A seasoned gardener or a novice will really appreciate the benefits and hassle free experience a raised garden bed offers. Get a few words of advice on planning, irrigating, and building a raised garden bed and the process becomes very attainable. Seasoned gardeners often prefer raised beds because they allow the forfeiture of many challenges that accompany gardening in general. The process is quite simple. Simple enough that even a beginner can achieve great results when building a raised bed.
There is no possibility of corrupt dirt because the bed is made of custom soil and a blend of compost. The soil is securely held intact with the drainage that is built into the walls of the bed. This also aides in maintaining erosion risk. The growing season is longer and the diversity of plants is greater because the exposure to the sun helps to warm the bed. Placing the plants close together in the raised bed stimulates a greater yield, crowds out weeds and maximizes the efficiency of water use. The raised level of the soil has an added benefit of less bend requirement of the planter.
Lumber is the most popular and common resource when constructing a raised garden bed. Key is to always avoid wood that use toxin as a means of preservations. This is extremely important because the foods grown in the garden bed can be directly affected if exposed to the toxins. Do not use railroad ties created with creosote. Try to find a natural cedar or red wood that is rot resistant. Line the bed with landscape fabric when using pressure treated wood to construct the garden bed. Assemble the bed with stainless or galvanized screws or bolts.
Construct the bed in a location sizable enough to accommodate a 3 x 6 ft bed. This width is suitable for growing tomatoes with an ease to reach from either side. Suggested height is about 1 to 2 ft tall. If desired, a taller size can be made but keep in mind the taller the bed, the more soil required to fill it. Garden dirt should never be used to fill the bed, instead use a soil mix or compost designed for planting. Level the soil using a 2 x 4 and then plant. If space and materials allow, construct more than one raised garden bed. This eases the task of watering and crop rotation. If multiple beds are constructed, align them in vertical rows to ease the process of installing the irrigation system.
Construct the bed or beds in a flat area to produce leverage in the walls. Keep in mind that the best lighting typically generates from a north-south angle. Build the raised garden bed near the kitchen when possible being sure to avoid shaded areas or overhead trees. Space about 18″ between beds for walk space or more for equipment use such as wheelbarrows or lawn mowers.
Prep the site by clearing any debris such as weeds and turf. Use chalk or string to trace the dimensions of the bed on the ground. Begin to dig using strokes in a vertical angle with a depth about half the size of the first course of lumber. The design of the bed should allow water to trickle down which prevents the possibility of poor drainage. The earth below the bed needs to be leveled. Place a single layer of landscaping fabric that runs to the outer edge of the bed.
Create the walls with four, 4 x 4’s for the corner posts, eight 4 ft 2 x 6’s to construct the side rails and four 2 ft long 2 x 2’s for the stake in the center. An angle square should be used to line up the posts and rails. Connect walls with sidewalls upright and opposite each other. Posts should be on the outside. Make sure the rail ends are even with the posts sides. Diagonally measure both directions across the bed of the planter. This squares the frame. Adjust beds until diagonals are equal lengthwise. Secure the bed by placing a 2 x 2 stake in the middle of the outside wall. Dig it into the ground to level stake top with side rails. Secure stake to side rails using deck screws. Repeat 3 times.
Once the bed is complete, fill the bed with topsoil. Add peat moss or compost, if desired. Water the soil and its ready for planting!
Written By: Bob Jenkins
Budget My Build
P.O. Box 72987
Phoenix, AZ 85050
Office: (602) 579-9660
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