How to Build a Raised Garden Bed



Inspired by Jaime’s beautiful garden and childhood memories of eating sun-ripened heirloom tomatoes straight from the vine, we have started planning our own “backyard farm.” This will be a major experiment for us. Will it survive the Texas heat? Will my children pluck all of the seedlings out of the dirt? Will the critters come and carry away my bounty? We are learning as we go with the help of our (more garden experienced) friends Drew and Brookes, the interweb and hopefully you, oh wise gardening Prudent Mamas.

This weekend the men-folk build two 4×8′ raised beds. This is how they did it…
Supplies for 1 – 4’x8′ raised bed.

4″x4″ x 6′ – untreated
3 – 1″x12″ x 8′ – untreated
Saw
Drill (or impact driver) and long screws.

1. Cut your 4″x4″ into 4 – 16″ lengths. Note: Please use manufacturer instructions for operating power tools. Not our photos. For example… wear goggles.

2. You have 3 – 1″x12″. Leave 2 – 8′ long. Cut one in half. Here is a cool trick for cutting it straight…
Measure out to 4′ and draw straight line where you want to cut top-to-bottom.


3. Draw a parallel line approximately 3″ away from your cutting line (depending on the width of your saw) Clamp a piece of 2″x4″ to the board using that second line as your edge.

4. Use the 2″x4″ to guide the saw through it’s cut.

Here are the 8 corner stakes for 2 raised beds.

5. Configure your pieces like this…

6. Screw the end of the 8′ into the edge of the 4′, top and bottom. Repeat on all 4 sides.


Yikes! Drilling is loud. Don’t worry, that giant saw is unplugged.

7. Screw the board to the stake, top and bottom, both sides, all four corners.

It helps to have a buddy to hold it steady.

Put those kids to work.

This is what your raised bed will look like.



How many times have I heard… “Now take a picture of Mermaid.

8. Next we added drainage holes. 2 (the width of our PVC pipe) on each long side at a 45 degree angle. But more on drainage later.

9. Then we headed outside and found our perfect location. It was close to an outdoor water source, had afternoon shade for a break from the Texas sun and a view from our kitchen window (don’t want to forget to water!)

While the boys were digging, we enjoyed some sunshine. Nice “do” Q. HA!

Hmn, time to do some weeding.

Do not fill trash bucket with turf and attempt to lift by handles.

You may rip off fingernail and require pink Bandaids.

Luckily neighbor might take pity and let you borrow wheelbarrow. Amateurs.

And that’s where we stopped for the day. Up next… Securing the beds from the nasty creeping Bermuda grass and sourcing soil. Also wondering if I should do something fun like paint the outside? Next weekend we start to exciting stuff and head to the farmers market for plants and seeds.

What are your gardening plans? I’m looking forward to working on our “farms” together all Summer long!

The produce calendar at the top is from Krank Press.

See how we added irrigation to our raised beds here.

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42 Comments

Erin

Thanks for posting this! My husband and I want to also put in raised beds but were nervous to start.

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onemotherslove

I've got 5 of those in our yard here in North Texas. My biggest enemies are the bermuda grass, fire ants, and irregular watering. So far, I've got onions planted, and have seeded carrots (my daughter's crop of choice), assorted lettuces, and broccoli. In other locations, I've planted asparagus (for the long haul) and garlic. I'm going to add some shade cloth over my pepper bed this year to see if that will help them produce throughout the summer. We eat yummy during the summer and I usually get enough tomatoes & peppers to stock a year's worth of canned salsa! I can hardly wait to plant the rest of my seeds… but gotta hold out a little longer…

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amomwithalessonplan.com

We grew pumpkins, sunflowers and tomatoes last year. Can't wait to get started again.

PS Don't grow pumpkins unless you have A LOT of room. They took over the garden and only produced 4. It was fun that the kids got to plant, nurture and then carve their own though!

Reply
Sew on and Sew on

We're working on our first bed this weekend — hopefully we'll have lettuce, carrots, radishes and some other cool weather veggies planted soon. I really recommend the book "Square Foot Gardening" if you want to learn how to get the most out of your space.

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Jana Burrow

I do square foot gardening which involves raised beds too…I did it for the first time last year and really enjoyed it. I feel much more prepared and ready this year. Last year I had an abundance of tomatoes, lettuce, and green beans even though I planted many other things. If you are interested in square foot gardening it's pretty user friendly 🙂 Last year I just used the website, but this year I bought the book and feel much more prepared! The biggest lesson I learned is placement of what you want to grow. Some things sound so cool to grow (watermelons) but they can take over your garden and aren't as practical sometimes. Anyway, happy gardening.

http://www.squarefootgardening.org

and for the book…
http://www.amazon.com/All-New-Square-Foot-Gardening/dp/1591862027/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie;=UTF8&qid;=1299596343&sr;=1-1

Reply
teatimewithmandy

Fun! I'm garden planning in the middle of a snowstorm right now. I can't wait until the weather warms up!

Watermelons, squash, and pumpkins all need to go near the end of the beds so that their vines can spill out and not kill all your other plants. If you do cucumbers, let them climb up something or they'll spread out all over the place too.

This is a great site for getting an idea of how to lay out your garden. You can even hit "design your own" and plan out your own space. Easy peasy!

Reply
teatimewithmandy

Looking good!

I'm garden planning in the middle of a snowstorm right now. I can't wait until the weather warms up so I can get to work! My advice is to plant squash, pumpkins, and watermelons near the edges of your beds so they can crawl out and not strangle your other plants. Give cucumbers something to climb or they'll spread out all over as well.

Here's a great site for getting an idea of how to layout your garden. You can hit the "design your own" tab and plan out your own space, too!

http://www.gardeners.com/on/demandware.store/Sites-Gardeners-Site/default/Page-KGPPreplanned

Reply
marisa

You read my mind! My husband has been saying he will build me one, blah, blah. But now I think I may have to put the tools to a test myself! He would die if I showed him a tutorial on how to do it. "I was born with plans like that in my head." Hmmph..

Reply
ecreech81

I'm switching to raised beds this year too. I usually do row gardening but I tried one raised bed last year and it was GREAT. Square foot gardening Is a great resource book. I'm putting in 4 of the 4×8 beds this year. It was our plan to build them this weekend too but we got rained out! So it's on for Next weekend!

Reply
Emily

I can't wait until it's warm enough to plant our garden.

We have a raised bed too. I'm a huge fan of Square Foot Gardening!! We've grown so much in a small space with minimal work!

The bottom of our box is a liner bought at a local nursery that blocks the grass below from growing. The soil is 1/3 compost, 1/3 peat moss, and 1/3 vermiculite. We mixed our own the first year. The second year we found some premixed at the nursery.

The peat moss and vermiculite keep everything moist. With the soil mixture, there is almost no weeding. We had a few stray pieces of grass to pull out- it took like two seconds. The sf garden doesn't require much water or any pesticides.

Obviously, we're huge fans!!

Love the pictures of your kids. 🙂

Reply
sarah

we've got some container gardening going on on our florida back patio – old rubbermaid tubs & kitty litter buckets w/ holes drilled in the bottom for drainage are growing tomatoes, peppers, strawberries, herbs and sunflowers as i type. i'm considering some cucumbers & some lettuce, too – we'll see how motivated i am…

Reply
Sillybeans

Thanks so much for posting this. I've been looking into doing a vegetable garden throughout the past week and I just love it when people do pictures of their journeys!

It's a bit early to start here in Upstate NY, but its great to have something for reference..Maybe I'll do the same.

Reply
Jacinda

They sell these brooms in most larger Asian markets. Clare loves it because it's the perfect size but I love it too. It's great if you have annoying dusty dark wood floors. Also, don't get dark wood floors.

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Jacinda

The calendar at the top is from Krank Press. Link at bottom of post although it looks like they are sold out.

Reply
bononers

speaking of "amateurs"… what's the advantage to a raised bed? why now just straight on the ground?
also, so jealous that your children are outside in t-shirts. today i was marvelling that we could go outside in just toques, heavy coats and mittens, and leave the snowpants behind!

Reply
EHC

The book "Lasagna Gardening" is also a fabulous resource. You can get your garden going without having to dig up a ton of grass. The secret ingredient is newspaper!

Reply
Rising Designs

Jacinda,
Jim bought a bunch of various heirloom seeds. I will send you a bunch to start your garden. Keep your eyes peeled for them in the mail!

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Jacinda

WOOT! Thanks Mom. Please do!

bononers-It's a box placed on the ground. The four corners go into holes and "stake" the bed in place.

Reply
eireann

I didn't read through all the comments to see if someone already said this, but as far as soil goes (in addition to Freecycle and the like) you could check with your local waste company for compost. Ours offers free compost to local residents and we can take as much as we like. You don't want to plant in 100% pure compost as your plants will burn, but it is a GREAT amendment to any soil (we have crap soil here in Sac'to) and you can also use it as mulch.

Reply
The Queen

5 years ago I made fun of my hubby for building a similar raised garden bed. It only took the first harvest for me to fall in love with it! It's awesome. Thanks for sharing this. The world needs more gardens!

Reply
Rebekah

We built two 4×8 beds last year, and my first attempt at a garden was an EPIC FAIL. We got lots of great tomatoes, but next to nothing else. This year I have more of a plan, so we'll see if that makes a difference!

Reply
jameslinn

Awesome …..
I like the post…..
Thanks for sharing good experience about work for garden.I also have to maintain my garden and patio such that i get some good furniture and plants to make my Garden beautiful.
Garden Furniture Sets

Reply
Laura

I have had raised beds for about 20 years now. Love them……only way to garden! I would make one suggestion though. I prefer to have deeper boxes, anywhere between 12 and 16 " deep. better moisture retention for my area and not so far to bend over to weed. Check out the book "Square foot gardening" from the library and go to town growing your own food.
Kids love to help!

Reply
snow woes « Knit Mainea!

[…] found plans for a raised flowerbed on pinterest (pinterest link is here… actual blog post is here) but being sidetracked with the kids’ baseball/softball/dance/break dancing schedules and […]

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crochet dog clothes patterns

If you live in an region exactly where the temperatures
turn into bitter chilly, your dog can put on coats and jackets over sweatshirts
and sweaters. For the most part, dogs that
spend most of their time indoors and have become accustomed to their controlled environment or older ones, that are a little more sensitive,
may need extra protection like dogs sweaters in very cold
weather. Now take the dog coat off your dog, but make sure to leave
some mark on the fabric to show you where to connect the coat around your dog’s neck and stomach.

Reply
Yard Trellis Designs By Juju

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Joseph Miller

NEVER use treated wood for raised beds that will be used to raise vegetable; for flowers it is acceptable. Untreated wood such as pine will rot within 5 years, if used for raised beds. The ideal wood is CEDAR! It is considerably less expensive than redwood, looks good, and may last 15-20 years as a raised bed. Healthy gardening!
Check out UNIQUE CEDAR PRODUCTS on YOU TUBE. THANKS!!

Reply
Olivia

Sooooo stunning!! Tell me what to varnish or preserve the wood with?? Non toxic?Thankyou…

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