Lo-Cust Raised Beds? Part III

Hope the title’s word play is obvious – locust, ‘lo-cust’ and ‘low cost’. My wife wasn’t picking up on that association, which leads me to believe many readers were equally puzzled. Oh well, it was worth a try. Looking for opaqueness? – come to the Carpentry Way.

The three planting beds are done and in, and I thought I’d share a last set of of pics. Here they are:

As you can see, one of the beds has some hoops mounted on it:

In a few days, after I’ve placed the rest of the soil in the empty bed, I’ll place hoops on that one as well, leaving the first bed I made without hoops. The hoops will allow for convenient placement of shade cloth, insect netting, and frost protection late in the year to extend the growing season. The shade cloth should reduce the bolting we’ve been experiencing with lettuce and arugula, etc..

The hoops I made from 1/2″ galvanized EMT, bent on a wooden form at my shop and fastened to the sides of the beds with some wooden locust cleats using stainless square drive screws:

The single screw at the bottom of the cleat goes through the channel and into the bed side board, serving as a stop for the EMT to rest upon. The groove in the cleat is made slightly shallow so that then the cleat is screwed down it squeezes the tubing tightly, thus precluding any wind-born adventures with the hoop house.

The most recently-made bed sits in the foreground:

The paths between the beds are getting covered with locust planer shavings from the build. The soil filling the beds is a composted organic loam produced at a farm about 10 minute’s away from my house, which I picked up in my truck for $34/yard. My truck can carry a yard and a half without complaint. The two beds with hoops are also getting a plastic mulch cover, visible on the bed to the left in the above picture, which keeps the weeding to a minimum, reduces water consumption drastically, and warms the soil which is good for the plants which will be going in the bed. That mulch I obtained from Johnny’s Organic Seeds in Maine.

I discovered today that the variety of basil I wanted to get, ‘Pesto Perpetuo’ suffered a complete crop failure in New Hampshire, so I had to order some from Oregon. It was hard to find. Unlike most basil, the ‘perpetuo’ variety does not produce flowers and thus grows steadily all year. Believe me, pulling flowers off of basil on a daily basis, when you have a lot of it growing, get’s old after a while. I’m trying to make the garden low water use and low maintenance. We’ll see how it goes, as I am far from experienced when it comes to gardening. Ya learn as you go, and the only way forward it seems is to make the mistakes and try something better next time. Kinda like woodwork I suppose, only more slowly evolving as a project.

This weekend I’m off to Manhattan to see the gallery opening of a project I have been collaborating on, and looking forward to having some city time. Next week I’m planning to head up to Maine to check out some exotic hardwoods at a company there, which should allow for obtaining the rest of the stock required for the mizuya project. It’s been on the backburner for a while, but I have an opening in my schedule so I’m intending to get it going soon.

Hope you have yourself a great weekend – naw, scratch that: make it a great weekend!

5 thoughts on “Lo-Cust Raised Beds? Part III

  1. Hi Chris,
    Could you leak a little more info about that mysterious opening in Manhattan?
    Harlan Barnhart

  2. Later is cool. I might find time to cruise on over to Manhattan some saturday to check out your work.
    Harlan Barnhart

  3. Hi Chris –

    Good to know I wasn't the only one that was stumped by “lo-cust”. Could you share your source for black locust? Thanks.


  4. Mark,

    thanks for letting me know about your, er, stumpage.

    The company I buy locust from is called “A Black Locust Connection” and is located in Colrain, MA. Just a google and click away.


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