Raised Bed Gardening, Part 2: Building A Raised Bed
If you’ve made the decision to try raised bed gardening, great! The next step is to get your garden bed started. Building a raised bed garden does have an initial cost, unless you already happen to have all the needed supplies. Once the garden is built, however, it should last for years with minimal cost to keep it going.
Start by gathering the needed materials. Have your wood pieces cut depending on the size of bed you want to build. For instance, you could make a 4’x8′ bed by getting three 8′ wood pieces and cutting one of them in half. Remember that you will want the bed to be at least 6″ tall, taller if you have poor soil under the bed, so consider this when selecting wood slats. You can stack two shorter slats on top of each other to get a taller garden bed.
Other materials you will need include weather-proof screws, a drill, four (or more) wooden stakes to help stabilize the bed (if desired), a tape measure, a level, and a pencil.
Begin by drilling a couple of holes for the screws near the ends of each of your two longer boards (about 1/2-3/4″ in, depending on the wood’s thickness). Place two of your wood pieces (a long one and a short one) on their sides and line them up to form a corner. Use a screwdriver bit on your drill to secure the screws into the holes you just drilled, connecting the wood pieces in an “L” shape and then repeating the step with your remaining boards to build the basic structure of the bed.
If you wish, you can help stabilize the bed by adding wooden stakes in each corner once the bed is situated in its permanent location and screwing them in. This is especially helpful when you are building a larger size of garden bed. You can add more wooden stakes on the long sides of the bed for additional support.
Position the garden bed where you want it, then check that all sides are level. If not, you may need to add dirt under the bed or dig a small trench to get everything even.
When you are all done, you can fill your new garden bed with the soil and compost of your choice and get ready to grow an amazing garden!