DIY Raised Bed Vegetable Garden
On my list of things I wanted to do in 2010 was build a raised bed vegetable garden. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I have done it. With the help of E and Thea and my mom I am now the proud caretaker of a vegetable garden complete with cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, herbs, swiss chard, lettuce, beans, artichokes and squash. I'm also trying to start some pumpkins, watermelon and other tomatoes from seed, so those might end up in the bed further down the road.
I was surprised how easy it was to build. A lot of sites suggest some pretty complicated ways to build a raised bed, but here's how we did it:
Pick a spot.
We picked this spot because the grass was already dead and it got really good light all day (south facing).
I did 4x6 so that I could still easily reach across about 2 feet on each side. I plotted where the box would sit and turned the soil to discourage any of that grass from growing underneath my vegetables.
Deter Weeds and Rodents:
I used a wire mesh to keep gophers and moles from burrowing up below and a weed cloth to keep the grass out.
Build the Frame:
To build the box we used 2x6 pieces of redwood (you want to get redwood or cedar because they're just straight wood and won't leach any chemicals into your food the way a pressboard or plywood would). I wanted the bed to be about a foot deep so we built two levels of 4x6 dimension frames and stacked them. Nothing fancy, just screwed it all together and stacked them.
Fill It With Dirt/Compost/Fertilizer:
I bought a whole car load of soil (24 cubic feet of soil). I got 'organic' and didn't go for anything with a fertilizer built in because that stuff scares me. I also bought 2 bags of manure for fertilizer and 2 bags of compost to work into the soil to keep it from getting too dense.
We poured all the soil in, stirred it around and then leveled it off and started plotting our placement. Since it was my first vegetable garden I wanted to start with some momentum so I didn't start everything from seed, I just went to armstrong and picked out the things I wanted to try and grow. I followed the directions on the packages for placement and made sure that anything that would grow really large wouldn't end up shading other plants. I'll need to make a trellis for the beans once they grow larger so I put them on the northern side of the box so that they won't cast a shadow when they're growing up. Besides that, I just tried to make them look nice.
I can't wait to watch these things grow and then walk out to the garden to pick things to cook. Delicious!