With Betty Carteret and Anna and Torgy Torgersen
“The raised beds that Eric built me are not only great looking but are a great relief for a gardener with arthritic knees. We repurposed leftover siding from the house to build the raised beds, which match the house too. It’s easy to create a little hoop house with netting to deter deer (shown in photo) or floating row cover for heat and weather protection.
“I use cold frames, plastic sheeting, and water in 2 liter plastic bottles to warm up those heat-loving tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. These techniques have worked well for me in the past.”
To keep their ten spaghetti squash vines up off the ground, and growing toward the sunny south, Anna asked Torgy to build two, flat, lath frameworks that had 6 x 6-inch spaces for the squashes to hang through. As the vines grew and flowered, Anna wove them in and out of the lath strips. Developing squashes were tucked down through the holes, but stayed high enough not to touch the soil. When the vines died, 27 squashes were ripe and ready to harvest.
Because hungry deer are a constant problem in our backyard, Torgy constructed an easy-to-remove, hoop house over the raised bed to protect low-growing vegetables like lettuce and greens. He took 1 x 4 lumber, and made a frame that fit over the top of the raised bed. Then he fastened sheep fencing (wire) to one of the long sides of the frame and arched it over to the other side, creating a tunnel. Next, he closed both ends of the tunnel with more fencing. He bent lath strips and attached them to the inside of the tunnel to reinforce it. By placing a stake in the middle of one of the sides of the structure, the hoop house can be tipped to allow the gardener to weed or harvest. In the early spring, Reemay or plastic film could be stretched over the wire to create a cold frame.