Sunday, May 31, 2015

Big giant table gardening


I've had a garden every year since 2009. The story has been the same every year. I try to grow food and then children, dogs, weeds, rabbits, ants, and squirrels conspire to ruin parts of it. But that's the game, if it was easy it wouldn't be worth doing. This year I think I've had a major technological breakthrough.

It all started by ripping a bar out of my basement. While trying to figure out what to do with all of the excess wood from that project, I ended up designing this garden box. It's put together using woodglue and 18guage pneumatic nails but designed so that if the glue and nails fail the forces exerted by the dirt in the box will still keep everything together. Here is my daughter helping me prove this concept.


At some point, I had the idea to put the garden boxes up on saw horses which kept them out of reach of our children and the dogs. This worked out so well that I built a giant table to hold them. Here's pictures from the build.


The table is made rigid by the the braces I placed along all three axis of the back leg joints. This worked out incredibly well and I think I'll use this design again in the future. I cut the legs so that the table would be level, which is why they are shorter on the far end. 




As shown above, I originally used pallets to hold the planters. It was only a day before I found enough time in the garage to cut all of the palet wood out and pneumatically nail them to the top of the table. A note about all of this: I left enough of a gap between all of the boards in this project to account for expansion during watering. I still expect to see failures, but everything is trivial to fix. 

Total cost of project was 26$, because I only had to pay for the 2x4s and 2x6x12 boards to build the table structure. Everything else was salvaged from my basement bar tear down or pallets that we received server shipments on at work.




It's way easier to tend to this garden than any I've ever had before. There are no ant nests in the soil, I don't have to bend over to pull weeds, the dogs and children ignore it, and I have a nice work surface I can keep tools like shovels and gloves just laying around on.