Raised Garden Bed

Benefits of a Raised Garden Bed

Raised gardens are a great way to grow vegetables and flowers. Here are some of the benefits of a raised bed:
1. Less weeds – since you have control of the soil weeds are less of an issue and easier to control
2. Animal control – if your raised bed is high enough it will be automatically protected from skunks, gophers and possum. You can also build a cover using chicken wire to protect young plants from squirrels and raccoons.
3. Easy to work – Soil is less compact making it easier to work
4. Extend Growing Season – Raised beds warm up quickly and freeze later. That means you can get a head start on the growing season and do more succession planting. It is also easier to cover if there is a risk of frost.
5. Less bending – Saves back strain and makes working in the garden more pleasant.
6. Start with great soil – When planting a garden directly in the ground, you start with the soil that’s already there, and that soil might not be ideal for gardening. However, when working with a raised garden bed, you choose the soil.
7. Location – Choose a place that gets at least 6 hours of sun per day, away from tree roots on a flat surface. Being able to place your bed ensures the best location for growing.
8. Wheelchair access – Raised beds allow those who are wheelchair bound to garden with ease.
9. Better aeration and drainage – The soil used in a raised bed allows for better aeration and drainage as compared to growing on the ground.
10. No soil compaction – Since you can’t walk on it, it cannot become compacted.
11. Higher yields – Raised beds offer richer soil allowing for better yields. Square foot gardening is also an option.
12. Water with ease – You know exactly where to water and no water is wasted.
13. Go vertical – A variety of trellis or climbing materials can be added to grow up instead of out.

How to Build a Raised Garden
Materials Required
A. 6 – 1 X 10 X 8 – Common pine boards
A1. 2 of these cut in half for the ends (4 pieces)
B. 2 – 2 X 2 X 6 – Common pine boards
C. 3 – 2 X 4 X 4 – Common pine boards
C1. Cut into 6 – 21 inch pieces – supports

Chicken wire – 2 – 4 1/2 foot strips
Deck screws – about 20
Drill
Staple Gun
Wire cutter
Do not use pressure treated wood, it can leach chemicals into the soil. Common pine or cedar boards are recommended. Most lumbar stores will cut the wood for a minimal cost.
Make the ends first by attaching 2 parts (A1) to 2 parts C1. (C1) will have an extra inch which can either be used to bury into the ground for extra support or be used to attach a cover or vertical support. Do this twice.
Attach 2 of the (A) boards to side. Attaching the bottom piece first is the easiest. Do this twice.

raised bed

Attach 2 supports (C1) in the middle (Middle (C1) supports not shown in photo). You now have a basic frame.
Staple about 2 – 4 ½ foot pieces of chicken wire to both ends of (B). Screw (B)’s to inside of end and you now have a raised bed. Be sure to place on flat surface that gets at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. It is also important to have a path around the bed to walk.
Soil for a Raised Garden Bed
Most important factor for a raised bed is that the soil is friable. Friable soil is crumbly in texture.

soil for raised beds

Before adding soil, you should place a bottom layer of cardboard, brown bags, newspaper or garden fabric to prevent weeds.
There are a few formulas for raised bed soil.

mix

The most common combination for raised beds is an equal amount of:
1/3 Compost
1/3 Vermiculite
1/3 Peat Moss
Compost can be from your own, purchased or can be animal compost
Coconut coir is more sustainable and can be used instead of peat moss

Growing medium

Pro-Mix is a formula that contains both vermiculite and peat moss already mixed. This can be used along with compost to create a fantastic mix.
Make Your Own Compost

compost