Building a Raised Garden Bed

Happy Spring Everyone!!! I hope 2017 is off to great start for you, it’s certainly been treating us well. I know I’ve got lots to catch you up on and I promise those posts are in the works but, with spring in full bloom it seems only fitting to start 2017 off with a fun and easy garden project!

This year we finally made some space for a vegetable garden. We were excited to get started, only we didn’t really know where to start. We knew we wanted a raised garden bed, since we have an abundance of critters who frequent our yard, and that it should be some type of quadrilateral shape, but thats where our knowledge on the subject ended. So I set out to learn as much as I could about raised garden beds in one evening.

With all our newfound knowledge we set off for Home Depot with our plans (which I discovered on Pinterest) to pick up all the supplies we didn’t already have on hand. We ended up having to make two trips with the CR-V to get everything, but thankfully we live pretty close!

We saved some money by using a couple 12′ long 2″ x 10″ boards we had already at home, and cut them into 4′ and 8′ sections. We also decided to add a thin layer of stones to the bottom of the garden bed for better drainage. (You’ll  find our full material list at the bottom of this post.)

After cutting the boards & posts to the correct lengths we set to work putting together the frame. Working on a flat surface, Peddy drilled pilot holes and then secured the boards to the anchor posts using 3″ wood screws.

Once all four sides were attached we moved the frame to the location we’d picked out for our garden and carefully placed it upside down.  We marked where we needed to dig the holes for the posts and moved the frame out of the way once again.

After the holes were dug (approximately 6″ deep) we set the frame in place and leveled it off. Then backfilled the holes so the frame wouldn’t move.

With the frame securely in place we anchored our PVC pipes (which, as you can see, I spray painted teal) to the side boards with 3/4″ plastic tubing straps and some 1/2″ #8 screws. We used two straps per PVC pipe to make sure they were secure, as they will eventually be holding the rebar in place.

My sister came over and we put her to work helping us line the bottom of the frame with hardware cloth. We cut the hardware cloth into sheets, long enough to go up each side about 2″ and secured them in place with a staple gun.

We overlapped the sheets by a few inches and used a small sections of wire (that came wrapped around our chicken wire) to “tie” the pieces together. This was especially helpfully when I nearly missed the overlap altogether (as you’ll see below). We attached end pieces last, as they required a little bending and maneuvering around the posts, but with some team work we got it done!

Since we had them on hand, we used a few fence staples along the way to make sure the hardware cloth was extra secure around the posts, PVC pipes and wherever the sheets overlapped.

Now that the basic structure was built it was time to start filling it up! First, was the layer of river pebbles. (We purchased 5 bags of pebbles, but I would recommend 6 for a little better coverage.) I decided to use my hands to spread the pebbles out because I didn’t want to damage our freshly laid hardware cloth with a shovel or other metal tool (I know it sounds silly, but I just had a feeling.)

Once our river pebbles were evenly spread out we mixed up a 1:1 ratio of soil and compost in our wheelbarrow and spread it out in an even layer. Since we could only fit about four bags in at a time, we decided to mix up the remaining bags in the bed itself to save some time and ultimately our backs.

And here it is… our nearly finished raised vegetable garden! We were unable to find the correct size rebar at Home Depot, so we’ll be making a trip to Menards in the near future and will get back to you with an updated post on adding the finishing touches.

I’m so excited and can’t wait to start planting!!!!

 

What We Used:
Materials
(4) 16″ long 4″ x 4″ posts
(2) 4′ long 2″ x 10″ boards
(2) 8′ long 2″ x 10″ boards
(6) 12″ long 1/2″ PVC pipe
(1)  1/2″ 2′ x 25′ 19-gauge roll of steel hardware cloth
(24) 3″ #12 wood screws
(24) 1/2″ #8 wood screws
(12) 3/4″ tubing straps
(6) bags of River Pebbles
(16) bags of Miracle-Gro Garden Soil
(12) bags of Miracle-Gro Nature’s Care Compost
(3) 10′ long pieces of 3/8″-gauge rebar
(1) 7′ x 20′ protective mesh covering
Fence Staples

Tools
Power Drill & Drill Bits
Tape measurer
Pencil
Shovel
Level
Staple Gun
Wire Cutters
Work Gloves

Tips
During my research I came across three pieces of information that I have deemed as the top three tips to keep in mind when building your garden bed.
#1- It doesn’t matter how long your bed is, as long as it’s no wider than 4 feet. This will allow you to reach across from either side to water, weed or harvest.
#2- You should choose a location that receives at least 6-8 hours of sunlight per day.
#3- Positioning your bed in a North to South orientation will allow for even sun exposure to all your crops.

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