Wow, you guys. I was all prepared to create a beautiful, step-by-step guide to building a raised bed to share with you as part of my "new garden to-do list" series. Here's how you cut the wood, here's how you attach the planks, and here's the perfectly square, level masterpiece you have at the end, ready to receive dirt, seeds, and seedlings, ready to feed and be fed by you.
But instead, Rob and I spent last Saturday sweating and swearing as the simple (ha!) act of putting a screw into a piece of wood turned into a "whytheheckisn'tthisworking?!" marathon event.
See, we wanted 12" high beds, giving us room for carrots and good deep roots for our other crops. But our Home Depot didn't have any untreated 2x12 planks, so we bought 2x4s and 2x8s to screw into rectangular boxes, stack, and attach to stakes to anchor the whole thing.
Good plan, but the execution flummoxed us. The 2x4s were so tough, the 3 1/2" screws just wouldn't grab. Pilot holes got bigger, but the screws still stripped and crunched. Different drill bits - even a different drill! - were deployed, but the same maddening frustration stopped those screws each time.
In the end, it was by sheer brawn and force of will that the beds got built. They're square-ish, level-ish, and most importantly, finished! Some of them have chopped off screws that only made it halfway in, but we're calling that part of their charm.
The whole project held a couple of lessons. The first is that perfectionism has no place in the garden. Whether you're dealing with fragile roots or planks made from former trees, this is nature we're up against, and the perfection of nature is in its unpredictable variability, not its uniform consistency.
The other lesson was in perseverance - when you are working toward something, random, unsolvable obstacles often leap up at you. But if the thing is really worth working towards, you keep at it, until, if you'll forgive me, you're fully screwed.
And meanwhile, meet the results of what we're now calling "Operation Good Enough."
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