Your raised bed vegetable garden can be the centerpiece of your garden. It will offer you many benefits and advantages and overall will provide you with an easy way to produce your best harvest.
It is easy to construct a raised bed garden and even easier to maintain. Whether you buy a kit or build your own, there are countless reasons for using raised bed gardening.
Prepare The Ground
To construct a raised bed garden, choose an ideal spot in your garden that receives at least five to six hours of direct sunlight every day. However, more than that is even better.
Start by laying your cardboard on the growing area, including the paths. It will help clear the weeds where the new bed will occupy.
Remember to remove any existing tapes and staples before using it as a base for your raised bed. That way, you’ll be starting with a clean cardboard that will rot down over time.
Overlap your cardboard of about 6 inches which is sufficient enough to prevent weeds from crawling up through any exits.
Construct Your Raised Bed
Constructing your own raised bed is easy and affordable. Using untreated pine planks will only cost you around $50 along with its stakes.
It takes less than an hour to complete the entire build, and you too can easily replace each board if necessary without taking the whole bed apart due to the nature of its build.
What You’ll Need:
- Planks (cut according to your desired size)
- Rubber mallet
- Cardboard or newspaper
1. Position your boards
- Lay down the first four boards on a level section of the ground with their inner corners touching.
- Stand one longboard on one side and using a rubber mallet, hammer two pieces of stakes into the ground one foot from each corner.
2. Align all sides
- Hammer the stakes at each center for temporary support.
- Next, align the second long side by adjusting the alignment of your frame when necessary.
- Hammer the stakes a little bit deeper on the second long side, 1 foot from each corner.
3. Make it sturdy
- Dive more stakes from each corner of the short sides. Don’t forget to remove the temporary support after.
- Next, add two more pieces of stakes 2 feet apart along each long side. Doing this will support the frame when filled with soil.
- Then dive in more, leaving the stakes exposed only 6 to 10 inches of its part above ground.
4. Fill it up
- Finally, fill the frame with soil, then you’re good to go.
Alternative Materials for Raised Bed Construction
There are various possibilities for building materials such as:
You can weave a raised bed frame from the long and flexible sticks of the wattle. Collecting sticks and assembling them with your kids can be quite fun too.
Logs are a less expensive material for a raised bed. If you’ve cleared a tree just recently, choose straight pieces that are at least a foot in diameter.
Concrete blocks are common items that you see every day. Other than building a wall, they usually do not have much use.
Well, why not try using concrete blocks in building your raised bed? Using the concrete blocks as a raised bed is one of the best options you can try.
Can I Build My Raised Bed Garden?
Yes! It is an easy DIY project. You can easily construct a raised bed yourself by following our easy-to-follow guides.
What Type of Material Do I Use?
Raised garden beds can be constructed out of any building material like rocks, bricks, concrete blocks, or even engineered wall blocks. All works fine. You can use composite decking materials too.
To save cash, reusing materials can be a wise option. Recycled building materials are now increasingly popular. You may find them high-quality and affordable materials for this project.
Since raised beds are often used to grow edibles, lumber is the most common material used in building them.
Pressure-treated lumber sold in the U.S. for residential purposes can be used to build a raised bed. It no longer contains arsenic compounds. But, to be safe in growing organic veggies, it is best to opt for untreated lumber.
Redwood, cedar, and cypress are rot-resistant woods, so they are more expensive compared to regular wood like pine. Rot-resistant woods usually lasts 10-20 years.
Pine lumber can be an affordable alternative if you are on a tight budget. However, it will only last 5 – 10 years.
What is an Ideal Size of a Raised Bed?
To make your weeding and harvesting activity manageable, your raised bed should not be more than 4 feet across, while 6 to 8 feet long is ideal and cost-effective.
If you wish to accommodate strong roots, the ideal height of your raised bed garden should measure not less than 10 – 14 inches.
How Tall Should a Raised Bed Be?
Most of raised beds range from 6 to 12 inches, but some gardeners prefer 36 inches high.
Deeper beds hold more soil, and more soil retains more moisture. In short, more depth will save you time when watering your plants.
But, the taller the sides, the more weight of the soil has on them. You may need to use a thicker wood or sturdy cross supports to prevent the wood from bending.
Pros and Cons of a Raised Bed Garden
When you prefer to garden a raised bed, there are plenty of advantages you can enjoy. However, there are a few disadvantages you need to consider too before setting one up.
#1 – Early Growing Seasons
Raised beds can heat up quicker in the spring. They offer improved drainage for your plants’ roots compared to their in-ground counterparts.
As a result, raised beds allow you to start your growing season early and you’ll have more time to grow your favorite flowers or vegetables.
#2 – Safe From Foot Traffic
The risk of trampling your plants by guests, children, and pets are a common problem for in-ground beds. Raised beds elevate your plants, so it is safe from foot traffic. It also protects the soil from compaction.
#3 – Accommodate More Plants
Raised beds can accommodate more plants, even in a small backyard garden. It allows tighter spacing of plants within the actual bed. It will let you grow more of your favorite plants in one area.
#4 – Outsmart The Rocks
Rocky soil is terrible for vegetable plants. Raised beds allow its deep roots to grow without a fight with a tiller or shovel.
#5 – Out-Win The Slope
If your garden is a little bit sloped, having a raised bed will prevent your soil from washing away. Raised bed vegetable gardens can be an excellent way to hold your garden soil.
#6 – Go Ergonomic
Raised bed gardens also mean less bending in gardening. It is particularly useful if physical garden limitations are a reality for you.
#7 – Manage Weeds Better
Raised bed vegetable gardens keep weeds from creeping in surrounding pathways. If you deal with a lot of weeds in your garden, then a raised garden bed can be beneficial.
#8 – Rise Above The Water
Do you live in a forever wet climate or live in an area with standing water? Raised beds will save your vegetable roots from drowning. Raised beds also allow aeration at the root level.
#1 – Limiting Soil Manipulation
Raised bed vegetable gardens do not work well with a tiller, so you’ll have to manage them by hand. Whether to use a digging fork or a spade, you’ll need to get some support behind the tool to work the soil.
#2 – Excessive Heat
Raised beds require extra care compared to in-ground beds. Prompt increased heat can increase the risk of dryness and plant dehydration during the summer. Extra watering using your garden hose and the use of extra mulch is necessary to shield and cool the soil.
#3 – Extra Construction Cost
Most gardeners use materials such as bricks, rocks, or lumber to create frames to hold the soil in its place.
Yet, it requires extra time and money to construct and set up. You also need to fix and maintain the frame to enjoy its benefits annually.
#4 – Poor Air Circulation
Poor air circulation can increase moisture levels among the plants, which increases the risk of plant diseases. Squeezing more plants into a tight space reduces air circulation.
There you have it! I hope you enjoyed this easy-to-follow guide on building a raised bed for your vegetable garden.
Choosing what kind of materials to use and the size of your raised bed is your personal choice. Enjoy building it at your own comfort level.
If you have other useful ideas you want to share, please head over to the comments section below to let me know so we can add it to this list.