Raised Bed Gardening

This spring has been wet, windy, and chilly.  I have been patiently waiting for a beautiful weekend to construct two new raised beds for our garden.    Finally, the weather conditions for this weekend were perfect.  CJ and I headed out to Home Depot on Friday to pick-up the materials needed to construct the new beds. Materials

  • 2 - 8 x 12 x 2 Wood Boards
  • 4 - 4 x 12 x 2 Wood Boards
  • 2 - 12 x 12 x 2 Wood Boards
  • 14 - 24" Rebar
  • 3 1/2 Deck Screws
  • 1/2" Metal Staples for use with wiring
  • 3/32 Drill Bits
  • Cordless Drill
  • Metal Mallot
  • Hammer
  • Tape Measure
  • Pencil

Step One:  We measured and marked the ends of the 4 4 x 12 x 2 boards one inch from the end of the board, then 1 1/2 inches apart I placed a mark for each of the 5 pilot holes.   Then using the 3/32 drill bit CJ drilled 5 pilot holes on the end of each board.

Next, I held the boards together while CJ used the drill to screw each decking nail through the pilot hole connecting the two boards together.  This process was repeated for each corner of the raised beds.

Once the corners were screwed together the frame was placed in its final position in the garden.   The raised beds are positioned two feet apart.  This allows for wheel barrel, wagon, or lawn mowing access.   Next, we positioned 6 pieces of rebar.  One piece in each corner and one piece in the middle of the eight foot side wall.  We used a metal mallot to pound approximately 14 inches of the rebar into the ground.  Next, we hammered two metal staples over the rebar to hold the rebar into place on the board.  We repeated this process for the next bed with one exception.  We used eight pieces of rebar in the 12 x 12x 2 bed.

It took approximately two hours to construct the raised beds on Friday afternoon.    I ordered two yards of leaf compost to be delivered on Saturday.    The leaf compost arrived about 11:30 a.m. and the fun began.   It took four of us working to fill the two beds.  Two people shoveled compost and two people used a hoe to spread out the compost.

There are many reasons why I chose to use raised beds in our garden.

  • Raised beds help maximize even the smallest growing space.
  • Beds look very attractive giving a well organized appearance.
  • All work is done from paths, avoiding compaction and damage to soil structure.
  • Drainage is improved and the soil warms up faster in the spring.
  • Lack of compaction reduces the need for digging and only growing area, not the paths, need to be dug.
  • Vegetables can be grown at close, equal spacings, increasing yields from the area.
  • Close, even spacing creates a dense canopy of leaves, smothering out weeds.
  • Crop rotation is much easier to plan and manage.
  • Crops can be harvested in any weather without damaging the soil.

We now have a total of five raised beds.  One 12 x 3, two 8 x 3, one 8 x 4, and the last bed 12 x 4.  It was important to have the beds just wide enough to easily reach to the middle without having to step onto the soil.     You will appreciate this important decision when you begin to harvest from your raised beds.   Grooming and harvesting will be completed with ease.

Early Sunday morning I went out and planted the garden.  It was cool, cloudy, and the birds were chirping.   It was peaceful and made for a perfect ending and new beginning.   A labor of love.

City Girl