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How to Build a Raised Garden Bed

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A raised garden bed is an easy way to start gardening in your new home after you've moved. Instead of going through the process of digging up your backyard, you can easily create a raised garden bed that can be customized to fit your needs. Read on for tips on how to get started building your own raised garden bed.

Choose a location

No matter what you'd like to grow, a good rule of thumb for choosing a location to build a raised garden bed is to choose a spot that gets plenty of sunlight (around six to eight hours), is on flat ground and is close to a water source.

Size

Now that you've chosen a location to build your garden bed, you can decide how large you'll want it to be. Raised garden beds are great for beginner gardeners because you can create a garden that's easy to manage. A good starting size is about 4' x 4'. This will give you about 16 square feet of room to plant. Plus, if all the sides are about four feet you can easily reach the center of the garden bed, making it easier on your back.

Because raised garden beds can be custom made to suit your needs, if you want a larger garden bed, then go for it! The only thing stopping you is the size of your backyard

Building the garden bed

Many home improvement stores sell raised garden bed kits that only require a bit of assembly. You slide the long slats of wood into the four posts which have notches already carved in and you can begin to fill it with dirt -- it's as easy as that. The kits that come from the stores come in varying sizes, finishes and materials so you can choose one that best fits your needs and your budget.

If you want to build one yourself, that will require more of a carpenter's touch because you'll have to measure and cut the wood yourself (or have the home improvement store help you). Building it yourself will allow you to truly make the garden bed you want-- there's no limit to size, shape or even color. As long as you have the skills or the help to plan and build one yourself, go for it, the sky is the limit.

Because a raised garden bed is essentially a frame, they are simple to construct on your own in an afternoon:

  • Use pieces of 4x4 wood as the corner posts and attach wooden planks with wood screws so they are flush with the bottom and side edge of the 4x4.
  • Use a level to make sure your sides are even and straight and make sure your corners come to a 90 degree angle.
  • Once you have the frame built move it to your preferred location and you can begin filling with soil.

To begin planting

Once you've assembled your garden bed, it's time to start planting! If you've laid some cardboard on the ground as a weed barrier, you can begin laying soil on top of it.

Raised beds are perfect for square-foot gardening which is a form of intensive gardening that is great for beginner gardeners. Mark off a grid in your garden bed and plant a different item in each square. The same amount of crops can be grown in square-foot gardening as in traditional row planting but in 20 percent of the space.

You will need to figure out the cubic volume of your garden bed to determine how much soil you'll need.

The formula is: Length x Width x Depth = Cubic Volume.

Once you've got that figured out, you'll know how many bags of soil to buy. Fill the garden bed frame with soil and compost and you're ready to start planting.

Raised garden beds are an easy way to begin growing vegetables at your new home. Make sure to read the plant tags on any plants you buy to make sure that they're getting enough water, sunlight and if they need fertilizer. If you've decided to bring plants and seed clippings from your old garden be sure to transplant them carefully.

Ana M. Ferrer  Posted by Ana M. Ferrer on August 1, 2014

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