My husband and I moved into our house four years ago this summer. When we moved in it became very obvious that the previous owner was in a wheelchair because of some of the modifications done to our home (and the neighbors telling us their life story helped as well). The entrance to our house requires you to walk up some steps, but because we have an attached garage the previous owners installed about a 10 foot long wheelchair ramp extending from the kitchen door entrance to the side of the garage.
One of the first improvements we did to our home was to tear out the ramp to save space (our garage is actually made to hold 2 1/2 cars, but you lose the ability to hold that ever so important 1/2 car with the ramp in there). We threw the ramp in the back yard in the fall of 2003 and it has set there collecting thistle and potato bugs ever since. Having all that wood at the hands of two packrats/procrastinators is a dangerous thing. The first few months were met with our insistence that "we'll make something when Spring rolls around". Up until a few hours ago it was still sitting in the yard.
I've been flirting with the idea of raised vegetable beds for a while. The reason they most appealed to me is that it required no tilling, and I hate yard work or any hard labor really. The odd thing about me, though, is that I love building stuff.
So after running my idea past the husband, thinking that he would brush it off as another one of my "wouldn't it be nice but I'll never do it" conversations, but instead he agreed that it was a splendid idea. Shit. That meant I actually had to do it.
This is the ramp sitting with garbage on top of it in our back yard:
(The kiddie pool used to belong to the dog)
This is our son being more helpful and slightly less drunk than Ty Pennington:
Here is the ramp moved to its new home, in full sun, in a really bumpy part of our yard. This mofo was heavy. I removed the plywood pieces (which were the actual ramp) and threw them in the new, improved, smaller
junk pile. I will probably call them "compost" but really it means they are just going to rot in the yard. That weird big chunk of wood was removed after a lot of effort on my part, and tons of brawn on the son's part
Over the Winter our back screen door flew off the hinges, and the glass popped out (it gets really windy here). Since I had been saving the glass for "some kind of project", I decided that maybe, just maybe, it would fit over the ramp. Voila! We have a small greenhouse for my seedlings. The glass is not fastened down in any way, so it can easily move between sections. The end of the ramp where the wood is cut diagonally would probably be a good place to secure the glass section premanently, or do something else interesting. I haven't really decided what the best use of it is yet, but I'm sure there'll be some sort of divine intervention to help me out. Check out the lower right corner of the glass piece- it's one of those $5000 reward guard dog stickers. I'm thinking of keeping it on there.
I still have to put more soil in the other sections, and plant the seeds. But I'm feeling pretty damn satisfied. The project took about one hour to do. The next step for this puppy (other than filling it out with dirt & plants) is to take the blue kiddie pool, bore a hole into the side that can be plugged and unplugged, and then attach a long piece of PVC pipe with holes drilled into it and run it over the length of the vegetable bed. My husband calls this a sistern. I'm going to call it an irrigation system. Either way, we are not paying for water to water our plants. I had wanted to put a 50 gallon drum underneath each of our downspouts to use for water collection, until I realized that our downspouts run underground and empty in the street.