Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Colorbond garden beds

Having grown up on acreage, we always had a pretty decent vege patch at home. When the boy and I moved into our apartment, I decided that despite the lack of space, I’d have a go at a potted garden patch on our balcony. Sadly, I wasn’t the only one who thought it was a great idea. In what turned out to be a losing battle, some neighbourhood possums made it a nightly raid on my poor veges. Those little buggers even pulled the seedlings out of the dirt! It was a difficult experience, made worse by the sleepless nights (sitting bolt upright at the smallest noise, taking to the balcony with nothing but my pajama’ed behind and a broom) and the fact that I had promised the boy a bounty of produce.

 The balcony vege patch - full of promise....

 ....and one of the many casualties of hungry possums.

 Anywhoo, after moving into the new house, the first thing I did was plant myself a garden bed. I was finally producing some fabulous home-grown veges,  but alas, the boy was still not happy.
‘It’s ugly’ he would say.
‘It’s not a bed of roses, what do you expect? It’s saving us money!’ was my reply.
And then the accidents started. The boy’s sudden inability to mow straight would see a whole tomato plant turn to salsa in the mower’s catcher and the parsley would get an impromptu weekly pruning.
A compromise had to be made. It came in the form of colourbond garden beds.
Now I would have been happy with those ready to assemble, curved edged ditties which you can pick up from the hardware store, but with prices starting at over $100, it kinda cancelled out the savings of home-growing.
Step in my Dad, who managed to secure us some colorbond - for free!
We were given 6x 2m lengths of colorbond and a bag of screws. We were also gifted some pieces of hardwood to anchor the whole thing into the ground and a trailer-load FULL of manure and soil.

Firstly, we measured out the space for the garden bed – we decided a neat 1m x 2m size.
We cut one sheet of iron in half using an angle grinder (the boy did this. I’m not a fan of the sparks that shoot off - running around the yard with burning hair was a serious fear!)
We drilled holes in both the iron and the timber stakes, and secured them together with the bolts.

We flipped the whole thing up sidedown to secure the final sheet on the front.

We then filled the garden bed with a mixture of topsoil and horse manure and got planting!

To cover the sharp edges, I used some plastic piping (bought by the roll at Bunnings)  which I sliced through and slipped it around the whole garden bed.

Et voila! The finished project.

Rosemary and a tomato plant in the back left
some baby tomatoes appearing already!


bok choy seedlings and a line of baby carrot seedlings in the background (don't worry, I'll thin these out shortly)

A few hints for first timers -
1.  This project was cheap as chips! Seriously, the only thing we paid for was the plastic tubing which was just over $10 for 6m. If you are looking at sourcing your own colorbond on the cheap, contact your local roofing company – they often have offcuts that you might be able to use, alternatively, try a demolition or scrap metal yard. It doesn’t have to be pretty. Plus you can always spray paint it if it’s not the right colour!
2. This is a two-person job. Choose someone who you don’t argue with and who won’t leave when they get a better offer be able to see the project through to completion! This took us two days to finish, but really, it should only take you a few hours (hey, this blog isn’t called ‘piecemeal projects’ for nothing!)
Happy garden bed constructing!

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