Grow in Raised Beds
Raised beds are a gardener's dream come true: From weeding to harvesting, in cool climates and waterlogged soils, raised beds remedy a host of problems.
Growing in raised beds means you don't have to bend over as much, saving on your back. The soil warms faster in spring and drains faster in wet weather. What's not to love? So here's how to make your own raised bed.
Step 1: Mark it Off
Start by determining how big you want your raised bed to be. If you're not sure, start with a 4x4-foot square, a distance most people can reach the middle from both sides of. Then rake and level the ground so that your raised bed will lie flat.
Step 2: Create Your Walls
Start with four, 1-foot-long 4x4s for the corner posts; eight 4-foot-long 2x6s for the side rails; and four 2-foot-long 2x2s for the center stakes.
Position your 4x4s on each corner of your square. Then pick a wall to start with and screw your first 2x6 to connect the corners. Stack a second 2x6 on top of the first. The ends of the 2x6 boards should be even with the sides of the post. Use an angle-square to make sure the rails and posts are lined up at right angles.
Step 3: Connect the Walls
Stand the sidewalls upright and opposite each other, with the posts on the outside. Screw the two side rails to the posts to form the other walls of the raised bed.
Again, the ends of the rails should be even with the sides of the posts.
Step 4: Square it Up
Measure diagonally both directions across the planter bed to make sure the frame is square. Adjust the raised bed until both diagonals are equal in length.
Step 5: Make it Sturdy
Take a 2x2 stake and place it at the middle point of one of the outside walls. Then dig or pound it into the ground so the top of stake is level with the top of the side rails. Fasten the stake to the side rails with deck screws. Repeat with each of the remaining three walls.
Step 6: Fill it with Soil
Once you've built your raised bed, fill it with topsoil. If you wish, amend the soil with lots of organic matter, such as compost or peat moss. Then water it well and you're ready to plant.
Materials for Raised Garden Beds
Here's an overview of the most common materials for building raised garden beds.