Grow Your Own Garden - Building a Raised Vegetable Bed

**Click the link to download a printable version.  Foster’s Building a Raised Vegetable Bed.doc

There are so many advantages to building a raised vegetable bed – good drainage, little to no weeds, utilizes good space for those with smaller areas, easy to take care of and manage, and the list goes on.

Building them and getting them ready to plant is pretty easy to do.  Here is our guide to start building your bed from ground up and have you planting in the same day.

First off – what you need.

Supplies

(Finished bed measures 8′x4′x6″)

Six 8′ Landscape Timbers (2 of them cut in half measuring 4′)

Eight 1-2′ Rebar (reinforcement steel)

One bag each:

Peat Moss 2.2 cu.ft.

Vermiculite 4 cu.ft.

Chicken Manure 1 cu.ft.

Cow Manure 1 cu.ft.

Rose Bed Amendment  24 quart (contains humus)

Back to Nature Compost 2 cu.ft.  (Acidified for growing berries)

Wheelbarrow

Drill

Large Drill Bit (approx. 1/2″ or bigger)

Hammer

Scissors

 

Building Your Bed

Begin by finding a great spot that receives good sunlight to place your bed/s.  The finished bed is a little over 8′x4′x6″, so you will need a large enough space to be able to maneuver, plant, water, etc.  You can build a bed in a number of different sizes, using different materials.  This guide uses basic materials you can find at your local hardware store and doesn’t require much woodworking knowledge to complete.  You can duplicate these to create multiple beds.

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These landscaping timbers are nice because they are flat on the top and bottom, making them rest nicely on each other.  Start by laying out two 8′ beams on top of one another.  Stack two 4′ beams on one end making an ‘L’ shape, keeping the smaller on the inside of the longer beams.  Finish by stacking the 8′ and 4′ beams parallel to make a perfect rectangle.

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Drill a hole at the end of each timber, making for 8 total holes.  Basically two holes next to each other on separate beams.

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Place one piece of rebar per hole and hammer into place.

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And look at that, an easy to build raised vegetable bed!

 

Preparing Your Bed

Likely, you will be placing the bed on an area of grass, which you will want to spray (only if it is green) to kill it off to keep it from growing up through your garden.  If you are preparing your garden before spring, spray an application before the grass dies in the winter to prepare for early planting the following year.  An easy, no hassle way to do this is by mixing a solution of water with Kill-Zall® in a spray bottle and apply a generous amount on the grass within the bed.  This will help to control grass and weeds through the first years of your garden.  After your garden is established and you have controlled any pesky weeds from growing through, your vegetable bed should be easy to maintain with very few weeds.  Weed killer only kills the green leaves it touches, penetrating to that plants roots, so it will not stop the vegetables you plant from rooting and growing in the same area.

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Another way to help prevent weeds is to lay a large piece of weed barrier along the inside of the bed.  Cut a large enough piece to cover the ground and enough to continue up over the sides of the bed.  This should be a wall-to-wall covering, leaving no area of grass to be seen.  Do not trim the extra hanging over the edges, as you will then cut them back after you fill the bed with compost.

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Filling Your Bed

*The bags described above in the supplies are measurements calculated to fit the size of this 8′x4′x6″ bed.  If you are filling a bed of a different size, give us a call and we can calculate what you will need.

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In a large wheelbarrow, pour 1/3 – 1/2 of each bag in.  Mix together to combine them.  Pour a layer into the bed and spread out evenly.  It is at this point I feel as though we are making a large cake.  Repeat with the remaining bags until you have filled your raised bed.

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Use scissors to cut the weed barrier back to be flush with the top of the dirt.

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Now stand back and enjoy your work.  A beautiful, easily crafted, ready to use gardening bed.

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Your bed is now ready to be planted.  Yea!

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After you are finished with the majority of planting, lay a generous amount of mulch over the top and surrounding the plants.  Do not build the mulch up around the plant stem.  This will help retain moisture and help keep your soil in the bed.

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