Think Upside the Box: Make a Raised Garden Bed

Think you don’t have enough space to grow vegetables? Think again! Building and installing a raised garden bed takes a few materials and a couple of hours. With a raised garden bed, you can customize your garden, plus you choose the perfect soil for your needs and have less weeding to do.

Raised garden beds are fabulous for many reasons. They:

  • Extend the planting season because elevated soil warms earlier in the spring.
  • Are kinder to your knees – plants are up higher, and you can garden while perching on the side of the bed.
  • Provide great drainage to your plants, keeping them healthy.
  • Create a barrier against pests. If you add some fencing along the top, even deer and larger animals can’t chomp on your veggies.
  • Are easier to keep grass-free than ground-level beds.

You can buy an affordable kit or design your own. Most raised beds have an open bottom, so you’ll just build exterior walls. Some kits also include trellises, which are great for climbing vegetables like peas or beans.

Let’s get started!

Choose a flat spot that gets lots of sun – about eight hours a day – and one that you can access on two sides so you can plant, weed and harvest easily. Stay away from your house – you don’t want the raised garden to drain towards your foundation!

Mark off a rectangular area where you’d like to build. You can make a standard 3-ft x 6-ft garden bed out of wood – redwood, cedar, composite, and pressure-treated lumber are some choices – concrete blocks, pavers or stone.

Dig up the grass, remove any weeds and level off the ground to create an even base upon which to build. Mark your bed with chalk or a piece of string.

Put down a layer of landscaping fabric to completely cover the soil, leaving about six inches extra all the way around.

Assemble your box. Try to build your bed at least one to two feet tall, depending on how much soil you plan to add.

Place your box on top of the landscape fabric, making sure it’s perfectly level, otherwise the whole thing may collapse when you add the soil!

Trim off extra fabric. Add two parts soil and one part compost and plant! Don’t forget to mulch the bed to keep the soil moist and prevent weeds from poking through. Wind a garden hose between plants and add more soil.

Photo Credit: Digital Sextant via Compfight cc

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