

Corn is the oldest sister. She stands tall in the center.

Squash is the next sister. She grows over the mound, protecting her sisters from weeds and shades the soil from the sun with her leaves, keeping it cool and moist.

Beans are the third sister. She climbs through squash and then up corn to bind all together as she reaches for the sun. Beans help keep the soil fertile by coverting the sun’s energy into nitrogen filled nodules that grow on its roots. As beans grow they use the stored nitrogen as food.

How do I grow a Three Sisters Garden?

In mid-Spring clear a sunny garden area of grasses, weeds, and large stones. The area should be roundish in shape and at least eight feet across. Cover the area with a few inches of compost or well rotted manure. Turn the compost in to loosen the ground and create a moisture retaining growing medium with increased fertility. Water it well. Check the growing area frequently over the next few weeks to remove any sprouted weeds.

In late-Spring sow about seven or eight corn seeds in the center of the growing circle, in a ring pattern, spaced out about six inches from each other. Plant the corn seeds an inch under the soil, firm the soil above by patting it down with the palm of your hand. Water the growing mound well. The corn will sprout and begin to grow in about two weeks.

After the corn has grown to about ten inches high, using a hoe or hand trowel, pull up some soil from the growing mound around the base of the corn stalks. The corn should not be buried entirely, it’s upper half should be above the soil that has been mounded around it’s stems. The corn will send roots into the mounded soil to hold it steady and upright in the wind.

After mounding soil around the base of the corn stalks sow about a dozen pole bean seeds in a ring pattern six inches outside the corn stalks. Push the bean seeds about an inch under the soil and firm the ground above them by patting it down with your hand. Water the growing mound well. The beans will usually begin to sprout in about 7-14 days.

About a week after the beans sprout, sow six or seven squash seeds in a ring about 12-15″ outside the beans. Push the squash seeds about an inch under the soil and firm the ground above them by patting it down with your hand. The squash seeds will sprout in about a week.

As the corn grows the beans will begin to climb, you can help them early on by wrapping the bean vines around the corn stalks. The squash will begin to grow it’s vines and the large squash leaves will soon cover the growing mound and shade its soil. On occasion help the squash continue to cover the mound by turning the ends of it’s vines towards the center of the mound. Water the mound well during weeks where there has been little or no rain.

When can we harvest our Three Sister’s Garden?

Corn may be harvested while in it’s green corn stage, but tradtionally it is left to ripen and is harvested in Autumn. The cob is sun dried and stored for winter use. To harvest green corn observe the silky threads coming from the tops of the ears, when the silk is dry and a dark brown color the corn may be harvested. To remove an ear of corn, hold the stalk a few inches below the ear. Pull the tip of the ear toward the ground until it snaps off.

Beans may be eaten fresh or allowed to mature and dry on the vine. Fresh beans can be harvested when the pods are firm and crisp, but before the seeds within the pods have begun to swell. Pick beans in late morning after the night-dew has dried from the plants. This helps to prevent the spread of bacterias which can harm the plants. Pick the beans carefully to avoid bruising or snapping the growing vines. Bean plants will continue to flower and more bean pods will develop if they are harvested before bean seeds can mature.

Squash should be picked only after its skin has hardened thoroughly. Be careful to not damage or break off the stem of the squash…this can wound the squash and it will begin to rot. Cut the stem 3-4″ from the fruit with a sharp knife. Allow the squash to sit in the sun for a few days to cure and the stem to dry. Store squash in a single layer and not touching each other, which can foster rot. Squash can last at least two months, depending on the variety.

Enjoy growing your Three Sisters Garden!

Protecting your garden

Keep the birds at bay with this jangly kitchen-gadget scarecrow.

 

Tin Man

What you’ll need

  • One 7-foot-long 2- by 3-inch wooden stud
  • Two ¾-inch wooden dowels
  • 4 large brass hooks
  • Twine
  • 2 metal spatulas
  • 4 sets of metal measuring spoons
  • 2 metal saucepans
  • Metal coffeepot
  • Metal colander
  • Wire
  • Old pair of jeans, shirt, and suspenders
  • Bandana

How to make it

  1. First, set one end of the wooden stud 18 inches into the ground. Next, cut the two dowels to measure 3 feet long and 1 foot long, respectively. Screw the brass hooks into the ends of both dowels.
  2. With twine, securely tie the longer dowel to the stud 10 inches from the top. Hang the spatula ‘forearms’ from the hooks and use safety pins to attach metal measuring spoon ‘fingers’ to the spatulas.
  3. Tie on the shorter dowel 18 inches below the top one. Then loop leg-length pieces of twine around the hooks on the short dowel.
  4. Now dress the scarecrow in jeans, using suspenders to hang them from the ‘shoulder’ dowel. Thread the twine through the legs and tie saucepan ‘boots’ to the ends. Button on a flappy shirt.
  5. For a head, fit an inverted metal coffeepot atop the stud. You can even drill holes in its side and screw on metal washers for eyes. Tie a bandanna around the ‘neck.’
  6. Cap it all off by using wire to firmly fasten a metal colander hat to the coffeepot handle and then attach measuring spoons for hair.

 

Make a bean pole teepee

 

A bean teepee creates a wonderful hiding hole for young kids during the summer months at the same time as providing a perfect support for growing pole beans!

You can locate your bean teepee either in the vegetable patch or in a spare corner of the garden – it adds the dimension of height and is not only useful and fun, but quite ornamental too. Just bear in mind that the teepee will cast a fair bit of shade once the beans have grown.

How to Make a Bean Teepee

You will need: 7 – 9 long bamboo poles, some twine, string or even masking tape, and runner or pole beans.

circular shape for bean teepee Start off by finding a suitable spot in your garden and dig the earth over in a circular shape. A circle with a diameter of 3-4 foot is usually perfectly adequate.Beans like well-drained soil, so add some compost and fertiliser if needed – like in this example!
positioning poles for bean teepee Firmly push the ends of the bamboo poles into the ground by about 3 inches on the outside of the circle.Leave a gap between two of the poles to act as the entrance to the bean teepee.
tieing bamboo poles together Tie the bamboo poles together firmly near the top using twine, string, a bit of old rope or even masking tape.There is absolutely no fine art in tieing the poles together – the main and only aim is to ensure they are all VERY firmly held in place, as no matter how careful kids are, they are likely to knock the poles when going in and out of the teepee!
planting pole beans Plant the runner or pole beans about 2 inches deep. Plant them on the inside of the teepee rather than the outside, as this makes it easier to hoe and keep weeds down – anything growing on the outside of the bamboo poles are weeds!It is usual to plant two beans per pole. That should ensure at least one healthy plant per pole.
bean teepee ready to grow Water generously.Beans usually take between 7 to 14 days to germinate. Once the seedlings appear, protect them from slug attacks.

When the beans are a few inches high, loosely tie them to the poles. From then on, they should find their own way up.

When the plants reach the top of the teepee after about 7-8 weeks, nip the growing ends off. Keep them well watered during a dry patch, especially once the pods have started forming.

Once the dense foliage of the runner or pole beans has climbed up the bamboo poles and provides a cover, your bean teepee is ready for it’s inhabitants. Pop a blanket inside for the perfect private hide-away!

Tips

Once the first bean pods are ready to be harvested, keep picking them every few days to ensure the plants keep flowering and producing more pods. Once a pod reaches full maturity, the flowering process is shut down.

Beans can be planted outside once the risk of frost is over, usually late May or the beginning of June in the more northern areas.

For an even more colourful display, interplant climbing flowering plants too, such as climbing nasturtiums or black-eyed Susan.

Cats love these shady hide-aways too!

How to build a planter box

Step 1: Build the Frames

Build the top and bottom frames out of the 1×2 cedar strips. You’ll be butting the ends together, so no mitering will be necessary. Fasten two 26″ strips to two 13″ strips to form each rectangular frame. (You’ll need to ensure that the length remains 26″; to do this, butt the ends of the shorter strip against the longer strips. The thickness of the two longer strips will add an inch to each end of the shorter strips, increasing their length to 16″. Do this at each end of the longer strips to form a rectangular frame 26″ long and 16″ wide.) Apply a bead of wood glue to the junctions of the strips; then nail together with a single nail in each junction in preparation for inserting screws to hold them more securely. Predrill the ends prior to screwing them together; this helps keep the ends from splitting. Then insert a screw in each corner.

Step 2: Attach the Side Panels

Stand the two frames on their sides and apply a bead of wood glue to the inside face of the bottom side frames (the long sides). Attach four side panels to each long side, smooth sides out, and nail from the inside to hold them in place. Make sure the frames are flush with the panel ends on at least one side, or the bottom panels won’t fit properly. If the panels are jagged on the other side, you can always smooth them with a trim saw later.
Because you’re nailing from the inside, you may have to drive the nails at a slight angle. The advantage of this is that it conceals the nailheads from the exterior face of the window box. Repeat on the other side of the box.

Step 3: Attach the End Panels

Stand the half-completed box on its end and apply a bead of wood glue to the inside face of the bottom end frames. Attach two panels to each end in the same manner that you used to attach the side panels, once again ensuring that the ends are flush on the bottom. Repeat the process on the opposite end.

Step 4: Attach the Bottom Panels

Check and adjust your box for square if necessary. Attach three bottom panels to form the base of the planter box, using wood glue and screws. The base will reinforce and brace the box. Drill several holes in the panels so that water can escape, or simply leave a gap between the panels.

Step 5: Finish the Box

Lightly sand any rough edges and corners to smooth out splinters. If you wish, you can stain, seal or prime and paint your planter to suit your home’s decor. Because you used cedar, however, it can stay unfinished: cedar is one of the best lumbers you can use for exterior applications. This planter is a good size for potted plants, but you may wish to add a plastic liner and fill it with soil (add a layer of gravel first). If you do, don’t forget to cut holes in the liner to line up with the drainage holes in the bottom of the planter.

Growing a Vertical Garden

Vertical garden

 

 

1

  • Start any gardening project in spring, when air temperatures rise to 60 degrees F. Vertical garden vegetables don’t need warm soil, but do require frost-free nights.

  • 2

    Choose your wall for the garden. Put the vertical garden in a spot that gets full sunshine all day, with good air circulation and protection from any drying winds.

  • 3

  • Use deep, sturdy rain gutters for the vertical garden, to give vegetables room for growth and support. Cut the rain gutters to fit on the wall you choose, and build at least three to four “stories” of gardening space. Drill holes every 10 inches in the bottom of the gutters, to ensure drainage.

  • 4

    Secure the gutters to the wall with eye hooks, screws or nails every 6 inches. Leave 2 to 3 feet of space between each layer of gutters to give the plants room to grow.

  • 5

    Mix organic compost, peat moss and potting soil in equal parts as your planting mix. This mix gives the vegetables plenty of nutrition and drainage. Fill the gutters full of your mixture, then turn starter fertilizer such as 6-24-24 or 8-32-16 into the top 4 inches of soil to provide more nutrition.

  • 6

    Plant small, compact vegetables in a vertical garden to minimize space usage and avoid stressing the structure. Plant lettuce, cabbage, spinach, broccoli, herbs, beets, peas, carrots, garlic, onions and radishes. Choose only small tomato, cucumber, bean and pepper cultivars. Also plant flowers in with vegetables to make the garden more attractive.

How to Turn a Pallet into a Garden

Post image for How to Turn a Pallet into a Garden

Good news and bad news. I had planned to film a short video showing you how to make a pallet garden, but the weather didn’t cooperate. I was stapling the landscape fabric onto the pallet when it started drizzling and got really windy. That’s the bad news. But I know I promised a tutorial today, so I took photos and have kept my word to share how to make the pallet garden. I tried to be as detailed as possible. That’s the good news.

So keep reading my pallet loving friends, instructions on how to make your own pallet garden are just a few lines away…

Find a Pallet

The first thing you need to do is–obviously–find a pallet. I’ve had good luck finding them in dumpsters behind supermarkets. No need to be squeamish. It doesn’t smell. At least, it doesn’t smell that bad.  Don’t just take the first pallet you find. You’re looking for one with all the boards in good condition, no nails sticking out, no rotting, etc. If you intend to put edibles in your pallet, be sure to find one that was heat treated as opposed to fumigated with pesticides.

Collect Your Supplies

For this project, you’ll need the pallet you found, 2 large bags of potting soil, 16 six packs of annual flowers (one six pack per opening on the face of the pallet, and two six packs per opening on the top of the completed pallet garden), a small roll of landscape fabric, a staple gun, staples, and sand paper.

Get Your Pallet into Shape

Once you’ve dragged your pallet home, give it a once over. Are any of the boards a little loose? Is the wood chipping in places? Nail down any loose boards, and use sand paper to smooth down any rough spots.

Let the Stapling Begin!

Decide which side of the pallet will be the bottom when the pallet garden is completed and leaning against the wall. You are going to be covering the bottom, back, and sides with landscape fabric, leaving  the spaces between the slats and the top uncovered (you’ll be planting flowers in the uncovered spaces).

Lay the pallet face down. Roll the landscape fabric over the back. Cut two identically sized pieces that are long enough to go from the top edge of the back of the pallet and wrap all the way around the bottom, plus a few extra inches.

Hold the two pieces of landscape fabric together as if they were one piece of fabric. Fold over the top edge by one inch and center it on the top board of the back of the pallet. Staple the fabric into place near the top edge of the top board. Smooth the fabric out to the left and right and pull it taut. Staple the fabric down on the top, right edge of the top board. Repeat on the left side. Fill in between those three staples with one staple every two inches along the top edge of the top board.

When the top of the landscape fabric is securely attached to the top, back board, smooth the fabric down, and repeat the process along the bottom edge of the bottom board, except don’t fold the fabric under, leave a long flap on the bottom.

Pulling the fabric tautly along the bottom, fold the cut edge under, and staple the fabric down along the front edge of the bottom. Smooth the fabric out to the left and right and staple every two inches along the front edge of the bottom.

Now for the sides. Start near the bottom and fold the excess fabric inwards as if you were wrapping a present. Fold the cut edge of the fabric under and staple it down near the front, bottom edge of the side facade. Smooth the fabric out and place a staple every two inches along the front edge of the side of the pallet. The fabric should be taut but not in danger of tearing. Repeat on the other side of the pallet.

You should now have a pallet with landscape fabric wrapped around the sides, back, and bottom. Place more staples along the spine of the back side of the pallet, and anywhere else you think the fabric needs to be held down so that soil can’t creep into places you don’t want it to go.

Now for the Fun Part–Planting!

Bring the pallet close to wherever it’s final spot will be and lay it down face up. You’re going to plant it while it’s laying flat on the ground.

First slide the plants into what will be the top. Plant everything very tightly, you should have to practically shoe horn the last plant into place. Now that you have capped the top, pour the entire first bag of potting soil on top of the pallet. Push the soil into the pallet between the slats and smooth it out so that the soil is level. Repeat with the second bag of potting soil.

Push potting soil into the bottom cavity, so that there is a trench directly below one of the bottom openings. Plant six plants in the trench, so that they are very tightly fitted into the opening. Repeat with the other bottom opening. Now push the potting soil up against those flowers you just planted, making a trench beneath one of the openings in the second row. Plant your flowers tightly in that opening. Repeat for all the remaining openings.

When you’re done planting, you should have plants that are completely covering every opening (i.e. there shouldn’t be any place for soil to fall out). There should also be soil firmly pushed into every part of the pallet where there aren’t plants.

Caring For your Pallet

Now, I’m going to tell you what you should do, and I what I always end up doing (which is what you should not do). You should leave the pallet flat on the ground for a couple of weeks (watering when needed), so that the roots can start to grow in and hold all the plants in place. I can never wait though, so I always tip the pallet upright a few days after planting. Some soil does fall out, but it seems to be okay. But I think it would be better if you left it to settle and only tipped it upright after a few weeks. Do as I say, not as I do.

Water your pallet regularly, they dry out quickly. Pay special attention to the bottom two openings, they seem to be the driest. Fertilize with water soluble fertilizer added to your watering can (follow package instructions for amount and frequency).

Basic Four Square Rotation Garden Design

 

Divide your garden square into four by drawing a cross inside it. You now have a diagram of four square beds that you’ll use as a plan for your very own vegetable garden design. The four beds are for the four main groups of vegetable crops. The plants are divided into four categories based on the amount of nutrients that they need to flourish. Below is an example of these categories.

 Heavy feeders: These heavy feeders demand a lot of nitrogen. Examples of these are the large leafed plants like lettuce, corn, and even the vine crops like squash.

Middle Feeders: These middle-of-the-road feeders are the mid sized leafed plants with above-ground fruits like tomatoes and peppers.

Light Feeders: These feeders include the root crops like turnips and carrots. They like potash in the soil.

Soil Builders: These types leave more nitrogen in the soil than they take out. Examples of these are the legumes like peas and beans.

 How to Rotate

Vegetable garden design

Vegetable Garden Crop Rotation Plan

 

  • Each of the four types mentioned above goes into one of squares that you’ve diagrammed, called beds. 
  • From top-left and counter-clockwise; Heavy Feeders, Middle Feeders, Light Feeders and the Soil Builders. 
  • After every harvest and when replanting each season, you rotate each group to the next square, to reduce pests and soil problems. 
  • Make sure that when you rotate these four types, they always follow the same order given here. 
  • This means, that when you move the Heavy Feeders, they go to the Soil Builder’s previous position. 
  • The Middle Feeders move up to the Heavy Feeders’ former position, etc.Try to imagine a baseball game where in your players occupy bases. Each year you move the location of each plant group by one space, changing the location of your plant types.

    Another benefit of this kind of rotation is that the Heavy Feeders will grow better by transferring to the Soil Builder’s former spot which gives them more of the nutrients they require to flourish.

  • Building a root cellar to keep your produce.

    Instructions …things you’ll need: Shovel Excavator, tractor or backhoe 8-by-8-by-16-inch concrete cinder blocks–number determined by the size of the cellar (for a 12-by-12-foot cellar, you would need roughly 400 blocks) Fiberglass impregnated concrete bonding agent or concrete mortar 4-by-8-foot roof beams 2-by-8-foot for blocking between the beams Black plastic (6 mil or heavier) 9 sheets 3/4-inch plywood or OSB 6 feet of 2-inch PVC pipe 1 2-inch PVC 90-degree elbow … all items can be found at Evergreen Supply in Clark Fork.

    1 Choose where you want the root cellar located and decide how large a room you want. Dig a hole that will be two to three times larger on all sides so you have room to work. A tractor, backhoe or excavator make quick work of this project.

    2 Mark and square your corners. Lay out string lines and place your first row of concrete blocks. Stack the blocks to build the walls to about 7 feet, which takes 11 rows of standard cinder blocks, offsetting each row so the vertical seams don’t line up. Coat the exterior walls with a fiberglass-impregnated concrete bonding agent. This provides a watertight seal and locks the blocks together more securely than filling them with more concrete. Allow the bonding agent to cure. An alternative to this is to mortar the blocks together and then coat them with a concrete sealer. However, this is much slower, and has no greater strength.

    3 Place 4-by-8 beams across the roof every two feet. Secure the beams to the concrete blocks using ties and concrete fasteners. Install 2-by-8 blocking between the beams at the edge of the structure, securing them by driving nails at an angle into the beams. Sheet the beams with two layers of 3/4-inch plywood. Seal the roof with a heavy-duty, foundation-type sealing compound. Then place heavy black plastic (6 mil or more) over the roof to provide an extra layer of moisture protection.

     4 Carefully back fill all sides of the structure, doing a little on each side, then working your way around. Keep the pressure even on all sides, or the force of the soil can actually push the structure to an angle. Cover the roof preferably to a depth of two feet of soil. Plant grass to hold the soil in place.

    5 Frame in the doorway and install a well-insulated door. Ideally, you would build a short tunnel at the doorway and install two doors, creating an airlock for even better temperature control; however, this is not a requirement.

    6 Install a simple vent to allow air flow in the cellar to prevent mold and mildew from forming and keep the air relatively fresh. Using two-inch PVC pipe, run the pipe out the top of the cellar with the air deposited at the bottom of the cellar.

     7 Install shelves and bins for food storage.

    It’s also a good idea to either run a power line and install a light or place a battery-operated lantern inside the door for visibility.

    nepa_root_cellar                       shy_bear_farm_root_cellar

    Cold Frame

    Successful seed-starting takes infrastructure, be it a tricked-out heated glass greenhouse or a fluorescent shop-light setup in your basement. Either extreme–or anywhere in between–can work beautifully. However, in my experience, the solutions that are most likely to be implemented by busy gardeners are those that feel accessible and do-able in occasional spare moments.

    This post covers one such solution: a cold frame constructed from easy-to-find, fairly inexpensive materials.

    THE QUICK-AND-EASY COLD FRAME

    I’m a huge fan of cold frames. Not only do they hold miraculous quantities of promising green growth within their simple walls, they also are easy to build and will happily bring through the winter many servings of cold-hardy crops like spinach, scallions, tatsoi, and mache. Here’s a cold frame that a reasonably handy person with some power tools can put together for about $100 with materials from a local lumberyard (or, unfortunately, big box store–see below). In one season alone, you can easily produce several hundred dollars worth of seedlings in this frame’s roomy 32 square feet.

    Materials List

    * 2 pieces 8-foot-long, 26-inch-wide TUFTEX polycarbonate panels — $40
    * 2 packs closure strips — $10
    * 1 box TUFTEX screws — $6
    * roll of tape sealant (often used for metal roof panel overlap joints and similar) or some silicone caulk — $10
    * 2 pieces 8-foot 2×12 SPF lumber — $20
    * 1 piece 8-foot 2×8 SPF lumber — $8
    * 7 pieces 8-foot 2×2 SPF lumber, as straight as you can find — $13
    * exterior-grade drywall screws: 1-5/8? and 3? — $6
    * Hinges – $6

    Tools List

    * Circular Saw
    * Drill with 3/16? drill bit, Philips head driver bit, and 1/4? hex driver bit
    * Optional but makes things a little easier: Chop Saw

    All of these materials can be obtained from Evergreen Supply.  I like to give as much of my business as possible to my local lumberyard, as I appreciate having a locally owned lumberyard so close to home. I want to support them.

    Once you’ve assembled your materials, here’s what to do:

    1. Cut each TUFTEX panel in half so that you end up with four panels that are each 26? wide by 48? tall. This is best accomplished with a circular saw, though tin snips will also do the job.

    2. Arrange the four panels so that they are spread out across a flat surface with the last rib on one panel overlapping the first rib on the next. Try to get them as straight and square as possible.

    3. Measure the distance from the bottom of the first space-between-two-ribs to the bottom of the last space-between-two-ribs. This should be somewhere in the neighborhood of 8 feet. It won’t be exact, but that’s okay.

    Make the Frame for the Lid

    1. Miter cut the ends of two of the 8-foot 2×2s at 45-degree angles, like a picture frame’s corners.

    2. Cut one of the other 2×2s in half. Miter cut the ends so that the long edges are 48?, like a picture frame’s corners.

    3. Attach the 2×2s at the mitered corners by pre-drilling to prevent splitting and then attaching the ends together using 1-5/8? screws or similar. The result should be a giant picture frame, basically.

    4. Cut another 2×2 to about 93? in length. Don’t cut it too short! Place it in the center of the frame, centered 24? from top and bottom corners. This creates a middle horizontal support parallel to the other long sides of the frame; this will prevent the frame from sagging under the weight of adhered interior dew or exterior snow loads.

    Finish the Lid

    1. Using the drill bit, pre-drill holes in every other “valley” of each panel’s ribbing along the top and bottom edges.

    2. Place strips of tape sealant along the top surface of the short sides of the frame. (Or, use silicone to seal this seam after step four. Place TUFTEX closure strips along the tops of the long sides of the frame.

    3. Line up the panels on the frame so that they are overlapping and cover the entire frame, setting them on top of the closure strips. Set the final “valleys” set so they are resting on the tape sealant (or, again, you can fill this seam with silicone caulk). This won’t be a perfect match–the edges of the valleys will touch the sides of the frames, but they won’t rest on it nicely. This is okay. Just be sure this gap is sealed (it may take a few layers of tape sealant, some applied after the cover is attached.

    4. Attach the panels using the TUFTEX fasteners and the hex-head driver bit.

    Make the cold frame box

    1. Cut one of the 8-foot 2×12’s into 2 45? lengths.

    2. Using a straight edge, draw a line from the top corner of one end of the length to a mark at 7-1/4? from the bottom corner of the other end. Cutting on this line will create a side to the cold frame that will slope exactly from the rear 2×12 wall to the front 2×8 wall.

    3. Using a circular saw, cut along this line. Be careful–it can be tricky to perform this cut, as it’s something of a ripping cut that sort of follows the grain.

    4. Repeat for other 45? length.

    5. Position the pieces of the cold frame. The two 8-foot pieces of lumber are parallel, with the two 45-inch pieces of sloping lumber forming the sides, with the un-ripped side up. These smaller pieces should be “inside” the 8-foot pieces so that, when sandwiched, the entire length of the side is 48? (including the 1-1/2? for the ends of both the rear and front walls).

    6. Pre-drill holes and attach all sides of the frame using the 3? screws.

    7. Half-way down the short sides of the cold frame, attach a spare piece of wood to the inside top edge, flush with the sloping surface of the side.

    8. Flip the cold frame over. Cut one of the three remaining 2×2’s into 2 45? lengths. Match these up with the undersides of the lumber that makes the frame and attach with the 3? screws. This will be the “ground floor” of your cold frame that will slowly rot over several years. After it’s rotted, simply detach and replace with a new “ground floor.” The rest of the cold frame will last for about 20 years or so if left out–maybe more if stored well when not in use. (The ground floor is not shown in the accompanying photos.)

    Put the Lid on the Cold Frame

    1. Set the lid on the cold frame, matching up the corners with the frame.

    2. Attach to the cold frame using a couple of long rectangular hinges and short screws.

    3. If the lid does not sit squarely on the frame, purchase and install a latch to hold it snug.

    VOILA! A functional cold frame that can be built in an afternoon for around a hundred bucks. Fill it with trays and go to town! You’ll find endless uses for it.

    Bean Teepee

    Bean Teepee Make a cool, leafy hiding place! Somewhere in your garden, create a fun hiding place for kids to keep cool in the Summer! What You Will Need: 4×4-foot Garden Patch 8-12 Bamboo Stakes (at least 6 feet long) String, Scissors, Pole Bean Seeds (such as Scarlet Runner Bean or Blue Lake)

    What You Do: When the weather warms up, find a spot in the garden that is about 4 feet on each side. Make sure the ground is ready to plant by digging up the soil until it is crumbly. Tie stakes together at the top and set them upright in the middle of your garden patch. Spread the bottom ends of the stakes out to make a circle. Leave an opening between 2 stakes wide enough for a “door” into the teepee. Soak your bean seeds overnight to promote germination. Plant 4 or 5 seeds one inch deep at the bottom of each pole. Keep the seeds watered while they are sprouting. Once the seeds begin to sprout, they should find the stakes themselves and climb upward. If not guide them to be certain they cover the poles to form teepee. By mid-Summer, your bean teepee should be ready to play in! Spread a tarp or old blanket on the ground inside and invite your friends over!

    Additional Ideas and Tips: If you want more color on your Bean Teepee, plant flowering vines along with the bean seeds — Morning Glories make a colorful addition. Chart the growth of your bean sprouts — a great math lesson!

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