One of the best ways to grow crops in your garden is in a raised garden bed. With a raised bed, you will find it easy to do your chores. After all, you won’t have to bend or kneel to care for your plants. The good drainage afforded by the raised bed also means improved productivity. If you have a small garden where it is impossible to plant in rows, then a raised garden is the way to go. You will have full control over the soil, especially when it comes to removing weeds.
In order to enjoy all these benefits, you should learn how to build a raised bed. That is the subject of this article. We are going to show you what it takes to come up with a good raised bed. Read on.
Choose a Suitable Location for the Bed
Before you start building a raised bed, you should choose an appropriate location. The most important things to consider are the availability of water and adequate sunshine. In that case, it should be next to a source of water. When it comes to the sunshine, the amount required will depend on the type of garden you are building. If you intend to plant herbs, vegetables, and flowers, the garden should be fully exposed to the sun. For plants that thrive in the shed, you can build the garden in a sheltered part of the garden. If you skip this step, then you will end up denying your plants the perfect conditions for growth.
Things You Will Need
You don’t need expensive materials for you to build a raised. Neither do you need to spend a lot of money on the project? With as little as $50 you can come up with a functional raised bed. It can take only an hour to build a raised bed when using untreated pine trunks. All that without requiring the help of a professional builder. The type of wood you choose will determine how long the bed lasts.
The following are the things you will need for a 4 by 8 bed:
- Two 2 by 12 planks of length 8 feet each
- Two 2 by 12 planks of length 4 feet each
- 12 pieces of rebar of length 2 feet each
- A rubber mallet
- Cardboard or newspaper
- Soil for filling the finished frame
At this point, you have already chosen the location of the raised bed and gathered all the required materials. Now you have to prepare the ground by laying cardboard over the area to be occupied by the raised bed. This is the best way to clear all the weeds and grass. However, make sure you remove staples and tapes from the cardboard. That way, the board will rot down the soil instead of lingering for too long.
Once you have removes the tape and cardboard, spread cardboard over the area, including the paths. Ensure you overlap the cardboard to prevent the penetration of any weeds. The best overlap should be 6 inches or more.
Building Your Raised Bed
Once the ground is covered, it is time to actualize the raised bed. You can do that by going through the following easy steps:
Step 1. Positioning the Boards
Lay boards on the ground ensuring that the inner corners touch one another. Place one of the longboards in a standing position. Use the rubber mallet to hammer two rebar pieces one foot from each corner. Push the rebar pieces deep into the ground by a few feet.
Step 2. Prop To the Shorter Sides
At the center of each of the short sides hammer a piece of rebar to provide support. Make the last long side stand and realign your frame where necessary. Hammer rebar in the same positions as the first long bar. Make the necessary alignment to ensure that your frame is sitting properly. Hammer the rebar pieces for each of the corners for the shortboard pieces.
Step 3. Reinforce the Support
Add two rebar pieces for the longer sides to ensure they are actually standing strong. When you finally fill your raised bed with soil, it will be properly reinforced. As a final reinforcement measure, harmer all the rebar pieces and leave between 6 and 10 inches exposed.
Step 4. Fill It Up
Check that the cardboard is well spread at the bottom. Wet it until you are sure it is thoroughly soaked. Fill the bed with soil and leave only a few inches at the top. Add compost from your garden to the soil to enrich it in terms of nutrients and moisture-retention abilities. Compost also contains quite a number of beneficial microorganisms that help your plants to grow fast. Only that the compost you use needs to be completely decomposed and fine enough to plant immediately. Once you finish planting, trim the cardboard on the sides of the bed to leave a path of green grass.
Choosing the Right Wood for a Raised Bed
Now that you know how to make a raised bed, just how do you choose the right wood for the frame? Before we tell you how to make a good choice of wood, we would like to caution you that arsenic-leaching pressure-treated wood is a no-no. However, that doesn’t mean that you pick wood that is only going to last a few months. Here is some advice on how to choose long-lasting pieces of wood.
Avoid regular pressure-treated wood which may contain chemicals meant to prolong its life. If you believe in preserving the environment, go for an alternative. If you are ready to pay the high price, buy cedar or other expensive woods, which are filled with natural oils that prevent rotting. With these woods, you pay more initially but get to use them for a long time to come. However, it is not just the type of wood that ensure it actually lasts long. The thickness of the board also plays a very important role. If you have 2-inch thick planks, you can expect them to last for a long time to come.
As you can see, building a raised bed is easy and simple. These guidelines will definitely help you build several raised beds side by side to grow a variety of herbs and vegetables. If you feel it’s more work and lots of time spent, you might want to read raised garden reviews to determine a good garden bed for your need. You can find lots of cheaper options designed to suit different tastes.