Building a Raised Bed Garden
Some girls dream about their wedding. This girl already had one of those and has since been dreaming about the day she could have a REAL garden. The season has come and the Hudson family is finally rooted in the slightly rolling flats of central Ohio. I never dreamt of the day I would say this … but all of my dreams are coming true in the midwest state of Ohio.
I’m in planning stage now; where possibilities are sprouting faster than I can weed out my ideas. One thing I know for sure, I want a raised bed. Most of my gardening has been limited to container gardening and this feels familiar to me. The benefits touted by many include:
- Reduced soil compaction since you can do most of your gardening from the path. This is good because it allows the plant roots to get the air they need.
- The elevated soil warms up earlier in the spring. Great for places with cool, rainy climates!
- Raised beds drain well and don’t become as easily waterlogged.
- The sides work as edging to keep out weeds and make maintainance easier.
- Water and compost can be applied more efficiently reducing waste.
- Plants can be spaced closer since you don’t need room to walk in between them. (Although you should be mindful of spacing needs of each plant type.)
- Many say that because of these advantages raised beds produce more vegetables. More yield for less work!
I used the directions for a raised bed from Organic Gardening Vol. 59:3. You will need the following items:
- Three 2-by-12 boards, 8 feet long
- One 2-by-4 board, 8 feet long
- 2 1/2-inch galvanized deck screws (~28 screws)
When selecting lumber make sure you buy untreated and the straightest boards you can find. Straighter boards ensure tighter corners. I would think purchasing untreated lumber would be obvious but I am also a non-toxic freak. Bottom line, you don’t want to grow your food in a box of wood treated with icky chemicals. Gross.
The following directions are verbatim from the article:
Cut one of the 2-by-12 boards in half to make two 4-foot lengths; these will be the two end pieces.
Cut the 2-by-4 board into 4-foot length, to serve as a center brace. and four 1-foot lengths for corner supports. The two uncut boards will become the sides of the raised bed.
After drilling pilot holes, attach one of the side boards to an end board with three evenly spaced screws.
Place one of the corner supports in the angle between the boards and attach it to the side board with three screws. Repeat for remaining three corners.
Attach the center brace to join the two sides at their midpoints. Use a square to position the brace at a right angle to the sides. The brace prevents the sides from bowing outward when the bed is filled with soil.