Sunday, October 27, 2013

Dan's GREAT 40x4x4 Raised Beds, Ft Myers Area

This post is SO late!

And I owe HUGE apologies to Dan, the builder of these awesome raised beds!  How do I begin to apologize for a nearly 4-month delay??

These pictures were all taken in July.  July, I say.

Over the past few months we've had multiple internet access difficulties and technical problems.  While the moment is ripe, I'm GOING to post these pics that should have been posted in JULY.

In July, we cobbled together the finances to get a piece of equipment that, we hope, will allow us to clear some of the land without the need for renting the big machines.  We'll eventually have to do that, but it's very costly.  Every now and then we'll do a craigslist search of certain items on our Needs list to see if there's a real bargain to be had.  Riding mowers, bush hogs, tractors and the like are still out of our range even on craigslist.  But under Brushcutters, we found a listing for an old walk-behind with an older German engine and never-used replacement blade.  The price was right so we made the drive to Ft. Myers to see a man named Dan.  He really didn't want to sell, but needed to, and after Jack checked it out the deal was done and we loaded it up.

It had begun to rain.

Little did we know it would not stop raining pretty much for the next three months.

Here's a pic of the brush cutter.  We put $100 or so of repair into it, just what Dan had told us it would need to keep on keeping on.  It was an incredible deal for something that cut like a mini-bush hog that new would have been priced in the four digits and well out of our range.

In chatting we found out Dan was a farmer most of his life and now where he lives he's still growing enough food to put up a prodigious amount for fresh and freezer.  We had brought him cuttings of moringa and chaya, and even though it was raining, we really wanted to see the raised beds he had mentioned building.  In the drizzle and the soppy field, this glorious sight awaited:

These are his 40 foot long and 4 foot wide, 4 feet high raised beds.  I mean there are raised beds and then there are THESE...this one is obviously about to be spread with another layer of fertilizer.

They were simply beautiful!  But that's not all.  In these pics, they are between harvests.  Dan raises starts of whatever will go here first and then plants them.  But they are designed like big 40 foot long grow pots.  You know those all-in-one containers that have food, water, soil, all in a kit?  He did just that, but on a bigger scale.

Down inside these beds, they are angled with a water reservoir (if I understand correctly) and moisture barriers where water and wood don't need to touch.  It's designed to drain efficiently without water waste, and has a built in drip system, all put on a timer.  You plant, set the timer, and do other things.  Lest the photos look out of proportion, these beds came up to my waist!  The posts alongside are there for support, and the beds are designed to alleviate a lot of bending when planting and harvesting.  I just really loved the innovation and detail in these!  It's a whole garden, even though there was an in-ground garden just beyond them.
Here Dan is kind enough to pose in the rain with his handiwork.  His full freezer of every kind of vegetable attests to the success he's had with this system.  It's especially worthwhile because in Florida summers the weather can be anything from drought to deluge.  These beds really make for more accessibility and are so useful.

When asked if he builds for others, he stated he certainly would, from ground up to finished product, for a very fair price.  In a state with a large elderly population and variable weather, and huge suburban areas, I can imagine just one of these huge raised beds, designed to be mostly hands-off as far as maintenance and watering, would go far to feed a family.  I have Dan's permission to list his phone number here in case anyone within driving distance of Ft Myers, Florida, would be interested in contacting him for more information about having one, or more, built.

Dan:  239-785-9329

Please call him...these are so worth seeing and having more built!

1 comment:

Practical Parsimony said...

Those beds are magnificent! I like the height. One would be all I needed to eat and freeze or dehydrate to last a whole year. Well, it would keep me busy putting it up.