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Your Very Own Garden

idim5It’s a good time for do-it-yourself projects. How-to information abounds—in print, online, at retailers, from friends—so that even the most novice do’ers can learn how to accomplish small, low-budget projects with a little inspiration and guidance. Here, Central Virginia HOME showcases local projects that just may inspire you to “do it yourself.”

Tommy Nelson’s “kitchen garden” is a great example of a do-it-yourself project that is not only manageable but also useful and earth-friendly to boot. Tommy owns Thomas Nelson Furniture Restoration in Phenix, and he and his wife Ann wanted freshly home-grown vegetables to eat, can and freeze—and they wanted it to be easy (relatively speaking). While they happen to have the space to accomplish this project on a large scale—20 garden beds, to be exact—a single bed would also bring bounty and beauty to any backyard. “The garden is near the house, so we can enjoy its beauty as well as its products,” says Tommy. The Nelsons’ garden features crops from all seasons.

idim1Tommy says that creating each bed is roughly a two-day project. “I build the box and paint the outside and top edge on the first day,” he explains. “The second day I fill the box with conditioned soil and plant.” Because of the scope of the project, he had a load of topsoil delivered to the garden site. He calculates the cost of a single bed to be around $80. Extra costs could include landscape fabric, which he used to keep weeds at bay, as well as a watering system; these can be added at any time.

To build the boxes, Tommy used untreated pine, available at any local building supplier, in sizes of 2 x 8 or 2 x 10, cut to fit his specifications. He suggests that boxes “should measure to the even foot on the inside, to allow you to plant seeds on a square-foot grid.” He kept the inside width of his boxes to 4 feet to allow for easy access on either side of the bed.

idim41If you are considering your own raised bed garden, Tommy suggests choosing a site that is level and has room for expansion—“even if you say one is enough.” He says, “The taste of the veggies from the conditioned soil is incredible.”

Have you completed a do-it-yourself project that has improved your home or garden? Tell us how you did it! Send the details of your home and garden project to with “I Did It Myself” in the subject line. Please include your name, phone number, email, and if possible, high resolution photographs, and we’ll be in touch!

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