Last week, we took a couple hours and finally tackled a project we’ve been meaning to for years– Raised garden beds!! Chris and I both grew up in homes with gardens, and we’re happy to be on our way to one of our own. This article from BHG goes into a lot of the perks (with a lot of pretty pictures) of raised garden beds–all of which helped us finally quit our procrastinating and get planning and building.
After we mapped out which vegetables we’d like to try and harvest (we’ll talk about that in a different post), we decided to build 5 beds. Our yard is about 1/3 of an acre and right now, nearly bare in back–so five 3×6 boxes, we have plenty of room for.
We spent about $100 getting the supplies for five boxes, including:
30–cedar fence boards 1x6s
15–cedar fence boards 1×3.5s
20 ft redwood 2x2s
We didn’t want wood that was chemically treated in any way and cedar and redwood are both naturally rot resistant, so that’s why we opted for those. Plus, we have a cedar fence that is now nice and gray (someone actually knocked on our door and offered to take it off our hands–ummm?) that we love and are looking forward to the weathering of the boxes, too! When we got home, we started the timer (so we could see how long it took to build the boxes) and made all of our cuts first.
Since the 1×3.5s that we were using to frame out our top edges were the same length as the 1x6s–6 feet–and we wanted there to be a bit of overhang. We trimmed down 20 of the 6ft lengths to 5ft 9 inches and the remaining 10-1×6 boards to 33inches (also resulting in 20 boards).
Then we cut and mitered the 1×3.5 boards to 45 degrees, giving us what would eventually be 5-3×6 frames for our garden beds. Lastly, we cut our redwood posts into 1ft lengths for our inside supports.
Once all of the cuts were made, we started assembling.
1. The sides of the boxes are made up of two 1x6s, essentially stacked on top of each other with a redwood post at each inside corner. We put our redwood in 9/16 (the actual thickness of the planks) of an inch before securing the 5’9″cedar sides in with galvanized screws.
2. This is so when we screwed in our shorter 33″ cedar sides, they would fit snuggly in the gap
3. After all the sides were secure, we turned the whole box right side up (the redwood posts that extend longer than the box will help secure them into the ground) and placed our mitered “frame” on top. Now, the frame is totally optional–but we thought it would not only look nice, but be handy to set small garden tools on while we’re working. Gotta love a good-looking, functional finish.
4. Once we got the frame where we wanted–completely unmathematically and unscientifically, just moved it around until it fit together and worked–we drove two screws into each corner and called it done.
Pie. From start (before we made our first cut) to finish (carrying the last bed to the backyard), our five garden beds took us 2 hours 21 minutes and 39 seconds to build–which, well, we were pretty excited about.
Of course our work isn’t done. We still need to play with the spacing/arrangement, excavate (although we heard placing cardboard at the bottom of the boxes also works?) and fill the boxes with dirt and finally plant–and then, I suppose there is the whole tending, weeding, and harvesting before we can officially and literally stick a fork in it–but we’re completely excited about our new project/hobby and can’t wait to share more of the process and progress with you. Hopefully we’ll have another garden update before the end of the week!
Anyone else building garden beds? We can’t decide whether to keep the surrounding grass, or dig it all up and surround the beds with some sort of mulch or pebble. I’ve been drooling over so many ideas all weekend–feel free to chime in!