How to Build a Raised Garden Bed

A Step-by-Step Guide to Building an Easy DIY Raised Garden Bed

March 10, 2021
Raised Bed Gardening Slide
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Learn how to build a raised bed—cheaply and easily—for your garden. No special DIY skills required! To get started, here is a super-simple raised bed setup. We’ll also tell you what kind of material to use, how to fill a raised bed, how large a raised bed should be, and what to plant in a raised bed. Enjoy our Raised Bed Gardening Guide!

What Is a Raised Garden Bed?

A raised garden bed (or simply “raised bed”) is a freestanding box or frame—traditionally with no bottom or top—that sits aboveground in a sunny spot and is filled with good-quality soil. Raised beds are usually open on the bottom so that the plant roots can access soil nutrients below ground level.

At its simplest, you could even build a raised bed without a frame, and simply mound the soil 6 to 8 inches high and flatten the top. This requires no additional materials (beyond soil).

Benefits of Raised Garden Beds

Grouping together several raised beds makes for a substantial vegetable garden that is easy to maintain, with no weeding and crops that mature fast.

In raised beds, you will be planting seeds and transplants closer because the beds are smaller and the soil is richer. However, plants grown close together in raised beds mature faster, since they compete for nutrients and sunlight. Each plant senses the distance of others and adjusts its metabolism to compete. Several university studies have proven this “competition syndrome” by identifying how plants perceive others nearby using the green light spectrum.

Here are more benefits to raised garden beds:

  • Garden chores are made easier and more comfortable thanks to less bending and kneeling. Save your knees and back from the strain and pain of tending the garden!
  • Productivity of plants is improved due to better drainage and deeper rooting.
  • Raised beds are ideal for small spaces where a conventional row garden might be too wild and unwieldy. Raised beds help to keep things organized and in check.
  • Planting in a raised bed gives you full control over soil quality and content, which is especially important in areas where the existing ground soil is rocky, nutrient-poor, or riddled with weeds.
  • Raised beds allow for a longer growing season, since the soil raised above the ground warms up more quickly.
  • Fewer weeds are seen in raised beds because the beds are elevated away from surrounding weeds and filled with disease- and weed-free soil.
  • Raised beds allow for easier square-foot gardening and companion planting.

Learn more about the benefits of raised garden beds

Image: Raised bed gardening. Credit: CJP/Getty Images.
Image: Raised bed gardening. Credit: CJP/Getty Images.

Choosing the Right Wood for Raised Beds

Raised beds can be made out of quite a few different materials, but the most common one is wood. However, many people are concerned about the safety of their wood frame. Rest assured that CCA pressure-treated wood is now banned, as it was known to leach arsenic, and you won’t find it in stores. Today, safely treated and untreated woods are available.

  • Untreated wood will start to rot relatively quickly, depending on the type. There are exceptions, though: Cedar is the top choice for raised beds because this durable wood is naturally rot-resistant and can last 10 to 15 years. It is also insect-resistant because of oils in the wood. The downside is that it’s expensive.
  • Modern treated wood has chemicals to prevent rotting. Studies have shown that any compounds that leach out are well within safe levels established by the EPA, however some gardeners feel uncomfortable with treated wood. If you are concerned about using treated timbers, line the inside of the bed walls with polyethylene.
  • Another option is to simply choose much thicker boards of untreated wood. For example, a 2-inch-thick board of larch wood should last a decade without treatment. 

Alternatives to traditional wood planks include:

  • Railroad ties (treated) are easy because you can simply lay them on the ground and drive in iron spikes. Railroad ties treated with creosote do not appear to pose any health problems because most of the creosote has leached away. 
  • Pallets can be a cheap source for garden bed materials, as long as you know where they came from. Pallets are developed for shipping materials. Avoid pallets that are also treated with a chemical called methyl bromide, a known endocrine disruptive chemical which can impact your reproductive health. Most pallet producers stopped using the chemical in 2005, but many old pallets are still out there. Look for a stamp on the pallet that says “HT” or heat treated. If there is no stamp or you can’t verify an HT on the surface, don’t use the pallet in your garden. 
  • Stone or concrete blocks and bricks can be used. However, keep in mind that concrete will increase the soil pH over time, and you may have to amend the soil.
  • Stone walls make interesting beds and have a rustic feel; if stone is easily available on your land, this could be a great option; otherwise, stone can be pricey.
  • Composite wood is a newer product made from both recycled plastic and wood fibers. It’s rot-resitant and long-lasting, but also very expensive.

Another fast, cheap method of building raised beds is to use concrete construction (cinder) blocks. Their holes can be filled with soil mix and planted with herbs or strawberries. The extra gathered heat from concrete is perfect for Mediterranean-type herbs such as rosemary and lavender. Strawberry plants grow huge and fruit fast in the holes. Each block is 16 inches long by 8 inches high; the price at big box stores is most reasonable. Beds of 13 feet or longer by 4 feet wide are cheaper to build using blocks than with cedar boards.

How Big Should Your Raised Bed Be?

  • We recommend a maximum of 4-feet across. (Lumber is often cut in 4-foot increments.)
  • Do not go wider than 4-feet width so that you can access the garden without stepping into the bed (which compacts the soil, making it harder for plant roots to get the oxygen they need). Making the bed too wide will make it difficult to reach the middle, which makes weeding and harvesting difficult, too. 
  • If your raised bed is being built against a wall or fence, we recommend making it 2 to 3 feet wide, since you’ll only be able to access the garden from one side. 
  • Length isn’t as important. So, your raised bed can be 4 x 4 feet or 4 x 8 feet or 4 x 12 feet. Make your bed as long as you like or build multiple raised beds for different crops!

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How Deep Should a Raised Bed Be?

The most basic height for raised beds is 6 inches. This is about the width of one standard 2 inch x 6 inch board. (Note that boards bought at a lumber yard are actually 1.5″ thick x 5.5” high.)

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The most popular height for raised beds is about 1 foot. (If buying boards at a lumber yard, that’s 11 inches high. This is the height of two stacked “2 x 6″ boards.)

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You can certainly go taller (18 inches, 24 inches, 36 inches), but note that the weight of the added soil will add pressure to the sides. You’ll need to add cross-supports to any bed over 12 inches high.

The depth of the soil itself is very important and depends on which crops you wish to grow, as well as how much soil is above the ground versus below the ground.

  • Shallow-rooted crops (such as lettuce, greens, and onions) need a minimum soil depth of 6 inches.

  • Deep-rooted crops such as carrots, parsnips, potatoes, tomatoes, and squash need a minimum soil depth of 12 to 18 inches. If plants don’t have loose soil to this depth, the roots will not be able to go down deep enough to access nutrients.

Whatever height you choose for your frame, you’ll need to loosen the soil below the ground accordingly. For example, if you have a bed that’s 6 inches high, we recommend loosening the soil below the ground about 6 to 9 more inches if you wish to grow root vegetables. If you are only growing shallow-rooted crops, there’s no need.

You can certainly build beds of different depths in your garden! If you’re growing shallow-rooted crops, it would be a waste of soil to build a bed that’s 11 inches in height.

Where to Put a Raised Bed

Before you even get started, see if you have a good location for a raised garden bed.

  • Most vegetables need 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight a day (“full sun”), especially from lunchtime onwards.
  • Level, even ground. 
  • Close to the house for easy access for weeding and harvesting
  • Do not site your bed in a windy location nor in a frost pocket. 
  • Soil needs to drain well, so avoid any wet or marshy areas.

Preparing the Site: “No-Dig” Aboveground Method

In spring, get ready to prepare your choosen site for raised garden bed(s).

Some gardeners will cut and roll up the turf. Many gardeners do not find it’s necessary to clear the ground as the soil will block out the grass and weeds beneath. Gardener Charles Dowding, who founded the “no-dig” method, has had great success with just adding 4 to 6 inches of organic matter onto cardboard over pasture/grass, producing masses of crops in his first year of a new bed. His philosophy is that diggingbrings weed seeds to the soil surface, creating more weeding. It hastens nutrient loss, so you’ll need to feed plants more often. And it rips apart the complex life and very fabric of your soil, reducing its ability to both drain properly and retain moisture. 

  1. Simply mow off the grass or weeds as close to the ground. 

  2. Then cover the area with cardboard which will rot down into the soil. (Make sure you pick off any tape and staples, which won’t decompose.)

  3. Be sure to overlap the cardboard/newspaper (by about 6 inches) to ensure no weeds slip through cracks.

  4. You’ll be adding your growing medium such as compost on top. (See how to fill your raised bed lower on this page.)

It’s fine to get on and plant immediately after setting up. By the time the roots reach the cardboard, it will have started to break down and the roots will be able to search deeper beyond that cardboard layer.

The compost that you add on top should gradually become incorporated with the soil beneath, through the actions of worms etc. Beds will need topping up with fresh organic matter (an inch or two) each fall/winter, which will help to gradually improve the fertility and health of the soil, including that below the level of the raised bed. This means you should be fine growing deeper-rooted veggies like root crops. 

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Preparing the Site: Digging Belowground Option

In soils that are damaged by compaction or have other problems, digging below the ground may be necessary to help build up the soil. It’s hard work if your soil is compacted but it only needs to be done once. This is most important for deep-rooted crops such as carrots which do better in soil that has been loosened and amended down to 10 to 12 inches to allow the air and water to get to the plants’ roots. 

  1. Mark the area with a hose or string. If possible, use a leveler to make sure the ground is flat or a very slight slope (with water running away from area).
  2. Remove the top layer (about a shovel’s depth or 10 inches); it may be easiest to work in rows.
  3. Remove all rocks, old roots, and plant debris.
  4. Dig down a little further with the shovel (a few more inches) to just loosen up the soil. 
  5. Mix the soil with organic matter such as compost. We recommend that the compost make up about 25% of your soil. 
  6. Then return the top layer and mix the soil layers together. 

Learn more about soil preparation and how to build up your garden soil

Building a Simple Raised 4x4 Garden Bed

It’s fine to buy a commercial raised garden kit, but they can have cringe-worthy prices. You don’t need to spend that kind of money to build your own four-by-four-foot bed (or even a 20-foot-long one).

We’ll show you how to build a 4x4-foot raised bed, which is a good beginner template because you can walk around the entire garden easily.

This 4x4-foot bed is crowded with productive peppers, cucumbers, a tomato plant and insect-repelling flowers that are edible.
This 4x4-foot bed is crowded with productive peppers, cucumbers, a tomato plant and insect-repelling flowers that are edible.

Materials

  • Two 2x6-inch cedar boards, which don’t rot with age. They come in 8-foot lengths, which is perfect for 4x4-foot beds. You’ll need to cut each plank in half, so that it is 4-feet long. Or, you can have a home improvement/lumber store make the cuts. Many places will do it for free.

  • 3-foot length of a 1x1-inch pine stake; you’ll need to cut it into four pieces, which you’ll add to the corners of the frame for bracing.

  • Deck/exterior screws

Tools

  • If cutting the planks yourself: Hand saw, tape measure
  • Drill/driver and bits, screwdriver

Make the Bed Sides 

  1. If your two 8-foot long boards were not pre-cut at the lumber store, mark off the half way point and cut each plank in half for a 4 ft x 4 foot bed. Then you’ll have four planks. 
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  2. You’ll screw the planks together using decking screws. Two holes at the end of each plank is sufficient. Drill pilot holes using a drill bit slightly thinner than the screws themselves. One end of each plank will overlap the end of the next and screw directly into it, so position your pilot holes correspondingly.
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  3. If you’d like extra bracing and a sturdier frame, cut your pine stake into four pieces and use them to nail the boards at the corners for bracing. 
    how to build raised garden beds

Assemble the Raised Bed

With all the wood cut to size and the holes drilled, we’re ready to begin putting together the bed.

  1. Lay down the beds. The walls need to be laid out so that each plank overlaps the next with the pilot holes located at the overlapping end.
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  2. Screw the walls together with long screws so that each wall is probably secured to the next.
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    We want a snug, close fit. 
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Fill the Bed

  1. Fill your bed with a nutrient-rich compost mix (homemade or commercially-produced). 
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  2.  Then, top the compost with enriched top soil especially formulated for vegetable gardening. It has a fine texture to allow for immediate sowing and planting. 
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  3. Fill your beds all the way up! The soil will settle, especially with watering. As it settles, you can always top off with compost.
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That’s it! Your bed is ready for seeds and plants. 

Watch our friend Ben share more tips and demonstrate how to build this raised bed in this video:

Filling a Raised Bed

The most important part of any garden is the soil, and the more organic matter it contains, the better. Soil microbes are fed, oxygen and water readily reach roots, and plants thrive as a result. Here is the balance to aim for:

  • 40% compost: Compost is packed with nutrients for plants. While you can compost at home, it can also be purchased in bags from your local garden center. Aged manure can also be used, but you can NOT put fresh manure directly in your garden. Learn more about manure.
  • 40% topsoil: In terms of topsoil, we’re not talking about “potting soil,” as it’s too fluffy for raised beds. You’ll also find bagged topsoil at a garden center or local farm supply or lumber store. 
  • 20% aeration: In terms of aeration, a lot of bagged soil mixes already contain some perlite, pumice, or rice hulls. If not, you need to add something for drainage. Lava rock is also a good aerator for drainage.

If you are filling a lot of raised beds, we’d recommend that you look into a local landscape company for build soil and compost mixes which should be cheaper. But if you’re just filling up a small bed, bagged is the way to go.

There are two approaches to filling your bed:

  1. Some folks pour in the compost (or composted manure) first and then add the topsoil (as shown in the video above).
  2. Other folks add the ingredients in layers like lasagna, mixing as they go. 

Do whatever is easier for you!

At the end of the growing season, in fall or winter, top off your raised beds with more compost. As it get worked into the soil, it will improve the fertility and will be all set for planting by spring.

Raised Garden Bed Soil Mix

Here’s the recipe we’ve developed in the last decade that works best for our garden beds.

For one 4 x 4-foot raised bed. (Multiply amounts to fill larger beds.)

  • 4-cubic-feet of top soil
  • 3-cubic-feet of coconut coir (Note: Traditionally, peat moss has been used as a component of garden soil, but given that it is not a sustainable material, we recommend using coconut coir instead.)
  • 2 to 3-cubic feet of compost or composted manure
  • 2-inch layer of shredded leaves or grass clippings.

If you use grass clippings, make sure they are not from a lawn that has been sprayed with herbicides or been fertilized with a food that contains granular herbicides to kill weeds. Both persist and will kill plants up to three years after the initial application.

Mix all materials with a hoe or cultivator and water well. Be sure to mulch well with organic matter such as more leaves or clippings or straw.

In the first year, you probably won’t need much added plant fertilizer or go light on the fertilizer. But in following years, as your food crops suck up all the nutrients, your soil will need some amending with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer (or more compost). See How and When to Fertilize Your Garden.

Once you plant, you’ll want to top off your bed with some mulch (leaves, straw, pine needles, or more compost) to retain moisture and suppress weeds. Read all about mulching here.

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What to Plant in Raised Beds

If you’re a beginner gardener, we’d advise that you start with one raised bed and try your hand at growing some of your favorite vegetables. Utlimately, four or five raised beds grouped together makes a good-sized garden.

What you grow is only limited by the depth of your soil—which is the depth of your raised bed plus the depth of the soil you dug and loosened below ground.

What grows well in 6” soil depth:
Lettuce, salad greens, spinach, onions, leeks, radishes, strawberries, basil, chives, cilantro, dill, mint, oregano, parsley, thyme, marigolds, and other annual flowers

What grows well in 12” soil depth:
Beans, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cantaloupe, carrots, cauliflower, collards, cucumbers, garlic, kale, summer squash, Swiss chard, turnips, lavender, rosemary, sage, borage, calendula, cosmos, lantana, nasturtiums, snapdragons, sweet alyssum (plus everything in the 6” list)

What grows well in 18” soil depth:
Eggplant, okra, peppers, pumpkins sweet potatoes, tomatoes, watermelon, and winter squash (plus everything in the 6” and 12” lists)

For ideas, we have some sample raised bed vegetable garden plans—with plant lists!

Also, note that many vegetables grow best from seed, but some plants do better as young starter plants (especially tomatoes and peppers). See how to start seeds or plants.

Planning a Raised Bed Garden

To plan out the perfect garden for your space, try the Almanac Garden Planner! In minutes, you can create a garden plan right on your computer.

The Garden Planner even has a “Raised Garden Bed” feature. It also has a specific square-foot gardening (SFG) feature, which involves dividing the bed into squares to make the organization of your garden a lot simpler.

Raised garden bed. Photo by Oregon State University/Wikimedia Commons.
Square-foot gardening in a raised bed. Photo by Oregon State University/Wikimedia Commons.

Whichever garden you select, the Garden Planner will show you the number of crops that fit in each space so you don’t waste seed or overcrowd. There’s also a companion planting selector so you pair or group crops that thrive together.

Test out our Garden Planner with a free 7-day trial—plenty of time to play around and plan your first garden! 

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Learn More

  • Check out our Plant Growing Guides for advice on growing all of the most popular vegetables, fruit, herbs, and flowers.
  • See the Planting Calendar to find out the best days to plant all your common vegetables, herbs, and fruit.

Have you ever thought about building your own raised garden bed? Or do you have one already? Tell us about it below!

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Reader Comments

Leave a Comment

Soup kitchen garden

Hi! I am planning a raised soup kitchen garden - that table of ingredients will be super helpful, thank you - and am struggling to find information on garden layouts for that purpose. Can you possible point me at some resources? Google is not helpful at all and as I am unemployed I can't afford to buy books as well as volunteer my time and muscles. Thank you.

Free Kitchen Garden Layouts

The Editors's picture

Hi Tessa, Yes! We have loads of free kitchen garden layouts. They are not categorized for “soup” but this should get you started: https://www.almanac.com/content/kitchen-garden-layouts-potager

You can find hundreds more kitchen garden planners on the Almanac Garden Planner. It’s free for 7 days which is ample time to get ideas and see if you like it!
Go to: https://gardenplanner.almanac.com/

raised bed for blueberries

Hi, I'm moving my blueberries next year to different location because they are not happy where they are now. Too many trees from the neighbors next door and an easterly location. The new location will be next to my garage and closer for watering and a southern/east/west location. I want to plant them in a moderate raised bed mainly for protection from my bulldozing hubby that wants to mow down everything. Will this work. I've already started prepping the area with newspaper and dried leaves from last year covered with cardboard and a tarp. How much more will I need to add to the soil when planting. Thank you so much for your advice in advance

Pressure Treated Garden Bed

Hello! We built a 4 x 8 raised garden bed with pressure treated (copper azole) wood but after some research I have read that this is not a good choice when using it to plant veggies but I have also heard that it is not a big deal. I am a first time gardener and was wondering if anyone else has any experience with this. I would hate to have to toss this perfectly good box that we just built but I also dont want to get sick from poisoning. Thank you for the help!

Pressure Treated Lumber for Raised Garden Beds

The Editors's picture

In the end, it comes down to personal choice and comfort. CA (copper azole) treated lumber has been known to leach copper into the soil over time, but the amount is very minimal, and the amount that subsequently makes it into the plants is even more minimal. For you to get sick, you would have to eat nothing but the veggies from the raised bed for years and years. However, some folks prefer to not take the risk and either use natural wood (like cedar) or put down a thick plastic liner between the treated lumber and the soil. 

Here is more info on the subject from Iowa State University Extension: https://www.extension.iastate.edu/smallfarms/toxicity-concerns-about-raised-bed-construction-materials

asparagus

How would asparagus do in a metal raised bed (horse trough) where there is a metal floor? Would a 1' depth be enough or would 2' be smarter? There is a drainage plug at the base. I'm guessing maybe line the bottom with gravel or rock? Thanks for your help.

plant asparagus in a raised bed

The Editors's picture

Asparagus does not like to have its feet “wet,” so be sure that your garden bed has good drainage. For that reason, raised beds can be a good place to plant asparagus.

CCA myth

Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA) lumber is still produced for primarily marine applications but was voluntarily removed by the manufacturing companies from residential applications in 2004 due to consumer concerns. Since the EPA assumed responsibility for chemical pesticides in 1970, CCA lumber has never been suggested for retirement or voiced concern about leaching. They always warned against burning due the concentrate produced. That said, I prefer eastern red cedar due to it being superior in longevity, locally available and, frankly, an invasive species following cleared forests. I also prefer the asthetic of cedar.

Sloped Ground

You do not need level ground to build a raised bed garden. I built one on a significant slope using 6x6 timbers, stacked three high on the lower end like a retaining wall. Filled it with good soil and it produces well. It's about 12 x 14, so it's one you walk on, not one you simply reach into. I plan to add onto it this spring.

Blight

I have 4 smaller raised beds 2 years ago I noticed all my tomatoes were getting black spots while small and green and would be rotted with blight by the time they were red.
Last year I moved them to a different one of the 4 and separated them to make sure air flow was achievable they not only got the black spot but so did everything else in all 4 beds. I sprayed over the counter fugicides and treatment.
Is this a common thing?
How do I get my garden back?

Blight

Stop the fungicide treatment - this is not a fungus. Take three or four calcium tablets (like Tums), crush them with the back side of a shovel (use a stone or a brick) and add this powder to a watering can. You have calcium deficiency in your soil. This should take care of your bottom black spot 90% of the time.

compound wall garden

Dear sir,

i would like to construct garden on top of the compound wall. tank Depth x width is 300x300mm.

is it enough size for gardening.?

Please clarify.

300mm x 300mm

That's only about one foot by one foot. Can't grow anything but a flower in that size plot.

raised beds

I have been working with raised garden beds for at least ten years, in both the damp west coast climate of British Columbia and now in the two season sub-tropical southern Andes of Ecuador. I have used 'used' wood in both locations but in BC it was cedar and was perfect. I think the used planks here are mostly pine and they started rotting after one year. it is very humid and rains a lot in the, ahem rainy season. I have just re-located my veg garden and used the outer cuts of logs which are fresh, cheap, thick and really wonderful to look at. I am not into perfection so there is a bit of uneveness but my carpenter friend and i did our best and he evened up one connection of the boards. Otherwise i suppose the ideal would have been to take a better look and saw and smooth a bit before putting in place. What I know, however, is that once things are growing vigorously no one is really going to notice. and these cuts should last a long time. These cuts BTW all provide at minimum a ten inch depth and were ten feet long so that pleases me. They have been laid on top of stoney, poor soil and I just push up the stones and whatever earth there is against the bottom edges. Having already positioned the other boxes this way i know that the soil in the bottom still becomes quite rich and the stones provided excellent drainage. I cleared most of the compost into a new box, and have laid out sweet potatos on the used ground patch. This original area was covered with a couple layers of cardboard, the boxes put in place and filled - lasagna style - and then I laid out wood shavings surrounding the boxes. Anything that self seeds has found its way in between the boxes. LOL Remember this place never has winter, so I have borage, plantain ( a medicinal plant here), and arugula (rocket) popping up. It's actually quite pretty. Again, I am not into perfection so this wildness provides grazing for me and the bees and I am leaving most of this for now. I amy put in a fruit tree int his area. A blogger from the northern states said he didnt care about the unkind comments about not cleaning up between his boxes. He figures bugs need to eat something so he finds they go after most of the weeds and leave his boxes alone. I like this philosophy but my garden was much prettier!;)

Starting a raised garden at school

We are starting a raised garden bed project at our local elementary school. We are excited to use the great tips you have here! Thank you

Raised beds

I moved from Minnesota, USA to West Virginia, USA, so I went from USDA Zone 4 to USDA Zone 6. That's the good news. I'm now living in an apartment which is right up against a mountain. The mountain has a "knee" about 1-2 ft high about 6-8 ft wide; it rises up sharply after that. It's also rocky - the rocks rise right up through the soil. The soil here is heavy clay, and it rains all the time. I decided to locate the raised beds on the knees of the mountain in order to get as much drainage as possible, and having the beds raised will improve the drainage more. I can put better soil in the beds than the clay: I spent three years amending heavy clay soil in Minnesota, so I know it can be done but it's a lot of work. (I have to say that the soil here is really rich.) Naturally, with a mountain as a neighbor and practically a roommate, I have deer, raccoons, and possums. I will have to screen the gardens in order to keep the critters out. I'm also going to grow some veggies in pots on the deck in front. Luckily, it faces south, and the area behind the house gets full sun as well. I didn't move in early enough this year to start the gardens, so I'm preparing everything for next year. I was able to start the compost heap, but the weeds are high and we have copperhead snakes too (which lurk in the weeds). I'm pulling the weeds out to make a safe path to get to the compost, and putting the weeds in when I get there. I found a neighbor who has some old hay bales and he said I could have them for mulch.

My raised garden in Sydney NS

Constructed as a birthday gift for my wife, I built the raised vegetable bed 15L'x5'W and 14" deep from old deck placed down side up on 4"x4" deck legs. Extra 8x1 sides added to give it the 14" depth. 3/4" electric pipes were use to create arches above the bed were 40% sun blocking canopy net was placed (mostly against the almost constant wind gales) . The irrigation system is built with rain barrel as water source feed into wetness controlled ceramic cone pegs. The ceramic cone pegs have the ability to sense the wetness level underground and automatically draw what ever level of water the roots need by triggering the water valve control in the rain barrel. The rain barrel placed at 100 cm height above the raised bed to provide the require one atmospheric pressure the irrigation system requires.

Cat toilet

My cat used my raised garden bed for a cat toilet and some neighbor cats, also. Do I replace the soil I put in last spring? I have turned the soil in the bed.

cat toilet

You don't need to replace the soil, but wash your hands thoroughly after gardening and wash your produce well too. If pregnant, be especially careful due to risk of toxoplasmosis.

I lay sticks in a criss cross pattern over bare soil to discourage cats from enjoying my nice loose garden soil for a toilet. Luckily my cat thinks it is uncivilized to go in the outdoors, but there are some ferals in the area.

Cat Toilet

I had that same problem with neighbor cats. I scooped out the poop and I scooped very deeply. I would never dig cat poop in! How disgusting is that! Plus it acts like an attractant. I inserted sticks everywhere. Small sticks, large sticks, and everything in between. I inserted them about 6 to 12 inches apart. It seemed to train them not to use my garden as it was no longer easily accessible. I pushed them in about 2 inches and about 4-6 inches apart. It made it difficult for the little buggers to get in and do their thing. I also covered my garden with pieces of card board and news paper during the off season. It trained them to move on or get lost. Any way they stay away from my garden

Raised Beds on Legs

This year I had to remove my raised beds to make room for a goat barn. I've decided to build new beds on legs, approx. 12" off the ground. My previous beds would fill with wire grass (Bermuda?) so bad every year it was impossible to keep them out. Landscape fabric didn't do a thing to block it. So now I'm building off the ground to avoid that issue. What I'm wondering is how high do the bed sides need to be since they're completely off the ground and won't have the benefit of the ground soil below? Will 12" of soil be enough? I had thought I'd use hardware cloth and landscape fabric in the bottoms with 2x4 supports every few feet to hold the soil's weight. I plan to build each one 4 ft x 8 ft x whatever height I need for soil. Any suggestions on height?

Raised Bed Height

The Editors's picture

Making them 2 to 3 feet deep would be ideal. To grow the healthiest plants, 2 feet is great, but if that’s too deep for you, 18 inches is fine. 

Raised beds

You should make sure the bottom of your raised bed on legs has a secure bottom I bought one I did the proper layering then watered.I came out next morning and the bottom fell out I rescued a few plants and promptly turned it upside down and use it as a raised bed on the ground I am short so it was better for me.You can buy brackets that secure the bottom if need fixing.

plastic sides in place of boards

Is it OK to use plastic boards for the sides? I'm thinking of the type of recycled plastic that is often used for benches or boardwalks these days. They seem very sturdy and of course won't rot. But do they leach chemicals? I see them often use das boardwalks in sensitive-drainage areas e.g. wetlands.

RAISED BEDS

I've been using "plastic lumber" for raised beds for over 10 years with no problems, just use plastic stakes for the longest run and you'll be fine.

Bindweed

Been killing about a 10' x 10' patch of bindweed in part of my garden plot. I have dug, tilled, pulled, and finally sprayed with Hi-Yield 2,4-D Amine a selective weed killer". It's still growing and coming back. I'd like to make a raised strawberry patch in this area. How oh how can I rid myself of this horrible weed whose roots can go to 40' depths I'm told! And how do I put my berries above this pest and not have the weed come up and in to the patch? Thank you for help and advice!

nasty bindweed

I would not use chemical herbicideds in my veg garden, but maybe you are growing ornamentals... Have you tried smothering the soil? The problem with tilling is that you probably have hundreds and hundreds if not thousands of seeds in your "seed bank", and each time you disturb the soil, you have more seeds germinating, not to mention the roots that keep regenerating plants. I would seriously consider covering the area with newspaper and then cardboard, and putting a good 12 inch layer of clean compost and soil on top of that. Plant what you want and be vigilant about weeding. Good luck!

Raise beds but higher

I have some problems with getting around so i thought i would build some raised beds but they set off the ground about 3 feet, that is the bottom of the bed. ? is what would be the best way to do the bottom of the bed. I thought to make a inner 2x4 and attach (?) to that. Wonder if i should go with a brace wood plank system and then but in metal mesh, and some stone for drainage. Any help or suggests please send to me address emails as garden helper at subject. Believe me i have went thru this a 100 times Please i need HELP, Thank's to you all ahead of time, GOD BLESS and happy Gardening

raised garden bed and cement ruble

Hi
I am new to gardening.We had some spare materials so we are making a raised garden bed out of sheet iron/old color bond roofing. Now we are in the process of filling it.We put cement chunks on the bottom at a height of around 8inches.The sides of the bed are 20inches in height.
My question is what do we fill the gaps with around the cement pieces with?gravel? sand?or just keep filling to the top with good organic soil?
And when the bottom 8inches is filled do I ad paper or something? or just top it up with organic soil?
Thanks in advance.

raised bed materials

The Editors's picture

We are not familiar with color bond roofing; a search suggests its an Australian product, so g’day! It may work as your wall but being metal it may also heat up more than natural materials (wood, say) and so conduct heat to the soil adjacent to it. Not necessarily a bad thing; it might depend on how hot it gets…and because of heat dries out the soil. Why 8 inches of concrete? What is underneath the concrete, soil? A hard surface? Is the 8 inches of concrete instead of soil, so you can save on soil? As for filling around the concrete, do some homework on what you want to grow. Some plants need a good 12 inches of soil, minimum, but some experts recommend up to two feet of soil so plants can spread their roots. You don’t want roots up against the concrete.  The soil will pack in around the concrete; so would sand, but sand does not benefit the roots; it helps—or increases—drainage, and you don’t want water to pour out. You could spread a little newspaper over the concrete but it will not last long; it may be better to fill with good organic soil and save the paper (newspaper) for possible use as mulch. To a certain extent, this will be an experimental season for you. Let us know how it goes!

 

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