If you are short on space or a first time gardener, a simple raised bed can make a big difference in what you’re able to grow. Using this type of garden bed, you’re not limited to the size of your planting container and can use soil of better quality, which helps ensure a bountiful harvest. This project is easy enough for even a beginner to do, and uses recycled materials for the best possible outcome.
To build this bed, you’ll need the following supplies:
Obtain a few pieces of 2×6 cedar fence pickets to create a 4 by 8 foot bed. These are available at your local home improvement store and may be purchased with a cut off end for easier handling. You’ll also need a hammer, pliers and a drill or screwdriver. The hammer and pliers are for setting the stakes, while the drill or screwdriver is for nailing the ends of the long boards together to form the frame of the raised garden bed.
On the short side of the frame, place a 2×6 stake in each corner at a distance from the corners equal to the length of the long sides of the bed, plus three inches. These will be used to secure the short board to the long ones, so the bed stays in a square shape. Drive the stakes into the ground at least 18 inches with a sledgehammer, and then secure them to the end of the long boards with 3-inch screws. Repeat this process for each of the longer side of the bed frame.
Cover the spot where you plan to set the raised garden bed with landscape fabric, leaving a few inches of extra material beyond the edges of the frame. This will help to prevent the wood from rotting and protect the ground underneath it. Set the bed into place and use a rake to level it.
You’re ready to plant your garden. Fill the raised bed with a good soil mix, adding compost for improved nutrient content. Add a good amount of starter fertilizer to each hole, and then gently push seeds or seedlings into it. Cover the planted areas with 2 to 3 inches of mulch or compost for a protective layer. Mulch will also help to control weeds and protect the plants from too much sun or cold.
You can add some decorative touches to your raised bed to make it more visually appealing, like a 6-inch board around the edge to make it easier to sit in and turn the soil. If you live in a gopher-prone area, you might want to staple a piece of hardware cloth across the bottom of the bed to prevent them from burrowing up through the roots and eating your vegetables. With a little bit of planning, you can have a beautiful, productive raised garden that’s easy to manage in a small yard. Be sure to feed your plants with Miracle-Gro Shake ‘N Feed(r) throughout the growing season for the best results.
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