This will be our first year gardening on the high planes of Colorado. It is the end of May, and we are still having snowstorms. I am starting to miss the Oregon rain that I am accustomed to. Yeah, everybody complains about the rain, but as with most things, you don’t know how good you have it until it is gone. However, Right now, it is time to start building the garden boxes in hopes that it will warm up soon so we can plant.
One of the decisions for building above-ground boxes instead of just planting in the ground was mainly soil condition. The soil is sandy and does not have much organic matter. It is not uncommon out here to have 30mph sustained winds blowing away any lightweight organic matter, leaving behind the heavy sand and rock.
I had planned to build the boxes out of cedar, but a trip to the home center revealed that cedar is not a popular wood in this area. The popular wood in Colorado seems to be Red Wood, a bit more expensive than cedar, but hopefully, it will last a long time and look nice for a few years before it turns gray from the weather and is beaten to death by the wind.
The planned site for the boxes was close to the irrigation system, so I could easily tap into it to keep the garden watered. However, the main problem with our backyard is it is hilly, so there was a slope where we planned to build the boxes. We either needed to cut the boxes into the hillside to create a terraced effect or build up the low end with an additional piece of wood. With the price of the Red Wood, we decided to cut them into the hillside. My wife was not excited about the extra digging, but I`m cheap, so the extra sweat equity was worth it to me. I saved money on not having to buy a gym membership, as well as the extra lumber I would have needed.
We piled the extra dirt we dug up into the boxes, amended it with cow manure, and rototilled it in really well. I couldn’t get my fairly new little rototiller started, so I used the much older and larger tiller that I inherited from my grandfather. That just goes to show that they don’t make them like they used to. Anyhow, my wife had a great time taking pictures of me rototilling a little garden box with a huge rototiller and posting them to Facebook to make fun of me. Oh well, It got the job done really fast, and for those few minutes, I felt like Tim The Tool Man Taylor on his Tool Time show. I may have even let out a grunt or two.
The boxes are of a simple construction. I used 2x6x8 Red Wood and attached them in the corners with 2x4s to add some strength. The overall sizes of these boxes are 4 feet wide, 8 feet long, and 1 foot deep.
Now just wait for warmer weather and get planting.