Box Gardening Challenge

The construction of a box garden can be a rewarding task for keeping your mind occupied, get some exercise, and mental satisfaction. It can also be created for next to nothing (around $ 60 for a 4 X 6 foot box). I thought I would replace the little hot box in our back yard that allowed only 4 tomato plants with a larger plot that was both inexpensive but produced more vegetables with the least amount of work out in the hot sun here in southern Virginia.

I began with a sketch and went to the local home supply store with the firm conviction that I would leave with all the supplies necessary for the task. An hour or so later, this task was complete. The list consists of a 50 ft. roll or 3 ft. wide fencing. You know, the wire fence with the 2 "X 3" openings. Then I bought 8 of those 6 ft. stockade fence boards in the rough cut lumber section ($ 2 each) along with 4 cheap 1 X 4's, also 6 ft. long. Can you see it? Two of the 6 ft. fence boards stacked horizontally and two of the 6 ft. 1 X 4's nailed vertically at each end. That's one side of the box complete. Do it again and 2 sides are complete. Then cut 2 ft. off the remaining 4 fence boards and the box is nearly complete. Take them outside and nail 2 of the boards to the edges of the 6 ft. boards. You now have a 1 ft. deep box, 4ft. X 6ft. with 4 vertical corner posts.

The wire is then cut in 6 ft. and 4 ft. lengths with wire cutters. By now you can see that there is enough wire to span the entire 20 ft. to wrap around the box perimeter. Each wire fence section can later be folded down for easy access to the plants inside the box. But since the vertical 1 X 4's are 6 ft. high, the wire fencing needs to cover the remaining upper 3 ft. of the box height. So, cut more fencing to cover the upper 20 ft. of the box perimeter. The remainder of the 50 ft. fence will cover the top of the box.

The means of connect the fence sections to each other can be tie tags, twist ties, or those cotter pins that can be easily removed and reinstalled when done weeding or picking vegetables. I used cotter pins for ease of removal. Pin all the fence sections together at the four corners of each section and maybe a couple more along the horizontal lengths.

The remaining task is to locate the box in the optimum sunny location and fill it with some garden quality soil. Then wait until the end of the last frost in March to begin shopping for the tomato plants, peppers, and onions. The only question mark in my mind resides with those "pesky" squirrels. I just know they'll find a way to sneak through that fencing. Maybe the fencing needs to have smaller openings. Tying them together will also be a challenge to eliminate any gaps. Is it legal to shoot squirrels with a BB gun? I hear they're pretty good eating. Taste like chicken. Just kidding.

If enough weekend gardeners do this, we could overflow the farmers' markets all next summer with enough extra to give to our homeless neighbors. And all for less than $ 75 per household.