Spring Garden Project: Raised Garden Bed

Posted by: on April 20th, 2012 | 30 Comments
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When you grow veggies yourself, they just taste better. Creating a raised garden bed is an almost foolproof way to do it, since it takes the problem of dry, rocky or nutrient-void soil out of the equation.

The raised bed project is also great for its adaptability. A novice can pick up a kit and put something together in an afternoon, since “easy to assemble” actually lives up to its name in this case. And a more experienced woodworker or gardener can get funky with stacked hexagons or other configurations that put more emphasis on style.

Check out our step-by-step guide to creating a raised vegetable garden using a simple kit. We added a few inside tips that we came up with when we did this project ourselves. Be sure to print out Garden Club Raised Bed Project Card to take with you on your shopping trip to The Home Depot. It has these instructions, and a shopping list you can take to your local Home Depot store. And prepare yourself for a bounty of fresh vegetables that you planted with your own two hands.

Here’s what to do:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s what you’ll need:

Raised Garden Bed Kit

Twine

A Shovel

A Rake

Vegetable and Herb Plant Seeds

Garden Soil

Organic Fertilizer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 1. Select vegetables and herbs based on what you like to eat and your region’s growing conditions. Ask a Home Depot Certified Nursery Consultant for help choosing plants. Check the plant tags to see how close together they should be planted. That way you’ll know how many to buy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 2. Construct your bed according to the directions. We found that it was a good idea to have a rubber mallet on hand to get the boards nice and snug.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 3. Decide where to place your garden in the yard and where to place the veggies in the garden. Give the bed some space from fences or trees, in the spot in the yard that gets the most sun. Think about the movement of the sun throughout the day as well. The tallest plants should be in the northern part of your bed so they don’t shade the other plants. We found it helpful to draw it out, using the plant tags to experiment with different configurations on a sketch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 4. Next you’ll need to dig a shallow trench, paying special attention to the corners, which may need a little more space or depth. You can also remove the topsoil under your bed if it is especially prone to weeds. We hit on this trick: Grab some twine and four or five forks. Lace the twine in the fork prongs until it is secure. Stick the fork into the ground each corner, creating an outline of your bed. Move the frame and get digging.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 5. Move your frame back over to its primo spot. Make sure your frame is parallel using a simple level. Add or remove soil under the posts until you find the right balance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 6. Add lots of soil. You may need more than you think, so check out your kit beforehand to see the recommended amount of cubic feet of soil to get the job done. Rake the soil to even it out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 7: Plant your veggies. Water and fertilize. Sow seeds directly into soil for faster-growing plants, like salad greens. Use transplants for vegetables with longer sprouting times, like tomatoes. Follow seed package or plant tag directions. Your vegetables need to be watered daily during the height of summer (less often during temperate weather) and fertilized on a regular basis. Look for complete organic fertilizers designed for container gardening and follow package directions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 8. (Optional) Make some plant tags. Want to keep your squash straight from your eggplant? Make some simple markers using laminated paint chips or paint stirrers from The Home Depot.

Check out other garden projects here on The Apron Blog. And be sure to sign up for The Home Depot’s Garden Club, where you can get special offers, discounts and expert advice. Also, join the conversation about herb container gardening on our forums

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  1. Laurie says:

    I have attempted container growing for a few years with a lot of trial and error. Some things like tomatoes, snap peas, and green beans are ok. Others, like squash and cucumbers need the cool earth to pillow them because they burn up on cement and decks. I created a raised bed in one part of my back yard for those items and am happy as a clam to say, “it’s working for me”!!

  2. Teena Reynolds says:

    Love my raised garden. Put first one in the front yard and included vegetables and flowers. Put a second raised level in it with a large plastic/pvc pot inside. I was desperate to cover a huge mesquite stump that every handyman around wanted to remove from the yard! Problem solved.

  3. Mary T Foster says:

    Wish I had learned about raised garden vegtable beds in the spring. Are there any ways to use this to flower garden in the front of the house. I noticed some of my neighbors have beautiful xeroscaping but my soil is very sandy and nutrient poor.

  4. Pat Bogenn says:

    My raised garden bed is now several years old. Last year I got a bacterial wilt on the tomatoes. This year it was back. Do I need to replace all the dirt in the beds to get rid of it? I love my garden, but all the work for no tomatoes is painful!

  5. Debbie says:

    I bought two more this year but before I put the soil in I first layed down newspaper and cardboard and then ther soil then the seeds for what was going to plant for the season. Let me tell you I am having a bumper crop of eveything
    that I planted. I recommend above garden planters they are wonderful and I am plannin on getting more for the blueberries for next year…..

  6. Ed Mockapetris says:

    buy some painted or unpainted wood shapes for each row of vegetables you plant at a craft store @ about 10 cents to a quarter apiece, lots of veggies available in corresponding yellows, green, red, orange, purple etc. or paint your own.

    using waterproof glue, or certain hot glues, glue each shape to long wooden popsicle sticks or tongue depressors also available in craft stores. paint in coordinating or contrasting colors

    sticks and or shapes (if not already painted) can be painted to match selected vegetable’s primary color.

    Helpful project to have children help you show off your garden while it is young and fresh; and multiple levels of learning for the child.

  7. anne pauline says:

    What do you put underneath the bed to protect the plants from the gophers? (a corrugated sheet such as flattened large box; chicken wire?) Any comments would be appreciated. I am in a process of completely remaking 4 large ‘double’ beds, i.e removing all the remaining plants, soil (tons of it) and starting anew.
    Would welcome any tips.
    Anne

  8. Xavier says:

    2 tips:

    1. use pencil for labels, as it doesn’t fade in the sun like ink will!

    2. a safe way to treat wood for weather resistance, especially soft woods like pine or fir, is to melt a small amount of paraffin wax into some linseed oil and thin it out with something like an eco-friendly paint thinner. I found a “recipe” in an organic gardening book and now use it for veggies/fruit beds or a non-green appearance to outdoor wood. it’s very effective! I think i use about a large peanut m&m chunk of wax, melt into a pint of linseed, and 1/4 gal of thinner.

  9. Great growing tips! Raised beds are a fun, easy way to get started in a front or backyard with many advantages.
    While you are shopping in The Home Depot, make your plant selection a snap by using our Mobile site. Go to m.bonnieplants.com to get the scoop on our plants, great companions, and growing tips. Or snap a QR code on the plant tags! It is handy tool while you’re in the store or garden.

    Happy growing.

  10. Maria Thompson says:

    please give me the item number for the corner posts. I would like to use them as a support for the lattice fencing for jasmine, and other climbing vines.

  11. Marie S says:

    I installed 6 of these containers, but before adding the dirt, I stapled plastic
    around the inside to cover where the boards stack and let it drape into the
    bottom towards the middle of each box. This is reventing the dirt from washing
    out from between the boards and from the bottom of the containers! I see in your picture your dirt is seeping thru between the boards-this does work and
    the garden in doing very well! We have before and after pictures and get lots of complements:)

    • Lynn Coulter says:

      Marie, thanks for writing. That’s a great idea, to staple the plastic inside to hold in the dirt. We’d love to see a picture, if you can send us one. We like to share with other readers when we hear a nifty idea like yours! ~Lynn, the Home Depot Garden Club

    • Charles Dane says:

      Hi Marie,
      I am a little confused. Did you staple plastic just around the boards on the inside or over the entire inside?
      If you stapled plastic over the entire inside how does it drain?
      Charles

  12. lin tynes says:

    how do you protect them from pest and animals?

  13. tgg says:

    Love this project!

  14. Will the store cut wood needed for the raised bed gardens?

    • Yes, they will, Dennis. Best of luck on your bed! I know you’ll enjoy it.

    • Len says:

      Dennis,
      I made my beds from what is called culled lumber.
      This is lumber that is bowed or twisted slightly and possibly cracked. I would buy this wood in four foot length and make a 4′ x 4′ bed from 8″ to 12″ high.
      Home depot now sells there cull lumber in full length boards and they will cut it for you. The cull lumber is 85% off the original wood cost. I was able to make twenty 4′ x4′ beds for one hundred dollars. I use both pressure treated and untreated lumber. The corners I used 4″ x4″ cut to whatever depth the bed was and screwed the boards to them. The untreated wood should last at least five years. Tools needed, are hand drill with 1/8″ drill bit, and phillip head bit, 3″ screws and a 5′ pipe clamp.
      A 3/4″ pipe threaded one end, five foot long and a pipe clamp set for ten bucks.

  15. Diane says:

    Can you explain how the irrigation system works? Thanks!

  16. Diane says:

    Could you explain how the irrigation system works? Thanks!