Urban Garden

Here is how two Earth Center volunteers made an urban garden out of old material. It is a good design for students with limited land looking to garden while keeping Kingston squirrels away from your produce. It is a protected garden but the design makes access to your plants slightly less convenient.

Completed urban garden

Completed urban garden

Materials used:

  • an old table
  • 4 2×4 size-ish pieces of wood
  • nails
  • chicken wire
  • starter plants from the farmer’s market or local nursery
  • dried tea leaves
  • potting soil
  • as many pots as desired
  • string
  • alligator clips

Part 1 – Making the frame:

  1. Locate an old table, we were able to find many on the corner of people’s houses come move-out day at the university
  2. Acquire some pieces of wood that can be nailed to the table you found earlier. We found that the wood from a pallet found in a dumpster behind a business worked well!
  3. From the wood you have acquired, choose the best 4 pieces that are maybe 0.8-1 m long. Alternatively you can nail 2 smaller pieces together to make a longer piece. Consider that these pieces will form the posts on each corner of your garden.
  4. Using 3 nails per post at least, nail to pieces of wood to the corners of your table such that they form vertical posts. It should look like as if the posts you have nailed could be the legs of the table if it were flipped upside down.
  5. Strategically place nails along the posts and bottom edge of the table that stick out about 2 cm. Something like 2-3 evenly spaced nails along the length of each post and 2-3 evenly spaced nails per side/edge of the table. The idea here is to provide anchoring nails for the chicken wire you will add next.

Part 2- Adding the wire:

  1. Look at the table so that you are looking down its width and not its length, considering that a table is longer than it is wide. The side you are looking at will be the side you access your garden by. While anchoring one edge of the wire (trailing edge) to a nail both on the table and the post at your left, wrap the other edge (leading edge) of chicken wire taut around the other 3 posts being sure to leave extra at the bottom to wrap under the table and anchor to the nails you have placed earlier. The leading edge of the wire should just reach a nail on the post the trailing end is anchored to such that it requires a small effort to anchor onto. Be sure to leave extra wire on the end i.e. wrap the wire around say 1.1 times the perimeter of the table. The wire should now be wrapped snugly around the posts on all sides while having an exposed top
  2. Nail the table-nails that you have anchored your chicken wire to on the edges of the table completely into the table to secure the wire in place. Do not do this for the side you are using as your access as you will want the wire to un-anchor when you are accessing the garden
  3. Take some more chicken wire and lay it over the top of your construction. Have it drape over the wire you have already placed and “fuse” the two pieces together using string along the entire edge.
  4. You should now have a table with a top encompassed entirely by chicken wire.
  5. To have access to the plants contained within, you will be folding back the leading edge of the chicken wire you anchored in step 1 of part 2. When not in use, you can secure the leading edge to the trailing edge using easy to remove alligator clips.
  6. Pot your plants and place them inside the mesh garden!
  7. As a bonus, we got a garbage bag of old used tea from David’s Tea and used it as mulch for the pots. It is essential for helping the plants retain moisture in hot summers!

Good Luck!

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