The gardening bug has hit! Tuesday evening at 7:45 I bundled up the kids and we headed outside. I managed to plant 1 1/2 pounds stuttgarter onion sets, some lettuce, Swiss chard (for hiding, you know), kohlrabi, and carrots. Til the end, I couldn’t tell which end of the onions were going down. Hopefully I don’t find a bunch that are root end up. Plus, Jada was helping me. Who knows how those were placed. Tage just sat in his little plastic boat the whole time. Better there than running rampant through my seeds!
Recently a reader (Hi Becky!) wanted some more information on making raised beds for vegetable gardening. I’m happy to oblige!
Brad made my beds 4 years ago. He used locust wood as it’s best to use a hard wood that resists rotting longer than a soft wood. I’m not sure if you can get locust at your typical lumber yard. We had to go straight to the saw mill and order it. Actually, my dad did that for us. Thanks Pops! We got a bunch of 2-inch by 10-inch boards. Enough to make seven 4-foot by 8-foot beds. Not sure how long the boards were. (Do you remember, Dad?) They don’t have to be pretty boards. They will just get all weathered and worn in a year or two anyway. We also got 4×4’s for the posts in the corners. And Brad just informed me he used 3-inch decking screws to attach everything.
First, you cut your boards to the desired length. I’d say keep the beds 4 feet or less in width. It gets pretty difficult to reach into the middle of the bed if you make it any wider. You can make the bed as long as you like. My grandmother had some that were probably 40 feet long and 3 feet wide. Maybe those measurements aren’t quite right but I remember them looking like long snakes in the yard.
Anywho, cut your boards. You’ll also need to cut the 4×4 posts. We made ours 10 inches long since our boards were 10 inches wide. Then you just have to screw everything together. Please remember to pre-drill the holes where your screws are going to go. Keeps the boards from splitting out at the ends. You’ll probably want 4 or 5 screws at the end of each board.
Make a bottomless box with your boards, with the corners looking like this:
When you are all done building the box, place it in your desired location. A sunny place is preferred if you are growing ordinary vegetables. Place the boxes, if you made more than one, far enough apart that you can fit a wheelbarrow, garden cart, or other equipment through. We like to mulch those paths every other year with bark mulch. Actually we use playground mulch.
As for what to fill the box with, I’ve heard it’s good to put all sorts of “junk” in the bottom before topping with topsoil. Junk includes, but is not limited to, food scraps (no meat scraps or you’ll attract rats), newspaper, old books (remove any plastic covers), manure, leaves, grass clippings, etc. We only put manure in but I think the soil would be fluffier had we used some newspaper and leaves.
Plant away my friends…spring has sprung (sort of)!
(By the way, thanks for all of your kind words yesterday in response to my little video. Maybe I’ll try another one. Any ideas what I should demo? Maybe I’ll show my face next time, greasy hair and all!)