Building my (1st) run/coop and garden beds. Follow along.

Happy Novogens

formerly Gimpy Quail
9 Years
Aug 21, 2014
927
3,756
396
outskirts of Phx, AZ
Finally taking the leap and building a chicken run/coop along with some raised garden beds.

Thought I'd share the journey and hope to get suggestions, cautions, etc. along the way.

We are near Phoenix, AZ... so it does get very HOT here! The plan is to get 2 or 3 Buff Orpington hens!

Here's the 10' x 20' frame I just put up for the chicken run. My plan is to have an open-ish coop inside. We have to frame in one end of the run. The other end will frame with a screen door.
Plan to have hardware mesh around bottom portion graduating up to chicken wire on the roof.


I also am in the process of building 3 elevated and raised garden beds. I've completed the sides and frames.
Almost done with the "floors" -- using old pallets for that.

It's been so hot out that I've only been working on them after the sun goes down. We'll have to plumb a water line out to both the chicken run and the gardens. We have to pull from the far side of our arsenic filter since our well water is high in arsenic. Figured we don't want to water our edible veggies or eggs with bad water. Once we've got water there, then I'll also be able to setup a mister for the chickens.
 

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Ordered hardware mesh and chicken wire for wrapping the frame. Got me thinking about the avian flu and how to keep wild birds from sitting on the top and having their droppings fall inside the run.

Anyone have any ideas? Covering with any plastic is not a possibility. We get occasional high winds and also dust devils. Anything with plastic will blow away. {We had a steel frame (to shade our car) with a tarp over it -- a kit from Costco. We had 8 concrete footers for it. A wind gust came and ripped the footers right out of the ground.}
 
Last night I finished getting all the floors cut for the 3 beds.
Today I plan to "paint" the floor pallets with linseed oil.

I don't exactly follow what you are planning here with your garden beds. It appears to me that you are making an elevated garden bed, off the ground, as compared to a raised bed which would be built from the ground up. I mention this because I have both raised beds built up from the ground and also elevated garden beds/planters which are on legs and there is no ground contact.

My elevated garden beds/planters are 2 feet X 4 feet. When filled with potting soil, they are much too heavy for me to move. My concern - your elevated beds with pallet bottoms appear to be much bigger than my setup. I would be concerned about your bottom boards falling out from the weight of the soil in the planter. Especially considering it appears that you have your main floor on the bottom of the pallet, where the holding power of the nails/screws would be much less strong that if you placed the pallets the other way, so the floor boards were on top of the pallet. I see you have everything up on cement blocks, so maybe it will be strong enough for the distance it spans. I'm just saying that it will get very heavy when filled with potting soil.

Another consideration is water. In my elevated beds/planters, I have a rubber liner on the bottom so that it holds 3 inches of water. My system is actually a complete sub irrigated setup. But, point is, if you just let all the water drain through your elevated bed, it will dry out in no time, especially if you live in a hot climate. If you can put in a shallow waterproof liner before you fill it with soil, you might have an easier time with watering the planter.

Recommend you check out this YouTube video for the concepts of sub-irrigated elevated garden beds before you fill your setup with soil. I know the clip is about 30 minutes long, but that time might be well spent if it helps you save hours and hours of rebuilding or redesigning your current setup.


Let me just add that my sub-irrigated elevated planter out produces all my other garden beds. It costs more to build up front, but saves me lots of time in reduced watering. In a normal growing season with average rainfall, I only have to refill my sub-irrigated planter maybe once or twice a month. Compare that to regular planters, with drain holes in the bottom, that need to be watered maybe 2X-3X per week.

Whatever you decide, I applaud you for designing your chicken coop and run around your garden. It just makes so much sense. Use that chicken manure and bedding to make compost for your gardens and reap the rewards!
 
I don't exactly follow what you are planning here with your garden beds. It appears to me that you are making an elevated garden bed, off the ground, as compared to a raised bed which would be built from the ground up. I mention this because I have both raised beds built up from the ground and also elevated garden beds/planters which are on legs and there is no ground contact.

My elevated garden beds/planters are 2 feet X 4 feet. When filled with potting soil, they are much too heavy for me to move. My concern - your elevated beds with pallet bottoms appear to be much bigger than my setup. I would be concerned about your bottom boards falling out from the weight of the soil in the planter. Especially considering it appears that you have your main floor on the bottom of the pallet, where the holding power of the nails/screws would be much less strong that if you placed the pallets the other way, so the floor boards were on top of the pallet. I see you have everything up on cement blocks, so maybe it will be strong enough for the distance it spans. I'm just saying that it will get very heavy when filled with potting soil.

Another consideration is water. In my elevated beds/planters, I have a rubber liner on the bottom so that it holds 3 inches of water. My system is actually a complete sub irrigated setup. But, point is, if you just let all the water drain through your elevated bed, it will dry out in no time, especially if you live in a hot climate. If you can put in a shallow waterproof liner before you fill it with soil, you might have an easier time with watering the planter.

Recommend you check out this YouTube video for the concepts of sub-irrigated elevated garden beds before you fill your setup with soil. I know the clip is about 30 minutes long, but that time might be well spent if it helps you save hours and hours of rebuilding or redesigning your current setup.


Let me just add that my sub-irrigated elevated planter out produces all my other garden beds. It costs more to build up front, but saves me lots of time in reduced watering. In a normal growing season with average rainfall, I only have to refill my sub-irrigated planter maybe once or twice a month. Compare that to regular planters, with drain holes in the bottom, that need to be watered maybe 2X-3X per week.

Whatever you decide, I applaud you for designing your chicken coop and run around your garden. It just makes so much sense. Use that chicken manure and bedding to make compost for your gardens and reap the rewards!
Thank you for the thoughtful response.

So apparently elevated garden beds are what I'm doing. I was thinking "raised" in that they have raised sides, but you are correct that they are not raised from the ground. (They are 3' x 6.')

You've given me thoughts to consider. I will need to re-examine the weight factor and perhaps reinforce the bottoms. I was calculating weight of the soil and each square foot of floor would be supporting 65-70 lbs. A 1' wide stretch of the 3' span would then need to hold around 200lbs. Of course weight is a very rough estimate and changes on moisture content. :p

I did watch the entire video. I get the SIP idea but that's too much hassle for me. :hmm I may revisit the idea in the future but for now I'm not keen on the expense or extra prep. I appreciate you sharing the idea though. I had not heard of that concept before. Instead I'll have the beds on a timed drip system similar to what I do for all of my potted flowering plants. I think I'd need to feel a lot more ambitious to tackle a SIP system.
 
Pallets add a lot of weight .Are they connected on both sides or screwed into the board they rest on?
This photo might show better. I didn't see a need to screw them down. I assume the weight of what's above (soil) will hold it down. It's snug in place.
 

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