Have you ever thought how lovely it is to have a garden full of beautiful flowers and fresh vegetables?
If yes, then the best way to achieve that is to build a raised garden bed!
So what is a raised garden bed? It is a huge container that sits above the ground filled with rich soil and plants.
It looks similar to a frame and can be made as a centerpiece of your garden.
If you haven’t tried making one, don’t worry! This guide will teach you everything you need to know about a raised bed.
Are you ready to make your DIY raised garden bed?
Then, you better read on!
The Benefits of Making a Raised Garden Bed
A raised bed is more than a container for your plants.
It offers many benefits and here are some of them:
● It promotes deeper rooting and better drainage, which improves plant productivity.
● A raised bed provides you full control over the content and quality of soil. This is essential particularly in places where the soil is nutrient-poor, rocky, or is infested with weeds.
● It is beneficial for small gardens by keeping everything organized.
● There are fewer weeds in a raised garden bed as it is filled with weed-free soil. Moreover, it is raised and away from surrounding weeds that may cause your plants to be weak and sickly.
● Working in your garden is a lot easier when you have a raised bed. You no longer have to bend or kneel to attend to your plants.
Selecting the Proper Wood for a Raised Garden Bed
Now that you are convinced that a raised bed is great for your garden, it’s time to start working.
Before anything else, you must choose the proper wood for your frame.
This is essential as it functions as the foundation of your raised bed.
However, there is still high-quality cheap wood for raised garden beds.
Of course, quality is your priority but you don’t have to exhaust your funds to find the best wood.
Here are some suggestions when selecting the wood of your raised bed:
● Stay away from railroad ties. It’s most likely that they have undergone creosote treatment, which is hazardous.
● Choose thicker boards to ensure that your raised bed lasts longer.
● Certain types of wood, like cedar, cypress, and redwood, have natural oils that make them stronger. They cost a bit much but have longer service lives.
Substitutes to wood are bricks and concrete blocks.
However, these materials increase the pH of the soil.
This means you have to improve your soil when necessary so your plants can grow properly.
Determining the Size of Your Raised Garden Bed
● Before you determine the size of your raised bed, you must first pick a location. You must pick a spot where it gets abundant sunlight, like six to eight hours a day.
● The most common width of raised garden beds is 4 ft. In most cases, wood is cut in 4-ft. increments. However, you must take note that the size is enough for you to reach your plants without going into the garden bed. So be careful not to make it too wide that you’ll find it hard to reach the center.
● Length is not a major concern. You can make your garden bed as high as you want. Some raised beds are 4-ft wide by 8-ft long, while others are 4-ft wide by 12-ft long. So it’s really up to you.
● There is no specific measurement on the depth of your garden bed. However, the ideal size of a raised bed is between 6 inches and 12 inches.
Site Preparation of Your Raised Bed
● Before making a raised garden bed, use a garden fork and break up the soil under so that it is not compacted. Go as deep as six to eight inches.
● If you plan to place your raised bed on a lawn, you need to dispatch the grass first. Put a landscaping fabric, tarp, or cardboard over the grass. After six weeks or even less, the grass has most likely perished and will be easy to take off.
Building Your Raised Bed
● Put wooden stakes in each corner of your raised bed. If you have a longer bed, then put the stakes every few feet. Put them inside the raised bed so they are not so visible.
● Hammer the stakes until they are about two feet into the ground.
● Make sure that the wooden stakes have the same heights. Otherwise, your raised bed will be uneven.
● Adjust the lowest boards a few inches below the ground. Make sure that all of them are on the same level.
● Use screws or galvanized nails to secure the boards to the wooden stakes.
● If you prefer, you can add more boards. Don’t forget to secure them to the wooden stakes as well!
The Right Soil for a Raised Bed
When you have already established your raised bed, it’s time to fill it with soil. Take note that the soil mixture is one of the most important aspects of a garden raised bed.
There are a lot of garden beds that fail or even prematurely die because they are receiving fewer nutrients from the soil.
So here are the important things you need to remember when it comes to the soil of your raised bed:
● Fill your garden bed with a mixture of topsoil and organic materials, such as manure and compost. This is to provide your plants with a nutritious environment.
● Remember that the soil in a raised bed tends to dry faster. This is okay during fall and winter; however, summer is a different story. During this season, add some mulch, hay, or straw above the soil to aid in retaining moisture.
● You must water your raised bed accordingly, especially during the early developments of the plants.
Here’s an excellent soil recipe for a 4-ft. X 8-ft. raised garden bed that you might want to follow:
● A two-inch layer of grass clippings or shredded leaves that are free from fertilizers and herbicides.
● Two pails of peat moss
● Two bags of topsoil (Please do not use topsoil from your lawn as it might contain pests and weeds.)
● Two bags of compost
So there you have it! Hopefully, everything in this post can help you make your own raised garden bed. Good luck!