Tuesday, March 26, 2019

CITRUS TREE RAISED BEDS BUILT

So the other goal this weekend (other than mowing as I posted yesterday) was to get the three raised beds built for the citrus trees.  Building them is really the hardest part because they become unwieldy as they take shape.

Home Depot lumber
I started the morning (you may have seen this on our Instagram post) at Home Depot and got the boards I needed to do the project.  Love the smell of the lumber department, ha.  I get 8' long boards that are 12" x 2".  They offer free cuts so I have the boards cut in half.  That way two boards give me four pieces to make one 4x4 bed.

Six boards gave me twelve four foot long sections.  I loaded them in the Jeep and headed to the farm.


Here's a fun part.  The last couple of times I have built them, I used my cordless drills.  They work but half the time they aren't fully charged.  When I finally get them charged and use them, the torque is sometimes too much for them and the batteries run down quickly.  So I was thinking to myself that I wished I had a corded drill.  I got the wood unloaded and then I remembered that once upon a time, my Dad had an old drill that he called his standby.  I couldn't remember if we kept it or if it was given away somewhere along the way (he has been gone 17 years now).  I rifled around in his workbench  that I kept, nothing (except his cordless ones).  Then I remembered the bottom drawer of his large red tool cabinet was filled up with tools I hadn't gone through yet.  I opened it, dug around and found this!  

An old JC Penney drill.  

I plugged it in and it worked perfectly.
Thanks Dad!


The last time I built them, I did them on the porch because it was just easier on there I guess.  But then I had to carry them, fully completed, down the stairs and around to the back of the house.  They are heavy when built.  Very heavy.  Since we built those, the last time we had electrical work done, I had an outlet put on the backside of the house.  I almost forgot about it.  Woohoo, I loaded up my cart with the boards, the screws, the brackets and the drill and headed around to the back yard.


We had some extension cords from when we ran lights outside at the house in town to prevent freezing pipes a few years back and so I grabbed those and brought them with me.

Raised bed corner brackets
After I had everything together, I built the beds in the spots where they were going.  I was able to build them and just lay them over and it was done.  

The brackets make this process SO easy.  I never use the screws they come with, instead I buy a box of outdoor rated 'deck screws' so that they don't rust, etc. while out in the elements.

Here is the link to the type of brackets that I have bought on all the raised beds we have:


When I bought them, they were in the off season and the price was about $25 for a set of four (sale).  They are $35 now but maybe you can catch a sale on them.  Still not a bad deal if you consider the wood is the only other expense.
   

I put them in between the other beds, centering them between each row in both directions.  Three fit perfectly and I still have room to mow around them.  

By the way, don't judge me on the grass in the existing beds, ha.  It's actually the "straw" that I put down last Fall, somehow it sprouted!  It's not supposed to do that.  I guess I'm growing some sort of ground cover.  Lucky for me, it pulls up easily.  what you see in each bed are clumps that just pull right out of the soil.  I'm leaving them alone until I come up with an alternative to prevent weeds (thinking of weed block cloth with stones on top).

Raised beds for fruit trees
Here they are finished.  This was the hardest part.  The next part is to buy all the bags of soil to fill the beds.  I turn the soil underneath and smother it with cardboard and then fill with soil and plant the trees.  By the time the roots get down to the ground the soil should be starting to change and allow the roots to penetrate the clay.  The other trees have grown considerably over the last two years they've been in their beds so it's working well so far.

This coming weekend (weather permitting) will be the soil turning and cardboard and then the first weekend in April will be the trees going in.  We have a lemon, a lime and an orange on the porch, all three in full bloom.  Can't wait to get them in their new homes.


The upside now is that they will now be easy to water and with a power outlet nearby, we can string up lights if there is a freeze coming.

23 comments:

  1. new raised beds look great and was going to ask if you used 'deck screws' but you had already mentioned that you had. :) That's the way to go.
    I would suggest once you get all the weeds polled, lay that landscape fabric down as the water will still be able to go through and then lay cypress mulch over the top; but Not right up against the trunks of the trees, in and around.It's non-floating.
    That is soooo cool that you found your dad's old drill and still able to use it. Good for you.

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    1. Yep, he was "with me" for sure, ha. Yes, I have always used the deck screws because I figured outside in the elements we need to have an extra level of help for durability.

      Good idea about mulch. I'll check that out.

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  2. A great blog entry - clear, informative, and a joy to read. Roderick

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  3. I really wish I could plant a citrus tree here in PA! I just got back from Florida where we had a lemon tree outside the home we rented - it was awesome! I am so very jealous!! Annster's Domain

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    1. Hi! Yes, citrus grows well here, outside as long as we don't have a really hard freeze. But I'll be able to keep them protected easier this way.

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  4. Looks great! We have kept our old corded drill also. Sometimes is is absolutely what is needed.

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    1. Right? Even my Dad had mostly cordless, and some nice ones, but sometimes you just need the old way. It was nice to have the power and not having the drill run down or stop while using it.

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  5. Hello--lovely beds. Have been reading your blog for some time now. Am planning to make some raised beds this weekend. Can you tell me where you got the corner brackets for your beds? Have been shopping for some but haven't found what I really want. Thank you, Stephen

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    1. Hello! Great question, I'm sorry I forgot to post it. I got them at either amazon or plow and hearth directly. I have updated the post above to add the link directly to the ones I bought. Hope that helps. They are pricey, but they have lasted for more than 5 years now. I got them on sale but still it's not a bad deal because of house easy they make the process. They come with screws but I bought a huge box of deck screws so I didn't have to worry about the screws failing in the elements. Hope that helps!! Email anytime you have questions. You can also click on "raised beds" over on the side and see earlier postings as I built them through the last few years.

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    2. Thank you, kindly. And best wishes for your birthday. I've just ordered a set.

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  6. Practice makes perfect! All of the things you learned from last time really made this time so much better. They are going to do so well in this location and will be a lot easier to care for.
    Seems like your Dad was giving you a little help - how wonderful that you found his old drill!

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    1. Yes, I told 2nd Man that these went the fastest. I think I have them "down now", ha. Any future raised beds I'll have a routine ready to go ha. Easy to care for is what I'm hoping for.

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  7. heh heh heh, "wood". tools DO make a hard job easier!

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    1. You crack us up, this is why we luv ya! ;-)

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  8. What a great job well done, the trees will be in and thriving very soon.
    The straw would have been wonderful protection for the roots in the cold weather, stones are probably not a good idea as they may transfer heat to the roots and citrus don't like that.
    2nd familie's chickens would love all that green pick from the straw, makes awesome eggs, or you could dig it in the soil before you plant for extra nutrients.

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    1. Fingers (and everything else) crossed, ha. I never thought about the stones, you are right they do get warm in the sun. They sure would look pretty but yeah, probably not a good idea. Thanks! And I will definitely drop it off to 2nd Family for their chickens. They'll love it!

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  9. fyi - looks like wheat straw - let it grow and harvest your own wheat!!

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    1. Really? Wow. Hmm, I'll have to research that. Of course don't want the roots taking up valuable nutrition of the tree, ha.

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  10. It seems like a minor miracle to me to even think of citrus growing in one's yard. Lucky you! Oh, and we still have snow up here. I look forward to pictures of the fruit!

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    1. We're lucky with our weather zone here. We DO have hard freezes from time to time so we'll have to keep an eye on them in the Winter for sure. There will be pics, stay tuned!

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  11. I'm sure you already know, but in case you don't, there are some very good companion plants for purposely putting at the base of your fruit trees to both attract bugs that are GOOD for citrus and to protect them from the bad insects that may prey on them. Here's a link:
    https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/fruits/citrus/citrus-tree-companions.htm

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    1. Oh wow, thank you for this. I've been looking for something that deals with companion planting for fruit trees. I'll have to do something for the other fruit trees once I clean the beds up but when I put in the citrus it would be perfect timing for them. Thanks!

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