Green up a plain fence while keeping pests out of your vegetable garden. Turn pieces of gutter into containers for an attractive herb garden or leafy produce.
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From 1 x 4 pressure-treated lumber, cut two pieces 62 inches long and four pieces 34 inches long.
If your pressure-treated lumber feels wet to the touch, allow it to lie flat and dry out until water no longer beads up on the surface. Wash hands thoroughly after handling treated lumber, and wear breathing protection when cutting.
On a flat work surface, lay out the two horizontal frame pieces and four vertical pieces upside down as shown on the Gutter Garden Frame Project Diagram. Follow the instructions that came with your pocket-hole drilling jig to drill two holes at each joint. Apply Liquid Nails adhesive and screw the frame together.
Use a miter saw or handsaw to cut the plastic gutters into four 5-foot lengths. Use sandpaper to clean up the cut ends and attach caps to both ends of each piece. Drill 1/4-inch drain holes near the left end of two sections and near the right end of the other two.
On the back side of the frame at the top, use a square and pencil to mark lines 1-3/4 inches and 17-3/4 inches from both ends (centered above the vertical pieces). Hold a 1-inch corner bracket with the corner even with the top of the frame and mark the screw hole location where it crosses the lines. Then drill 3/32-inch pilot holes for the brackets.
Draw centered lines the length of the two center boards and extend the lines over the two horizontal boards at each joint. Measuring down the left line from the top edge of the frame, mark the line at 2-1/4 inches, 13-1/4 inches, 24-1/2 inches, and 35-1/4 inches. On the right side, mark the line at 2 inches, 13-1/2 inches, 24-1/4 inches, and 35-1/2 inches. This allows the gutters to tilt slightly and drain excess water.
Align the gutter bracket top edge with one of the marks on a centered line and mark the mounting screw location. Drill a 9/64-inch pilot hole and use rust-resistant screws to fasten the bracket to the frame. Repeat for the remaining brackets. Avoid overtightening the brackets.
Rest a gutter section with the drain holes on the left end loosely on the top brackets and inset 1 inch from the left or right edge of the frame. Tilt and press it into the upper brackets until it pops in place. Then install a gutter with the holes on the right in the brackets below that. Alternate left and right for the remaining two gutters.
Screw the mounting brackets to the back using the pilot holes drilled in Step 4. Hold the frame against the top crossbeam of the fence where you'll install it and screw the corner brackets to the crossbeam.
Add a soilless potting mix containing slow-release fertilizer, filling the gutters to ¾ inch from the top. Then add plants and seeds of your choice. Harvest edibles such as lettuce regularly to free up room for new growth.
If you are growing edibles and have concerns about chemicals leaching from the vinyl gutters, line the gutters with #4 Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE), commonly found in disposable trash bags. Be sure to include drainage holes.