Gardening

Raised Garden Beds

Spring is almost here! It’s time to get the garden ready, so we recently built two 4’x8′ raised beds to get our vegetable garden started.

Finished raised bed for our new vegetable garden.
Finished raised bed for our new vegetable garden.

Supplies for one raised bed:
Two 4-foot-long 2″x8″ cedar boards
Two 8-foot-long 2″x8″ cedar boards
Four 8-inch-long 4″x4″ posts
Sixteen 3 1/2-inch wood screws
Twelve 1 5/8-inch wood screws
Six 8-inch-long 1-inch PVC pipe
Six 1-inch galvanized pipe straps
One piece of 4’x10′ chicken wire
Two 8-inch C-clamps
Tape measure
Hacksaw
Power saw
Power drill
Soil

Our total cost for the two beds was about $280.00 (including taxes). We splurged on cedar, so that ran the cost up higher. Also, we had to buy all the wood screws, pvc and straps, chicken wire, and soil, so if you already have these things, the cost would be lower.

First, we had 12-foot boards cut at the store to measure 4-foot-long and 8-foot-long. Since we don’t have a truck, fitting a 12-foot board in the vehicle was going to be a challenge. Fortunately, Home Depot had a wood cutting area that cut the boards to our specified lengths. So, we purchased the 12-foot cedar boards and had them cut.

We used C-clamps on the corners to hold the wood pieces securely while drilling the holes for screws and screwing the boards together. We made an 8-inch deep raised bed, so we used 8-inch 4×4 posts in the corners. While browsing the internet for ideas, we saw some people extended the length of the 4×4 to anchor the bed to the ground; however, we decided the bed would be anchored enough by filling it with soil. Also, some people forego the use of 4×4 posts altogether, so it seems whatever works for you, go with it.

Using C-clamps to hold wood together before attaching corners.
Using C-clamps to hold wood together.
Marking the spots for screws.
Marking the spots for screws.
Drilling a hole for the corner screws.
Drilling a hole for the corner screws.
Attaching chicken wire to the bottom of a raised bed.
Attaching chicken wire to the bottom of a raised bed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the frame was together, we stapled chicken wire to the bottom of the bed. We have a mole problem in our yard, so we wanted some type of barrier on the bottom to prevent a mole issue in the garden. Hardware cloth can also be used, but we opted for chicken wire. The 4-foot wide roll fit perfectly. The roll of chicken wire was for 50-feet, so we had plenty left over… maybe we’ll use it for another project.

We also attached 8-inch pieces of PVC to the longer sides of the beds. This will be used to form a frame for netting to prevent birds and wildlife from getting into the beds. We bought a 10-foot piece of 1-inch PVC and cut it into six 8-inch lengths to place around the interior of the bed (3 PVC posts per side). We hope to use 1/2-inch PVC to form the frame. We bought some 1/2-inch PVC, but haven’t built a frame yet, since it’s not necessary right now. I’ll add a new post once we have the frame finalized.

Once the raised bed was assembled, we layered cardboard in the bottom. Then soil was added to the bed. To fill an 8-inch deep 4’x8′ raised bed, 22-cubic-feet of soil was needed. We opted to create a soil mixture containing 60% top soil, 30% compost, and 10% peat moss. That came to seventeen 40-pound bags of top soil, eight 40-pound bags of compost, and two 40-pound bags of peat moss per bed. We also added a bag of chicken litter from my parent’s chicken coop and some crushed eggs shells to the mixture. Overall, we ended up with a pretty healthy looking mixture.

Raised bed with chicken wire attached to the bottom and PVC pipe anchored to the sides.
Raised bed with chicken wire attached to the bottom and PVC pipe anchored to the sides.
Raised bed with cardboard base.
Raised bed with cardboard base.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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