Easy to Make Raised Beds!

So I have been on a quest for a couple years to find an easy to make Raised bed. I have tried several different patterns. Used several different materials. First using 4×6 timbers, then using fir and cedar, and  concrete wall block.  I stumbled acr0ss this pattern at the Farmers Market. One of the booths had these for sale in several colors and a couple of different types of wood.

After a little investigation I found that these beds where easy to build, easy to assemble, and best of all inexpensive. Not only are they easy to build but replacing a worn out section is simple. Each 8ft beds take 3 2″ x 8″ x8′ and four 8″  galvanized spikes.  The wood should be untreated pine or oak. I used pine because it was easy to obtain and work with, but for longer lasting beds oak would be better. I would not use treated wood, the salt used to cure this would can leach and effect growth in the garden and enter the food you are growing.

Tools you might need: an electric hand drill, and 1/2″ drill bit, a box saw, a skil saw, a measuring tape, a square, a pencil, gloves,  1 1/4″ bit, a hammer, and rubber mallet.


Power Tools

I have included a video that may be helpful in making cuts and assembly. The pattern is easy. You measure each board to lenght. In the video I am make 48″ square beds, but 8ft beds require the exact same cuts.  A squre bed uses two board instead of three.Then measure in from the end 1 1/2″ then measure 3 5/8″  to the center of the board. Connect the lines When cut the result would be an L. Repeat on both ends of the board. When complete the board would look like a T. Repeat on all four of the boards.

Once all four boards are cut set them together so overlaps are alternating and you have a square.  At this point you may need help holding the boards to drill holes in the corners.  The bit will not reach all the way throught the boards unless it is 8″ or longer. If this happens drill all the corners, when finished drill the unfinished hole the rest of the way through. Take the spikes and place in the corners to check fit. They should come a little over 1/2″ out of the bottom. Disassemble and move to the final location.  Start to finish about 30 to 45 min.

Till next time good Gardening!


Posted in Gardening, June 2012 | Leave a comment

Ten things to Remember For a Hot Memorial Day Weekend!

These are ten must haves for the Holiday weekend. Whether it is the beach, pool, or a backyard cookout, success can hinge on taking these items with you.

So here is you Top Ten List of must Holiday haves:

1) Suncreen is by far the most important thing to take. With the heat reaching
the nineties across the country having sunscreen will ensure you don’t get
the sunburn blues.
2: Bug Spray. Inscect repellant is an easy number two. All the creepy crawlies
will be out in force. Keeping the bugs away will let you play even if this heat
3: Water. Lots of cool refreshing water. Beverages abound but the most
important fluid to take in when it is hot is water. A cooler with water is a
must for an outdoor trip.
4: Cash. The lines at the ATM are bound to be long. The credit card machines
often fritz, but cash always spends. This may lead to a little less frustration
on this holiday.
5: Time. Extra time it will Take to get anywhere it will!(Star Wars is 35 years old
it is!
6: Gas. Fill it up you never know where a traffic jam may occur! Running out
without a pump in sight would be a disaster! An extra five minutes to fill it up
would avoid running out when it counts.
7: Snacks. When traveling snack in the bag can be a life saver. Along with
water, these little treats cn be a life saver especially if you have kids in a car,
in a traffic jam!
8: Wipes. Baby wipes can be a life saver for a mess; especially with no
bathroom in sight.
9: First Aid Kit. Some band-aides, antibiotic cream, ice pack, and pain reliever.
Basics in virtually all minor boo-boo situations.
10: Fun!!!! Have some and keep it light, take picture so you can remember for
years to come. It is after all MEMORIAL DAY!

Till next time good Gardening!!

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Fun Day at the Somerset Pasture Party!

Girls like Tractor"s TOO!

Here are some picture from Last Fall at the Somerset Pasture Party! Keep this in Mind for Family fun Next October!

Pirate Cowgirl's!

Steam tractor's are really Big!

This is fun to be had by all. This year I hope to get some video of some of the kool demonstrations! The kids will enjoy the tractors the tractor ride and food! The mud couldn’t keep the smiles away!


Riding the tractor train!




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Top Ten Garden Buys for Valentines Day!

Do you have an avid gardener in your life? Do they have the cold weather blues right now? Well Valentine’s Day gives you a chance to give the a gift to get your snuggle bunny through his /or her winter blues. So go for a less traditional gift and get valentine something they can use for years to come. They will smile everything they go out to cultivate there garden.


So here they are ten top ideas for Valentine’s Day:


1) A nice set of Gardening gloves. These have gotten expensive in the last couple years. I go through six to ten pairs a year, while this is on the high side, a new pair is always welcome.


2) Seeds! Has the gardener in your life mentioned a unique or rare fruit or vegetable they might like to grow? This is your chance to get it for them.


3) A nice new Hat. I have a big head and find it hard to find a nice hat that I can use in the garden. I am often reluctant to buy then for myself. This would be the perfect time to get one for your spouse .


4) A good pair of  gardening shears. These could be a nice item to buy someone with fruit trees, or roses. I like the ones with replaceable blades.


5) A new fruit tree or two. This is the time of years to plant trees especially the fruiting kind. Brighten up the drab spot in the garden with a great new tree. The flowers are great, the fresh fruit even better.


6) A Gift card to their favorite Garden center. Yes gift cards can be impersonal, but the extra cash these days when moneys is tight is great when you are trying to get the garden going.


7) Tulips! or other early season flowers. You can buy them at a Garden center now; to get you through till the ones you planted last fall show this spring.


8) Quick release hoes fittings. My wife loves these. No longer does she have to struggle with twisting the hoses together to make them longer. Just click and go.


9) A new bird feeder or bird bath. They make great accents to any outdoor space.


10)   Sign them up for a class. This could be a great way to broaden their horizons, and surprise them with something they are interested in.


Good Luck and Happy Valentine’s Day!

Posted in February 2012 | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Happy Leap Year!!!

Hope to get good use out tof the extra day this Year!

Posted in January 2012 | Leave a comment

10 Hot Ways to enjoy Your Fall Lawn.

So we all get wrapped up in the rat race and often forget the fun we can have in our own backyard. As much of the country has been ravaged by one disaster or another. The backyard may be the retreat that we are looking to enjoy. So here are my to Ten ways to enjoy Your Lawn this fall:

1) Have BBQ with family and friends. This is a great way to take the stress off of the whole group. Who doesn’t like cool air and fresh delights hot off the grill with a tasty beverage or too.

2) Volleyball! Yes is the delight of most of my family picnics a fun way to spend time in last of the warm weather.

3) Gardening! Now that the heat here in central Va has relented The morning stay pleasant till noon or later. The evening air has even become brisk. So garden away.

4) Make some SMORES. Yes break out the fire pit , the aluminium and the all the other fixings and enjoy this snack with kid on a brisk fall evening.

5) Stargaze! Turn out the light listen to the crickets and the kids and look at the stars. Clear fall skys can make for the best stargazing and good family time.

6) Play a game! Bocci ball, lawn darts, croquet, to name few of the games to  play with the kids.

7) Play with your pets! Now that the heat has gone away your dog may enjoy a good game of fetch.

8) Go Barefoot! Some studies say the less we wear on our feet the better we may feel. So shed to shoes and socks and stroll around in that freshly cut grass. Yes you may find paradise in your back backyard.

9) Read! Yes read turn off the TV, the computer/pad, and absolutely the phone. Go low tech and pick-up a real book(one with spine and pages). Find a cozy chair, hammock, or throw a blanket on the ground and chill worst case scenario you get a great nap.

10) Mow! Yes some of us get the most pleasur from taking care of our yards. I love to mow my grass, the smell, the look and yes the feel on my tootsies.

Till next time good gardening!

Posted in September 2011 | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Rainwater Gardening in Irene’s Wake!

So many of use had a scare this week with the first major storm on the East Coast of the season. Irene has left her mark with flooding down trees and widespread power outages. We have had a lively week in Central Virginia. First we had an Earthquake with has left Many Louisa County residents with damage or displaced kids. With schools closed till the 12th of September, we are trying to find ways to entertain our kids for this unexpected break. The future of some of the older schools is doubtful, with expectations of middle school and high school students having to do weekend and evening school for the rest of the year.

So you can imagine our horror when we found that the hurricane was going to make land fall in the Commonwealth. Last hurricane left us powerless her for 11 days with heat in the 90’s the whole time. It was not pleasant. We lost all the food in our freezer and our fridge. The area lost countless trees and flood damage left many high and dry.

I am pleased to say we got off easy this time. We had a near miss with Irene knocking at the door, though our brother sister,family and friends in th Tidewater Area were not so lucky. Our thoughts go out to those who have had to use shelters to make it though and wish them well as they rebuild. To those in other coastal areas along the east coast I wish them a speedy recovery.

On to the meat of the bird. As I have written over the last year I have been working on a new rainwater garden. This one was 6000 sq ft. We are 90 percent done withthe project. We will be planting some trees later this month, some flowers and some more ornamental grass.

The name of the project was “Cascading Pools”.  Yes the first question many will ask is where is the water. So I will go ahead and answer that question now.  It  is in the ground in three large holding tanks. The three tanks have a holding capacity just shy of 3000 gallons and operate separately to water the garden which is broken into four tiers. The goal being that the garden is more and more natural as you travel from top to bottom.

In the garden is a natural rock wall which has been use to divide the steeper upper area, and level the ground.  This is a dry lay application fully drained and finished with a polymer sand on top. The wall represents the better part of 6 monthesof work. This is longest over all natural stone wall that we have built at close to 200 feet  in overall length.

The project will hopefully inspire future uses of rainwater capture and how to depart from rain barrels and water efficiently wi little environmental impact. Every rainwater garden in that much less stress we put on local resources.  While you do not have to dream this big when you do your garden and rain water applications can be much smaller this was done to make an impact to be shown what can be done if you put you mind to it.

If you are building or are a builder, and architect, or a landscape designer, design fearlessly. Technology has caught up and we can do it if we try. It may cost a lot for a while and there will be bugs but the payoff is a guiltless mind about the consumption of water. Water will define us over the next century. Simply without it we can not survive. If use efficientlya garden can survive even a month of  drought. So on to the pictures. First this project and for dessert some pictures of last years project in full summer bloom.




Looking up the hill.

Looking up the hill.


A Rainwater tank before burying.

A Rainwater tank before burying.


Before grading and planting.

Before grading and planting.


Top view of the Garden

Top view of the Garden


The wall stepping up the hill

The wall stepping up the hill


Bring the walls together.

Bring the walls together.


The walls in parallel

The walls in parallel



Antique-Kierney up close

Antique-Kierney up close


Now some pictures of  lst years garden after planting.


Bluestone steps.

Bluestone steps.


The wall wrapping around.

The wall wrapping around.


The Bubble Rock fountain

The Bubble Rock fountain


The Bluestone patio.

The Blue stone patio.

More pictures to come!

Till next time good gardening!


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Summer Blooms

Today I have some pictures of flowers I have taken this summer I hope you enjoy:

Blue Clematis

Blue Clematis


white clematis

White Clematis


Purple Foxglove

Purple Foxglove


Ioth Peonies

Ioth Peonies

Next up pictures of the new Rainwater garden I have been working on.
Till next time good gardening!
Posted in August 2011 | Tagged | Leave a comment

Top ten reasons to Pedestrians the Right of Way

So I venting today. I travel around my humble town of Charlottesville taking care of lawns, and I get in and out of my trunk between 15 and 25 times in a day. I always look in the mirror before exit. If the window is down I will look back to check for cars. I have been hit. I was back over in a parking lot three year ago. It at low speed hurt like hell. I can’t imagine what 25 or 30mph would feel like.

Today on exit from my truck I had a near miss. The mirror within 6 inches of my face as the SUV passed and honked at me for my trouble. So today I am compiling a the top ten reasons You should give pedestrians the right of way and be kind to those on foot. The driver of the SUV got an ear full for his trouble. He was luck it could have been much worse. Top ten reasons to give pedestrians the right of way:

1) People walking or running  in a crosswalk or crossing the street, standing by a car or on a sidewalk have the right of way it is the Law.

2) Car vs person bad for person and your wallet. A lawsuit and insurance filings are sure to follow. Jail if the person is kill due to you negligence.

3) If you speed through a work zone the fines can be very high and even jail time if some one is hurt. Locally a college student lost a scholarship, was dismissed from school and went on a state sponsored vacation for her trouble. Silly VDOT employee, thinking his reflective vest and white reflective hard hat would protect him.

4) Losing your license will suck.

5) Blood is hard to get out of  your leather soft top!

6)You will ruin your Day!

7) You will definitely ruin the Pedestrians Day!

8) Your cell phone has call waiting and caller ID!

9) You will still get there!

10) Because it is the RIGHT THING TOO DO!

Till next time good gardening!

Posted in Community Interest, July 2011 | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Quick Release Hose Connectors

So I have been excited about these since seeing them on “The Shark Tank” on NBC. I at once thought what a great invention. Having been a avid gardener most of my life I can’t tell you how many times I have fought with my hoses.

 We all want to get good use out of our hoses. Hoses are not cheap and the longer they last the better. I have found the quick releases to help will the life of the hoses we use. They are less likely to crimp or knot restricting  the flow of the water. These crimping points weaken the hose over time and lead to holes and leaks.

The main improvement that these connectors afford is the ease of changing your hoses around. I can disconnect all of my hoses(5 to 10 @100ft) move them in 5 minutes. Before I would hate to do this. I would rather roll the dice and try to miss them with the mower than fight with them connecting and disconnecting them.

I have tried several types to this point. The first is produced by Gilmore, the second produce by Orbit and the third by Ground works. These can be found at you favorite box or farm supply store. All of the connectors I tested were metal. Some were brass others anodized aluminium. So far all work equally well. The only hitch I have found is with the aluminium fittings is they are harder to remove from the ends of brass hose ends. This is only a problem if having to replace a hose. Otherwise all work great and save a lot of time twisting to connect hoses.

The other plus to less crimping, and faster connecting, is less loss of water. I have found less over all leakage, which is great when you are trying to save water. The clean connections in the fittings instead if the threads in the hose ends leads to less cross threading which is a common reason for loss of water.

So over all I give a huge thumbs up to the Quick connectors for garden hoses. I have not tried the plastic connectors yet. I will let you know as soon as I try them.

Till next time good gardening!

Posted in Gardening, July 2011 | Tagged , , | Leave a comment