How to Make a Raised Garden Bed

This is one of the easiest things to do, and here are the simple 3-step instructions.

1. Get 3 pieces of wood at the length you would like your garden bed to be, and cut one of them in half.  Nail all the ends together until you have a rectangular box.  It’s easy to do, but you can take some measurements and be scientific about it if you like.

(picture from last year, when we put the beds together)

2. Place it in a sunny spot that gets at least 6 hours of sun a day, and lay down newspaper all over inside the box over the grass.  Wet the newspaper with a water hose.  Some people also like to lay down screen to keep out groundhogs.

3. Fill in with some good soil.

This is how the beds currently look.  We are still using the same ones from last year, but have moved them and put in fresh new soil.

Tips for getting soil inexpensively:

  • Find a local farm on craigslist and buy some good conditioned soil (hopefully composted) by the truckload.
  • Find broken and opened bags at your local home improvement store or nursery.  They usually sell these 50% off the listed price.

You can use this technique to create raised garden beds of any size that you would prefer.  While I was at the garden center, I noticed that one raised bed in a box would be almost $300.  If you just get some wood and nails to make it yourself, you are spending SIGNIFICANTLY less.  Good luck!

14 Comments:
  1. Are you able to grow things like carrots? Or do those go too deep? They look like a great idea! We’re just buying a house and don’t have money at the moment to till up a bunch of ground, so these would be a much easier way to go! Thanks!

    • You can grow carrots in them, but you have to build your frame higher. So if you get 6″ wide peices, you’ll have to built it up to 12″ to be able to comfortably grow carrots.

      • oops forgot to add that the higher you go the more support you will need so the dirt doesn’t push out the wood. I use rebar for support on the sides.

  2. Speaking from experience….If the wood is touching the ground it can attract termites. You can purchase timbers that are treated for ground, but otherwise they can be a home for termites…especially here in the South.

    • I highly recommend using bricks or cement blocks if you are in an area at-risk to termites. Not only do they not attract termites, but they won’t break down like wood over time. We also prevent termites by using pine straw mulch over traditional wood chip varieties. It’s not a sure guarantee, but it helps and it breaks down a lot nicer.

      Another great way to build your soil’s content is through composting. It’s an inexpensive (free!) and easy way to go green!

      Jessica
      .-= Jessica´s last blog ..Our “Jeep Jeep” is Fixed! =-.

  3. I wanted to reply about the carrots….you can grow them in the raised beds, the beds need to be at least a foot high if growing a regular variety of them…but they have several great varities of round and very short growing carrots too, that work great in regular flower pots!! The biggest factor for growing carrots is to keep the soil loose, not clumpy, free of stones and obstructions. Mixing in sand is a good idea too! Hope that helps some more!!

  4. We have raised beds which we made. It is less expensive, certainly. We really really need to buy some new soil and peat and dung to mix in. Have you ever used those little ph kits? The ones that measure the alkalinity (?) of your soil, etc?

  5. I am going to try Square Foot Gardening (SquareFootGardening.com ) this year. Similar approach, but you create your own soil to avoid weeds. I’ve purchased the book and it looks great!

    Any suggestions on potatoes? I’ve heard of tires or garbage cans, but… ugh… I’m considering buying some of the “bags” from Gardeners Supply.

  6. Learn to Grow a Straw Bale Garden, it takes much less work!!

  7. I have done this in my front yard. I had to put chicken wire over it to keep the cats out.

  8. Our local lumber yard sells “seconds” in a bundle for really cheap. The boards aren’t what they consider optimum but work perfectly for this purpose! We also recycled wooden pallets….they gave them to us !

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