Monthly Archives: November 2014

Up-cycled pallet raised bed gardening

Make this:

* MAKE SURE TO USE PALLETS THAT HAVE NOT BEEN CHEMICALLY TREATED.

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1.  Attach pallets at corners with bailing wire or string/cord.

2.  Use burlap or other similar material stapled to the inside walls of your pallets to prevent soil from washing out through the slats.

883541_10100948029238659_841374339_o3.  Fill your new bed with at LEAST 12 inches of Wood to begin with.  This can be a combination of split rounds, bark, chips, sticks, and twigs.  This wood should be free of any chemical treatments.  This wood will absorb moisture and keep the bed moist longer in dryer periods of weather.  The decomposing wood will slowly add nutrients and also provide a more diverse environment for the microorganisms that help plants grow naturally.

4.  *optional step: add a thick layer of straw around sides to insulate soil and add additional diversity to growing medium.

Side view of pallet raised bed garden.  Note the layer of wood below the growing substrate.

Side view of pallet raised bed garden. Note the layer of wood below the growing substrate.

5.  Fill the rest of your ‘bed’ with a quality soil.  If you are going to add amendments, now is the time to mix them in.  I like to add a layer of straw on top of my soil to help retain moisture and provide good worm/spider habitat – I even like to collect worms after a rain storm and toss them into the raised beds!

6.  Bend PVC or metal piping over your bed and secure with screw-on pipe fittings.  This arc will allow you to cover your bed with insulating material for gardening during shoulder seasons.

7.  GROW FOOD!  The end.

*  Additionally you can add all sorts of fancy-schmancy additions such as chicken wire, bamboo, or trellis depending on the particular crops you are growing.  As an alternative to the hoops you can get two-layer, translucent greenhouse siding to lay flat across the top of your bed.  This works best if you have not added too much soil, leaving perhaps 6-8 inches from the top of the soil to the lip of the pallets.

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Using Strava with Google Earth

Very simple – Strava just (not sure how recently) added an ‘export GPX’ feature.  Even people using the free Strava account (like myself) can utilize this feature.  You then open Google Earth, and open your exported GPX file and boom – there is your ride/run depicted in 3D.

30 mile look in Topanga State Park.

30 mile loop in Topanga State Park.

Discovered Sullivan Canyon single track - wow!  Beggars canyon descent is not recommended on a hardtail...

Discovered Sullivan Canyon single track – wow! Beggars canyon descent is not recommended on a hardtail…

Long ride in Topanga State Park

I often think about how ‘productive’ I am being when I have down-time from work.  After finishing up my freelance gig with The Tennis Channel, I am back to searching for the next work

First rain I've seen in Los Angeles in over two months.

First rain I’ve seen in Los Angeles in over two months.

opportunity.  Productivity shouldn’t only be measured in dollars.  I’m talking about physical training opportunities, running, hiking, biking, etc.  I should relish the time off from work that I have because it allows me to pursue the things I love and affords me the ability to push my body and stay in shape for the next ‘big adventure’.

With all this in mind, I managed to get out for a couple runs including a half marathon distance this past week.  My left ankle (previously sprained at Burning Man) didn’t appreciate this distance very much.  I don’t want to stop running but I think I will stick to less then 10 miles runs to keep the impact down and give my body time to heal itself.  I am trying to help it along with LOTS of hydration and using compression after strenuous activity to help recovery.  To keep the intensity up and reduce impact, I turned to biking this weekend with a nice long ride in Topanga State Park.

A trail sign in Topanga State Park, Santa Monica Mountains.

A trail sign in Topanga State Park, Santa Monica Mountains.

Since I have been in LA it seemed like I had to drive a significant distance to find good riding or trail running.  This Sunday was a great instance of discovery as I learned that access to Topanga State Park is only a 15 minute drive from my house.  I accessed the great trail system from the 405 highway at Mulholland drive.  Parking is at San Vincent Mountain Park near the Skirball Cultural Center.  From this location you can ride some serious distance on a mix of fire roads and single track.

From the Parker Mesa Overlook you can see Santa Monica and Venice quite clearly.

From the Parker Mesa Overlook you can see Santa Monica and Venice quite clearly.

 

 

I intended to do about 20 miles and ended up grinding out just over 30…on the single speed.  While my bike choice wasn’t great, the terrain offered amazing climbing opportunities.  I was able to do a loop instead of an out-and-back and managed just shy of 5,700 feet of climbing.  It’s funny how I feel like the mountains here don’t even begin to compare to Colorado – true but the climbing exists.  This ride offered views of the Pacific ocean with some blazing descents.

Map and elevation profile of a trail ride in Topanga State Park.

Map and elevation profile of a trail ride in Topanga State Park.