Sunday, August 7, 2011

Palm Sunday: DIY Raised Beds

Obviously gardening started in the beginning in the Garden, but for us, it started this spring. Molly has become obsessed with health and wellness, organic food, farm-to-table, and being dirty, so I decided to make two raised beds for her, for her birthday in January. This post is a sort of "DIY Raised Beds" narrative. 

Supplies: -6 (8ft) 2x10x1 boards (per bed)
-one 8ft 3x3 rod (per bed)
-5 lbs galvanized deck screws
-tape measurer
-screw driver/ power drill
-table or circular saw with sawhorses

Process: -Start by measuring out six feet on each board and drawing a line that will be your mark for cutting off the extra two feet. 
-Cut off the extra two feet
-If you want, notch out half of each board (see picture), being careful to match them up properly. 
-the extra two feet of each board will be the end of the raised bed...these need to be notched too. 
-cut the 3x3 rod into four 2 foot sections.
-fit it all together
-Now that your first layer is done, screw in the 3x3x24 rod in each corner. 
-continue to build two more layers, stacking them evenly.
-Level out the ground and install bed on it. 

**Important!-If you use treated lumber, be sure to cover the inside of the bed with plastic. Cedar wood (can be found at Fresh Start) is best suited for Raised Bedding because it doesn't need to be treated, doesn't corrode as easy, and smells good.

What to Do With a Raised Bed
Raised beds are a better way to garden for a few reasons. First, they allow the gardener to use any soil they prefer...we use organic compost and potting soil from Bunton's or Fresh Start. Second, they allow crops to be contained to a special area without the intrusion of much grass or weeds. Last, they look cool and you don't have to bend down as far. 
If you do use raised beds, you will need to start by filling them with soil (if this gets too expensive it's ok to put a layer of gravel in the bottom) but you should definitely mix the soil with compost. After this is done section off the raised bed, keeping track of where you plant each different sort of seed. For tomatoes and peas construct or buy a lattice to support the growing plants and screw it into the side of the bed. 

I think that's about it, enjoy....happy planting.


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