How I Built Raised Garden Beds

Building the Beds

For wood I used untreated cedar for the sides and redwood for the posts. Both woods are naturally rot resistant. I used 5/8" thick cedar for the sides, but you might want to go thicker to prevent bowing or splitting. The 4"x4" posts help secure the sides together, and well as keep the beds firmly in the ground. The posts stick out about 2" on the bottom. Originally I built 6'x3' beds, but once I positioned them I decided I could have gone wider, so I rebuilt the beds to 6'x4'. My son, pictured above, had a blast helping me measure where to attach the posts, as well as help drill them in.

 

Positioning the Beds

I layed the two beds down in an area on the side of the house that's close to a water supply (very important!) and would get a healthy amount of sun during the day. I also made sure to leave plenty of room around the sides for walking and bending over to harvest. The beds are about 3' apart. The soil in this area contains a lot of small rocks, but the beds are high enough at 11" to hold the roots, so I'm not too concerned about it.

 

Attaching the Hoops

I got this idea from Sunset Magazine. The hoops are used to hold netting to keep birds from getting at seeds and food. They are made out of 10' 1/2" PVC pipe attached to 1" PVC pipe screwed to the beds. You can find detailed plans here. When not using the netting, we plan on using these pipes as support for trellises. Also, during the cold months, we can cover the beds with plastic to keep in the heat, and use these beds as greenhouses.

 

Laying the Walking Stones

It's no fun walking on the dirt, so I layed down some walking stones to make it more pleasurable to get around. This is a preliminary example of what it might look like when finished. The soil is this area is not completely flat, so a good portion of these stones still need to be secured in place for the final build.

 

Filling with Soil

I drove my friend's truck to a local nursery and picked up 2 cubic yards of potting soil. I laboriously filled the beds and still have a big pile left over, which I'll probably use for smaller beds and pots. Notice I also sunk the walking stones into the ground and made sure each one was tight and level.

 

Avoid the Freeze

Here's an example of how we covered the fledgling plants during a particularly cold week in April.

 

Plants!

After a few months time the plants exploded with delicious vegetables. The tomato plant in this photo grew three times bigger than this, so we called it the Tomato Monster! Once Summer ends, we will use these beds for our Winter garden. And that's how it's done!

Last updated: September 4, 2010

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