For ages we had planned to build a raised garden bed. Finally the planets all aligned. Space formerly shady is now sunny. Plans were made. Saws found. Hopes ran high that finally we could have a garden that might produce more than a few random tomatoes. A garden in spite of heavy clay. We were going up – up – up! Up to 10 inches of black fertile soil, manure and compost. We did it! We figured out how to build a raised garden bed. Not just one, but two and a third one is in the works.
Here’s how to build a raised garden bed — highlights version!
We had measured the site earlier. On the north end of our property is a raised area, outlined with a retaining wall. Research told us that four feet is the optimum width for raised beds. That would fit the site well, leaving space behind for the existing shrubs. Determining how long the beds should be took more planning. We used the hose and long handled tools to mark out the various sizes. Finally we chose two four foot by four foot boxes on either end with an 8 foot long trapezoid box in the middle. This fit our curved area. And by making the bed in the middle longer, we will be able to plant area that would be used for paths between smaller boxes.
One gorgeous sunny spring day, — quite out of season and highly unusual — Wheels and Bytes headed off to the home center. They purchased lumber that was 2 inches thick by 10 inches wide. We figured that 10 inches would give us the depth we needed to overcome the poor soil. No treated lumber as treatment chemicals could leach into the soil and contaminate the food. We did stain it to match the deck which will help preserve the wood and create a visual flow. They figured out the corner brackets, by looking at what was available and then deciding to manufacture their own to fit our size and reduce cost. We had the PVC pipe (left over from a puppet stage) and Bytes made the brackets to hold the trellis supports using pipe strap (aka plumber’s strap).
It took most of the day for purchasing, staining and making the two boxes. The video details the construction process — very simple and straightforward. Once we had them in place we put cardboard across the bottom of the box. This serves as a weedstop. We’d already put a thick layer of leaves across the whole area last fall, so the one layer of cardboard should stop any weed seed that might have been in the ground. The cardboard will eventually decompose.
n the plan fell apart and I tell you the sad tale in Planting Part 2 – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
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