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Building a Raised Garden Bed

When assessing our property and taking inventory of all our gardens and plants that we inherited with our house last year, hubby and I knew that we wanted to create a space for a vegetable or edible garden.  Unfortunately, all of our garden beds were full, and not ideal for great vegetable gardens.  Our yard is plagued by rocky, root and clay-filled soil which makes things interesting as well.

Long story short — we decided to give our yard a bit more interest, and build a raised garden bed.  This way, we can control the soil and the critters a bit better, while having a sunny area designated for growing our food!  As with 90% of our house projects, we started by doing some research through google, youtube, pinterest, and homestead survival (they have some awesome resources and how-tos!)  Mark was in charge of most of the building and plans….so I don’t have many details on what we did.  That makes THIS post a terrible how -to, and more of an idea and energy inspiring post.  Whoops. =)

There are some awesome ideas on Pinterest.  Here’s a board I found full of interesting pins and plans.  We opted for a simple, traditional design, but some of these turn gardening beds into real works of art! =)
http://pinterest.com/craftyme333/green-thumb-raised-bed-gardening/

We ended up going with a hybrid of a couple youtube clips and instructions we found around the internet.  This is one of the ones I had watched..
http://www.vegetablegardener.com/item/12113/building-a-raised-bed-part-i

The box itself is fairly easy to assemble…. though planning for it does require a bit of math.  It’s best to create some sort of diagram for what it should look like.  Conveniently, a sleepless night turned productive for Mark…and I woke up to having this step already done!

raised-garden-bed-diagram

The diagram is simply a visual guide for us to refer to.  We ended up placing some of the things in other locations (PVC piping went on the inside of the bed instead of along the outside), but for the most part, it is a fairly accurate representation.  We made our shopping list, bought all the materials, and set to work.

One of the things we had to consider while planning and building, was the height of the bed, vs the height of whatever fencing we were going to use around it.  There are rabbits, deer and other wildlife in our area, and we wanted to try our best to protect the plants and veggies.  We agreed on a slightly shallower bed, and higher fence.  Initally, we planned to simply stake in fencing around the bed, but after finding the tutorial linked below– I was sold on removable fencing sections!  All in all, this wasn’t too hard to complete either!

http://www.vegetablegardener.com/item/13553/diy-raised-bed-removable-pest-gate

We followed these instructions pretty closely, using both the PVC and dowel method for the removable sections. Sadly, I didn’t take many pictures at all until the end!  Most of the work involved handsaws, drills and wire cutting ….so just imagine that part, kay? =)

The whole project took about a week from start to finish, with delays caused by holidays and rain.  Thankfully, my veggies didn’t mind staying in their containers for a few days while they waited for their new home to be built!

Raised Garden Bed Charmed By Wine
The finished (but empty) garden bed!
Raised Garden Bed Charmed By Wine 2
A good view of the PVC and dowel system for the removable screens. Simply lift the screen to remove!
Raised Garden Bed Charmed By Wine 3
Everything planted! Tomatoes, Peppers, Cucumbers and Zucchini.
Raised Garden Bed Charmed By Wine 4
Side view. We used a mixture of organic and potting soil. Hopefully it works out well!
Raised Garden Bed Charmed By Wine 5
Our raised garden bed with removable screens!

 

We had a good amount of fun with this project (would’ve had more fun if the weather cooperated a bit more!), and are extremely excited to start growing our own food.  We still have a lot to learn about vegetable gardens, and caring for a raised garden bed….so much of this season will be trial and error.  Hopefully by next year we can feel a bit more confident! =)

Since this was a sub-par step-by-step tutorial on my part, if you have questions about our garden project– feel free to comment and ask!

 

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4 thoughts on “Building a Raised Garden Bed”

  1. You did a beautiful job on this project!! If I might ask, with the furring wood strips and dowel rods, do you worry about wood rot? I have no idea how good these particular woods are for prolonged use outdoors? Also the wood treated with some protective varnish that would be safe enough to use that close to a garden? If I do something like this I would like to know the wood parts will hold up for years to come!

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    1. Hi Sandy -thanks for your question! This project was truly an experiment for us. My husband did a bit of research to find that the pressure treated wood we chose shouldn’t (and in our opinion, didn’t) have an effect on the plants. Things grew well and we enjoyed our harvest!

      Where I live, we are exposed to all the seasons to include a cold, snowy winter, so we already knew that we’d be checking the integrity of the wood throughout the year, and possibly replacing sections as needed. We do bring the fences indoors for the winter which helps as well.

      We’re nearing the 1 year mark since installing the garden bed, and have noticed that the ground underneath has settled a bit (naturally), and that the fences are slightly warped — still function fine — just not 100% lined up as our perfectionist selves would want. We can fix most of these minor issues with a rubber mallet and filler soil.

      As far as we can tell, the wood has held up very well otherwise, and shows no signs of rotting.

      Hopefully this helps answer your question. =)
      Thanks!

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  2. Thank you for the quick and informative reply!! If I decide to try it I hope mine looks as wonderful as yours!

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