Michael is a picky eater and one of the two fruits he will eat is strawberries. We buy a lot of strawberries because of this and instead of buying the strawberries for 3 plus bucks a carton, I wanted to grow them. They are notoriously easy to grow so I thought, even I (black thumb Meg) could manage to grow a few of Michael’s favorite berry. But alas, we have bird issues. I tried for 3 years to grow strawberries in our backyard and they grew, but at soon as a little white bud of a berry would start to grow the birds would eat them up. So last year I pulled out all the strawberries and replaced them with a couple of flowering shrubs.
This year after shelling out over $10 bucks a week on store-bought strawberries I turned to Ana for help. I have been eyeing her $10 Raised Cedar Garden Beds for two years now thinking that they might help solve the ant, Japanese beetle, grub and slug issues (black thumb Meg!) I have had with the vegetable garden. Inspired by her design, and the fact that the cost of her Garden Beds and my Strawberry budget are one and the same, I made this deck planter.
The bulk of the planter is straight from Ana’s design but I needed a bottom since it was going on the deck and it needs to be able to drain. I am not exactly sure why plants need to drain my Mom just always says the plants need a way to drain when they are potted. She doesn’t have a black thumb, quite the opposite in fact (remember this?) so I just do what she says no questions asked.
Then I made the base which was complicated and was going to be awesome! The plan was to… well lets just say it wasn’t the best planned out project ever.
Here is a pic of the wrong thing to do. #epicfail
I needed to take a break after the #epicfail so I could feed my husband some supper and come up with a plan to fix my mistake.
We ate and I brainstormed. Then I made Tim pull out the skill saw and trim down the edges of my bottom piece. The new plan was to just slide the bottom directly in to the planter and have it sit there on its own. Simple, right? Sometimes simple is better. Actually, simple is always better when you are DIYing on the fly!
The 1×2 s are cut down from our garage sale sign posts I picked up for $6 for a pack of 12 at the big Orange Store. The stakes not only attach the bottom fence posts together but also raise the bottom off the ground 3/4 an inch to allow draining. The big gaps in the middle are because the darker middle piece is a 1×4 dog eared cedar fencing was only 5 feet long instead of the six foot, $1.89 1×6 dog eared cedar fencing the rest of the planter is built from. My original complicated #epicfail of a design needed the slimmer width of a 1×4 and I also figured the holes would be good for draining. Complicated, right?
So here is the fixed and slimmed down bottom.
Once it was laid into the planter, it looked great. Simple and great.
And a view to see the drainage. Just 3/4 an inch off the ground and we have drainage!
For more drainage I drilled about a dozen more random 1/8 inch holes through out the bottom boards taking care to not drill through the 1×2 support “legs”
Ana’s plans call for 1×2 stakes to add support on the outside to keep the boards from bowing out from the weight of the dirt. but because we are on a deck I could not stake anything into the ground so I improvised and added a 1×6 on the inside for support.
I plan to cut to size and tack on a 1×2 to the outside of the front for additional support and to cover up the screws from the 1×6 but the kids were nagging me to hurry up and finish so they could get into the pool so I skipped this step and the kids helped me with the fun part.
First rocks. (mom says this is good to do. Saves on dirt and helps drain)
I ended up using two bags for just under $4.
Then garden dirt and peat moss (another tip from green thumbed mom!)
And then we planted the sorriest looking strawberry plants. Poor plants have been waiting 2 weeks to be planted.
Including the fencing, the already used 1×2 stakes, rock, dirt, peat moss and strawberry plants this project totalled just under $35. It was $25 over Ana’s orginal plan of $10 but I still came in way WAY under this $167.99 garden bed or this $449.00 garden bed!
Here’s to hoping that the birds stay away from the berries because of all the constant traffic on the deck and if all goes well maybe I can convince Tim to let me build another for a deck herb garden!