Spent the rest of the week – including the weekend – putting up the rest of the columns. Also filled in all the columns with gravel to keep the gophers and squirrels from digging up through them. There are six columns for each 10 foot section – 18 columns in all. We didn’t realize just how slanted the ground was until we got to the last column and only needed to build them 2 blocks tall to be perfectly level with the first column, which was 3 blocks tall.
Next Immediate Steps
The next thing we’re going to get done (probably not until this weekend – the washer pooped out, so we’ve been consumed with getting another and having it delivered) is to rake everything out nice and smooth, then put down a layer of wire mesh, also called wire cloth. We’re putting down the kind that has a fairly tight “weave” to it – the squares are only 1/4 inch by 1/4 inch. It’s heavier than what is commonly known as chicken wire. Again, this is to try to head the gophers and squirrels off at the pass.
Then we’ll put down a layer of week block and top the whole thing off with a layer of gravel. The gravel layer will serve a few purposes.
- it will make the whole thing look nicer
- it will help any water spray drain away quickly
- it will keep the weed block from getting torn up when we store stuff under the aquaponics barrels
- finally, it will help deter the critters.
Next Major Step
So, along with the wire mesh, the weed block, and the gravel – the next major step is to build the other wood beam and the individual barrel half supports. In the photo above you can see that one wood beam is already completed. (It looks a little wonky in the photo because the darn thing is so long and I didn’t bother to make it nice and straight before I shot the photo.) We made it by screwing 2 x 4’s together in a staggered layout for a 28 foot section. We used 3 inch deck screws that we had laying around. Then we ran out of 2 x 4’s, so off to Home Depot or Lowe’s for some more of those and some other wood for the actual barrel supports.
In the last post of this project, we’ll include a detailed list with all the stuff we used and the purchase price so you’ll have a very good idea how much a setup like this will cost if you aren’t able to “scrounge” very much of it. Of course, you’d be able to build a smaller version for a lot less!