Let’s get started from the beginning and a definition. When we talk about “raised garden bed” or simply “raised bed,” we’re naming a freestanding frame or box—regularly with no bottom or top—that stands aboveground in a sunny spot and is crammed with good-quality soil. Raised beds are generally open on the bottom so that the plant roots access soil nutrients underground level.
Naturally, a raised garden bed can be even more straightforward: you could make it without a frame and mound the soil 6 to 8 inches high and straighten the top. This needs no extra materials (beyond ground).
Merits of Raised Garden Beds
There are so many reasons to use raised beds:
They drain quickly and help stop erosion.
They warm up quickly in the spring and award you a longer growing season because the soil raised above the ground warms up faster.
They help you control the soil you put in them, making it possible to plant productively; plants grown close together in raised beds grow more quickly.
They stop weeds from taking over because the beds are uplifted away from neighboring weeds and loaded with the disease- and weed-free soil.
Because you are not walking in the bed, the soil doesn’t get hardened and stays loose without the need for exhausting digging every spring. They help to keep things organized and in order.
Garden chores are made more effortless because of less bending and kneeling. Free your knees and back from the strain and pain of looking after the garden!
They are perfect for small spaces where a traditional row garden might be too wild and awkward.
It is much easier to sort out and rotate crops every year.
They provide easier square-foot gardening and companion planting.
And, finally, raised beds are beautiful!
DIY Raised Garden Bed
|Tape Measure||Deck/Exterior Screws|
|Drill/Driver & Bits||2-in x 4-in Lumber (Actual: 1-1/2-in x 3-1/2-in)|
|Compound Miter Saw or Circular Saw and Blades||Heavy-Duty Plastic Sheeting|
|Saw Horses||Wide-Mesh Hardware Cloth|
|Speed Square||Raised Bed Soil|
|Staple Gun and Staples|
|Garden Hose & Nozzle or Wand|
|Hose-End Irrigation Timer|
Arranging Your Garden Location.
Choose a spot for your garden bed. Keep in mind several kinds of plants — such as vegetables — require plenty of suns.
Building your Garden Bed.
Wood and Cement Block Raised Garden Beds.
The bed structure can be as simple as 2 x 4s on top of the ground or even a wall block terrace. The size is optional. A raised bed at least 6 inches high offers ease of access and provides roots with plenty of room to grow. These instructions set out for building a 4-foot by 6-foot by 10-1/2-inch bed with 2 x 4 raw lumber. Raw lumber isn’t rot-proof, but it’s a good choice for edibles.
- Step One
Cutting Lumbers for the Frame.
Mark and measure the length of the walls and chop the boards. Meter and cut 2 x 4s for angle uprights to support the walls. They need to be the height of the garden bed wall. You may also cut posts to install beside the walls for additional strength.
- Step Two
Affixing the Posts to the Frame.
Press together the boards for each wall. Put the corner posts on the wallboards, Push with the ends of the 6-foot walls and bog down 1-1/2 inches from the lots of the shorter walls. Pierce pilot holes and joins the posts with screws. If you cut extra posts, attach them as well.
- Step Three
Assembling the Frame.
Pierce pilot holes and attaches all the sides with screws to form a box. The posts should be on the inside of the raised bed.
Marking Your Location.
Prepare the location for your raised garden bed and cut out the grass from this area. You can also add the touches to the frame at the end.
- Step One
Sketching the Location for the Raised Bed.
Put the frame in position and sketch it with a shovel. Putting the bed on the ground instead of a hard surface — such as concrete — helps proper root growth and more drainage.
- Step Two
Cutting out the Grass from the Garden Location.
Put the frame aside to cut the grass. Let go of the dirt with a spading fork to give your new plants’ roots better growth into the ground.
- Step Three
Frame with Chicken Wire.
Before setting the bed in place, staple wide-mesh chicken wires on the bottom of the frame, this mesh keeps weeds out, but earthworms can still get through to enrich the soil. As a substitute to chicken wire, you can use landscape fabric or even newspaper to stop weed growth from below, but remember that weed seeds can fall onto the soil and sprout.
- Step Four
Joining Plastic to the Frame.
If the wood isn’t rot-proof, strong staple plastic along the inside walls before adding the soil.
Adding Plants and Soil.
Start with the most delicate soil and pick plants that’ll work in your chosen location. Plant labels show details on the care and conditions the plants need to flourish.
- Step One
Adding Compost to the Raised Garden Bed.
Load the bed with a mixture of nutritious soil and compost. Use our Mulch and Soil Calculator to calculate the amount you need, and check the Soil and Soil Amendments Guide to learn more about nourishing your soil.
- Step Two
Planting Flowers in the raised bed.
Put the plants in holes and gently fill in with soil. Make the soil loose around the plants to let the water reach the roots.
A water Timer can be helpful. The preferred time to water is morning when less water evaporates in the sun. A water timer on a soaker hose can facilitate a task like watering.
Raised Garden Bed with Mesh wrap.
Consider adding a mesh wrap to keep rabbits and birds away. You can make the frame with wood and PVC pipes and add a garden trellis beside the bed for tall plants and vines. If you want to have an early start on gardening or keep things thriving later in the season, wrap the mesh frame with plastic to keep the plants from cold temperatures.
What Kind of Wood Do I Use.
The type of wood to use for a raised garden bed is up to you. Here are some possibilities:
Cedar and redwood are water-proof but can be very expensive and difficult to find. Hemlock, pine, and fir are suitable materials for raised beds but aren’t very durable.
Pressure-treated lumber can be another option. Pressure-treated lumber has been an argumentative topic for many years. The reason for chemical pressure treatment is to keep wood from decay, rot, and wood-ingesting pests. Chromated copper arsenate (CCA) was the most argumentative treatment and was forbidden for consumer use by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2003.
Current operations such as alkaline copper quaternary (ACQ) are considered low-risk by the EPA and determined safe for use around humans, plants, pets, and vegetables. Creosote-treated wood is not a suitable option for vegetable-raised beds.
As opposed to untreated wood, pressure-treated lumber is more durable and is available at an equal cost. Some types are exceptionally treated for ground contact. But remember that even water-based treatments such as ACQ have the herbicide and pesticide necessary to make them productive. Here are several practices that may meet the concerns regarding using it in raised beds.
Allow the wood dry before use. It may take six months or more for treated lumber to dry. Then you can use as-is or seal or paint it.
Line the inside of the bed with sheet plastic or pond cypress.
Plant edibles near the raised bed’s center, a few inches farther from the wood.
Pay attention to these instructions and precautions anytime you use pressure-treated lumber:
Use hooks and hardware tagged for treated lumber — stainless-steel or hot-dipped aluminum screws.
Push lumber tightly. Pressure-treated wood as it dries.
Pierce pilot holes to stop splitting while screwing boards or nailing.
Work with wood rated for ground contact when necessary for the project.
Use gloves, a dust mask, and eye protection while working or cutting wood.
Wash your hands after working with pressure-treated lumber.
Throw away waste and sawdust according to local regulations.
Don’t burn pressure-treated wood.
Don’t use pressure-treated wood as mulch.
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