Monday, December 1, 2008

Or Is It This One by Sunset Magazine?

• One 6-foot-long 4-by-4 ($15)
• Six 8-foot-long 2-by-6s ($75)
• One 10-foot-long 1-inch PVC pipe ($3)
• Two 10-foot-long ½-inch PVC pipes ($6)
• ½ gallon semitransparent exterior oil stain ($15)
• 32 3½-inch #14 wood screws and 16 ½-inch #8 wood screws ($29)
• One 4- by 10-foot roll of ¼-inch-mesh hardware cloth ($15)
• Eight 1-inch galvanized tube straps (semicircular brackets; $3.60)
• 32 cubic feet (1 1/5 cu. yd.) planting mix ($25 in bulk or $100 in bags)

Prep first, then build the bed in five simple steps:
With a table or power saw, cut the 4-by-4 into four 16-inch-tall corner posts. Cut two of the 2-by-6s in half. Cut the 1-inch PVC pipe into four 12-inch-long pieces and the ½-inch PVC pipes into 6-foot-long pieces. Stain lumber; let dry overnight. Assemble pieces on a hard, flat surface. Now you're ready to put it all together.
Build bed upside down. Set a 4-foot 2-by-6 on its thin edge on pavement, and place a 16-inch post at one end. Secure post with two 3½-inch screws. Repeat at other end of board. Repeat with other short board. Join short sides with an 8-foot board; and secure with two screws. Add other long side. Add second layer of 2-by-6s.

With help from a buddy, flip the bed right side up. Move it into position in the yard, marking with a trowel each corner post’s location. Move the bed aside; dig a 5- to 6-inch-deep hole for each post. Put the bed back into place, with posts in holes; fill around posts with soil.
Rake the existing soil at the bottom of the bed to level it, then tamp it smooth. Line the bed with hardware cloth to keep out gophers and moles; trim the cloth with shears to fit around corner posts.
To hold hoops for bird netting or row covers, attach four 12-inch pieces of 1-inch PVC pipe inside the bed: On the long sides, space pipes 4 feet apart, 2 feet from each end; screw on two tube straps to secure each pipe. Fill the bed with planting mix; rake it smooth, and moisten it with a gentle spray from the hose.
To cover newly planted seedlings with bird netting or season-extending row covers, simply bend two 6-foot pieces of ½-inch PVC pipe to form semi-circles, and slip their ends into the 1-inch pipes inside the bed. Then drape the bird netting or row covers over them.

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