Have you ever spied another garden and had jealousy? Of course you have. Towering tomatoes, curly kale, eggplant dripping from nearly breaking branches … the grass is always greener, right?
My jealousy tends to center around structures within the garden, whether it’s the garden proper—a shed, a tool box, a tool organizer—or within the garden plot itself. My garden neighbors’ trellises and cold frames are what I covet the most, because extending the growing season and lifting vines off the ground would really help boost my harvest.
Well, my life and garden are about to get a lot craftier. I received a review copy of a new book entitled Build a Better Vegetable Garden: 30 DIY Projects to Improve Your Harvest. Put together by a British gardeners Joyce and Ben Russell, the book covers a wide range of projects—from the aforementioned cold frames and trellises to a boot brush tool, basket planters and apple storage trays. There are even plans for a drying cabinet, in which you can place slices of fruit or veggies to dehydrate!
If you’re new to DIY projects requiring tools, wood and the appropriate skills to assemble it all together, do not fret. The first 25 or so pages is dedicated to tool review and the basics of measuring, cutting, trimming, drilling and all those other assorted terms. It’s definitely worth the read if you are new to build things from scratch.
If you’re new, you’ll want to pay particular notice to a handy feature listed with each project. In the upper corner of the page is an indication of level of difficulty and hour many hours the project takes. I just turned to the Simple Cloches project and the difficulty level is a 1 out of 10, with an estimated 1-hour completion time. Also listed with each project are materials you will need to complete the project, required tools, step-by-step instructions for making the project, alternatives or add-ons for the projects, and tips on how to use it. Where appropriate, the authors include gardening tips or techniques. I’ve even seen a recipe or two!
Thumbing through the book to see which projects to complete this year, I’ve found myself taken back to when I’d pick out penny candy from the local corner store when I was a kid. “I’ll have that one, and that one, and two of those …” But to be practical, I’ll start with the A-shaped bean/pea frame and the bean support. And maybe the fine mesh-fitted frame top for my raised carrot bed. Now I just need the growing season to start!