If you are looking for a way to add gardening space without having a “traditional” garden, these inexpensive, easy to make DIY Raised Bed Garden Boxes are the answer!Created easily from ordinary 2×4 and 2×6 lumber, these attractive beds look great anywhere.Simple and inexpensive to create, these sturdy raised beds allow plenty of room for growing your favorite plants.In addition, their attractive design fits into any outdoor space.Either way, it is a great way to grow without a traditional garden.DIY Raised Beds.The raised beds, much like our 5 gallon bucket planter boxes pictured above, is another great way to grow vegetables and flowers without a traditional garden.How To Create The DIY Raised Beds.We prefer using traditional lumber and untreated rough-sawn simply for cost.Here is to creating your own DIY raised beds – and growing like never before next year!To receive our 3 Home, Garden, Recipe and Simple Life articles each week, sign up for our free email list that is located in the middle of this article. .

Raised Bed Garden from A - Z

Earlier this year, I invited my email group to send me any questions they would like me to answer on the topic of raised bed gardening.It’s my goal to answer all your questions from A to Z, planning to harvest and maintenance, starting with this first episode in this raised bed gardening series.If you would like to join the conversation and contribute to future topics, click the red “Get Free Updates” button at the top of this page.The focus of the show was backyard food production in raised beds from seed to harvest.Three years, two different locations, 52 episodes, and zero failures later, I attribute my gardening success in large part to all the practices that I will share with you in this series.My Growing a Greener World team and I have traveled all over the country and seen many raised bed garden setups.As part of the Growing a Greener World series, I built my GardenFarm and turned what was five acres of overgrown brush into a large, productive raised bed garden and developing landscape.Six seasons later, the gardens are beautiful, incredibly productive and a little easier to keep in “television-ready” shape.Raised beds can put plants at eye level for better observation of pest issues.Just that little bit of added convenience makes it easier to work in the garden, even on those days where I might be tempted to just kick back with a cold beverage.By using raised beds, there really aren’t any surface issues that should hold you back from gardening.When your soil bed is elevated above the surrounding terrain, you control its health and drainage.So, no matter how bad the ground you’re starting with, anyone anywhere can grow a productive raised bed garden.In 2009, I was challenged to build an entire garden (including plants) for $25 or less and was fortunate to find 110-year-old barn wood to use for my raised bed structure.For most, this is a benefit, but if there’s a possibility you will need to relocate your garden in coming years, a permanent raised bed structure will need to be deconstructed.If the sidewalls of your bed aren’t very thick, the bordering soil and plants could be impacted by extreme conditions.During this series, I’ll cover some ways to significantly reduce this downside, but the fact remains.Bear in mind that these guidelines and principles apply most to an edible garden – growing fruits and vegetables.Those edible plants require lots of sun to mature fully and set fruit for your harvest.If your property is shaded by lots of trees, you may want to consider some selective pruning to allow the sun to reach your garden spot.Spending some time each day also helps you catch pests and disease in early stages.If your garden is tucked away on the other end of your yard, and that distance feels like a trek after a long day; you might be inclined to have a seat on your favorite chair instead.And don’t forget, you want those garden edibles to be as close to the kitchen as possible for a quick dinner.If at all possible, don’t site your garden in an area where water tends to pool on your property.If you are in a rural area and subject to visitation by frequent furry nibblers, like deer or raccoons; incorporate fence planning into your overall design.I’ve seen just about everything too – even plants inserted directly into bags of garden soil (not something I recommend).Going higher than 18” can potentially cause more structural issues down the road – due to the weight and pressure of all that soil.Will the surface allow the soil to erode out the bottom (go higher), or might it be impacted by the weight of the bed (don’t go too high)?Four feet allows more flexibility for spacing rows, but more importantly, not building beyond that width will allow you to easily reach the center from either side of the bed.It’s important that you don’t have to step into the bed to weed, plant, etc., as that will compact the soil and affect drainage and overall health.As long as you can reach all areas of the bed from the edge (staying within that four-foot width), you’re all set.Maybe you are truly blessed and have bare, level, beautiful earth just waiting for you to come along and plunk some beds down.Then, you are like the rest of us who have (or had) to put a little blood, sweat, and tears into claiming our garden spot from turf or shrub or weeds.Rent a sod cutter to remove that turf pretty quickly and easily – but be forewarned, this will involve a hit to your budget.Solarizing will take some time (4-8 weeks), but it is a great way to kill much of the weed growth and seeds for 2-3” below the soil surface.Solarization utilizes trapped moisture and heat and is best done in the hottest months of the summer.To solarize, mow the area as low to the ground as possible, then thoroughly wet it down – really soak it well.If any holes are poked into the plastic at any point during the solarization process, cover them with duct tape.So while solarization can be effective against Bermuda grass, be prepared to continue this battle for many years to come.Bermuda grass is so persistent; it is the only time I might consider placing a layer of landscape cloth under my raised bed structures.I strongly encourage you to build some sort of border around the edge of your bed to prevent Bermuda grass creeping in from the perimeter.Bermuda grass needs plenty of sunlight, so when buried under layers of soil, it’s not as likely to sprout up from underneath.Fortunately though, raised beds prevent the necessity to remove most of the stumps and roots left behind.Much of the remaining woody material will be buried in your garden beds and will break down over time, adding a few nutrients to the soil.There is some drawback to tilling your soil that I discuss at length in the video blog mentioned earlier.The deeper you build your beds, the less likely this will be a problem, and again if this is the best area you have to work with, don’t let that hold you back!In all likelihood, the roots and foliage will be regularly making contact with your material surface.I used 16’ lengths of 6”x6” untreated cedar at the GardenFarm but living in the heavily-populated Atlanta area offers me a better supply of wood materials than will be available for many of you.The untreated wood is decomposing and even adding some nutrients to your garden bed in the process.The arsenic in CCA led manufacturers of CCA-treated wood to discontinue its availability for residential applications in 2003.If you’re using lots of compost, you should be fine, since plants don’t even take up arsenic unless the soil is deficient in phosphorus.And that’s likely not the case since phosphorus tends to be immobile and ongoing amendments of compost just add to the overall volume.In other words, really healthy soil with lots of organic matter does not take up arsenic by plant roots.At any rate, that would be a good indicator of a potential problem – in which case you might want to think about having your soil tested for metal concentrations.Your tomatoes and your eggplant could absorb copper or arsenic into their roots, but it is generally not shown to affect the fruit.As an extra precaution, grow leafy greens and root vegetables more toward the center of your bed (12” from the perimeter if possible), furthest from the treated wood.A final note: When building treated wood beds, make your cuts somewhere that allows you to contain the sawdust.Virtually all concrete blocks are made of what’s called Portland cement as well as aggregate, like sand or gravel.And here’s the real rub: fly ash contains various amounts of toxic metals; including arsenic, lead, and mercury.While that might sound scary, the risk of those metals becoming available in the soil only happens if part of the concrete block is pulverized.Next, soils higher in organic matter are always beneficial but especially in this case, because they help chemically bind the metals – making them unavailable for absorption into the plant.Just as with CCA-treated wood, root crops and leafy greens are most susceptible when exposed to higher concentrations.If you have beds made from concrete blocks, just avoid anything that would cause them to break to the point that the dust from pulverized pieces can come in contact with plant roots.If building raised beds over a concrete surface, the same risks and preventions would apply.It appears to be a benign product for garden use, but there isn’t much information out there to make a solid determination.Creosote is used as a wood preservative for industrial use and is the black, oily stuff you see oozing from the sides of the ties.The heft of railroad ties has made them a popular choice for raised beds and garden retaining walls.While there have been few studies on the impact of using them to contain edible plants, I’ll take the advice provided directly from the EPA on creosote:.There’s little scientific information available examining the effect of galvanized metal in the use of raised beds.What I can tell you is that the galvanization process typically involves dipping the metal in molten zinc or zinc-based coating.If too much zinc were leached into the soil, it would probably reflect in dying plants, before it would ever pose a health risk.That moisture will need a place to escape, so you don’t inadvertently drown your plant roots.As a result, your soil will tend to dry out more quickly, and foliage in the line of that reflective power might suffer.It might be wise to plant those tender vegetables – like lettuce – toward the center of the bed where soil temperature will remain most constant.It doesn’t get much easier than one of the many raised bed kits available for purchase today.I recently built raised beds on an episode of Growing a Greener World, so check that out.GGW Blog: Salvaging 110-year old wood – My Quest for a Twenty-five Dollar Organic Victory Garden. .

6 things to think about before preparing a raised bed garden

However, for the purpose of this article, I’m going to talk about the standard rectangular raised beds that are generally built from untreated, rot-resistant wood (like Niki’s amazing raised bed setup) or concrete blocks, as well as what you might want to think about when preparing a raised bed garden.Things to think about when preparing a raised bed garden.If you are putting your raised bed on a hard surface, like a driveway, or over hard-packed soil, you want to make sure it’s deep enough for plants (especially root vegetables like beets and carrots) to root.Here are some tips for planning where to put your raised bed.The grass will break down and voilà!Do you want to install irrigation?As far as type of soil, I like to emphasize buying the best quality that you can afford when preparing a raised bed garden.Please visit this link if you want more details on the best soil for raised beds.One thing I wish that I had done when I built my first two raised beds is install a couple of midpoint stakes to prevent the beds from shifting over time.Do you garden in raised beds? .

9 Free Raised Planter Box Plans for Your Yard or Porch

Use one of these free raised planter box plans to get all the advantages of a traditional garden with a lot less work. .

How to Build a Raised Garden Bed

Especially if you’re getting into growing for the first time, you’re going to want some beds of your own.The beauty of this particular raised bed build is that it is cheap and easy to build. .

How to Build a Raised Garden Bed: Best Kits and DIY Plans

So why should you bother assembling or building a raised bed garden?Benefits of raised bed gardening.Raised garden beds require less tilling than traditional, in-ground beds.In this way, beds built 12 inches deep or more have the added benefit of giving plants a longer growing season.For more benefits, see 10 Reasons to Add Raised Garden Beds to Your Garden. .

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