Thursday, February 19, 2015

Building the Beds

Joel loves taking people on a tour of the backyard and on one of these tours we had a friend ask if he would teach her how to build garden boxes. We both marveled at this request because once you know how to do it, then it becomes the simplest thing. It is hard to remember a time when we didn't know how to do this even though it was only last year! It made me think that she might not be the only person interested in learning how to make raised garden boxes so I thought we should begin with step one: Making the Bed.

To build a raised garden bed we:

  • Bought 3 2x8 foot pieces of treated wood from Lowes
  • Borrowed a circular saw from our neighbor and cut one of the 2x8 foot pieces of wood in half (exactly in half) which left us two 2x4's/
  • Positioned the 2 2x8's and the 2 2x4's into the shape of a rectangle.
  • Used a drill and 3 inch screws to fit the wood together.
  • Moved the rectangle to the place where we wanted it in the yard.
  • Covered the grass inside the rectangle with flattened cardboard boxes and let it sit like that for a week to kill the grass.
  • Turned up all the soil inside our box and we pulled out all of the grass.
  • Went to our county compost management in my mom's truck. We filled up the entire truck bed with compost for the price of $24.
  • Filled the (now grass less) boxes full of rich composted soil.
  • Tossed in handfuls of Epsom salt, lime, and fertilizer to make sure the plants have a hefty dose of nitrogen, calcium, and nutrients needed to grow big and strong.

That's all it takes. There is more than one way to build a garden box/bed. This is just how we decided to do it. Just for good measure, my father-in-law found a pretty iron headboard in the brush behind our house and stuck it in one of the beds to look nice and to grow climbing plants on (like cucumbers, melons, beans).

If you would like to see this done step by step with photos check out this blog called Hullabaloohomestead. They add PVC arcs so that they can use their garden beds in the winter too (you can cover your plants with tarp or plastic to do this). We did the same thing only we did not screw the loops into the wood, we bought re-bar and stuck into the soil inside the box and then bent the pipes and poked them right down on the re-bar. It was even simpler and makes all of that equipment reusable for different projects and needs.