Building a Raised Bed

Posted June 11, 2017 by Meg in Garden Confessions / 0 Comments

I’m just going to come straight out and say it: I really don’t know that much about gardening. Like, at all. BUT it is something I’m really passionate about getting into. So I’ve been doing a lot of research, and I’m attempting my first garden this year. I’m excited and nervous all at the same time, and I’m going to share the entire experience with you. This is my adventure building my first raised garden bed!

Confessions of an incompetent gardener: building a raised garden bed

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Where to start:

So after several hours of research I came to the understanding that I needed a bed to grow my plants in. Ok, I already knew that. But I wasn’t sure what the best option was. Should I plant right in the ground, or build a raised bed? Or maybe in pots? Should I plant in rows, or try a square foot garden? There were so many options! And everywhere I looked, someone had a different opinion. SO CONFUSING!

Building a raised bed:

I ended up deciding to go with a raised bed, as I noticed that the soil in my yard is predominantly clay. Like, I could probably make a mug from it without separating it out. So I would have basically had to dig down a foot or more where I wanted the bed to go and replace it with new soil. So a raised bed just seemed to make more sense. I also decided to do a square foot garden since it made it really easy to figure out the spacing between plants.

I was really fortunate in that I was able to make the raised bed for pretty cheap. I acquired some older boards and a leftover piece of landscape cloth for free to build it with. And then just before I was ready to start filling it, I gave a bunch of old gravel to my neighbours to use in their front walkway. When we got to chatting, it turned out that her parents had an older garden bed that they weren’t using anymore, and would I like some soil from it to fill my raised bed? Um, yes please!

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I decided to only fill my bed about halfway with the old soil, and get new soil for the rest of it. I wasn’t sure about the quality of the older stuff, and it was all full of weeds. But it probably saved me about $150 in soil in total, so I’m very thankful for it. The moral of the story? Be a good neighbour, and your neighbours will be good to you!

To build this bed, I cut 8 boards into 5″ sections. I then screwed them into two separate boxes which were stacked on top of each other. I took scrap pieces of wood and screwed them vertically into the boards in the corners in order to secure them together. Then I just slid the landscape cloth underneath and started filling. All with my boyfriend’s help of course! #needstobesupervisedaroundpowertools #heactuallydidmostofthat

What I planted:

So far I’ve planted peppers, tomatoes, acorn squash, zucchini, carrots, peas and beans. I figured I should probably start small and not overwhelm myself once the plants all start coming up! The peppers, tomatoes, and squashes I started from seedlings because I have a really short growing season where I live and I didn’t know if they would have enough time to reach maturity if I started them right from seed. The others I put right in my garden as seed though, so fingers crossed they come up!

Raised garden bed
I think it looks pretty good, if I do say so myself!

I decided that I really wanted a rhubarb plant in my yard as well, since I love baking with rhubarb. My town has a buy and sell page on Facebook, so I put a feeler out to see if anyone had a rhubarb plant they were willing to either split or just give to me. And I was in luck! Someone messaged me saying that I could come have half her plant, but I needed to dig it up myself.

Ok, deal!

…You know how you’re supposed to stretch before physical activity? Apparently digging up rhubarb counts. I had no idea how large their root system was! The plant very nearly won that battle, and I was sore for probably about 3 days afterwards. BUT I do have a rhubarb plant in my yard now, which I got for free, and has almost completely recovered from its ordeal.

I can practically smell the strawberry rhubarb crisp already!

How is your garden coming along so far this year? Let me know in the comments!

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