How to Build a Raised Garden Bed

Raised Garden Bed in North Carolina

Being in quarantine brought out a bit of my creative side. It also increased my love for plants. So put those two things together…I decided I wanted to try to build a raised garden bed (and try and grow things that I can eat)! So far, only two of the twenty or so vegetables/fruits have died…BUT! I can assure you, the garden bed itself looks awesome! I’ll just share the materials I purchased and steps I went through to build this raised garden bed because there were definitely some lessons learned.

I bought all of the materials from Lowes because it’s the only home improvement store in my area and just a short drive from my house.

Some things I read before I built the garden bed to create my shopping list:

  • Don’t make the garden bed too wide. 4 feet is the widest you should go so that you can work in the garden bed without stepping on them. If it is wider than 4 feet you will not be able to reach all of the plants!
  • If you are placing the raised garden bed directly on grass or a weed-y area, you will definitely want to put something on the bottom of your garden bed. A few examples are: poultry wire (what I used), concrete slab (if your soil underneath is absolutely horrible), plastic, cardboard, newspaper, or landscape fiber. I found this list from searching Pinterest.
  • Add straw to the bottom of the garden bed to prevent weeds from coming through. I’m not sure we totally needed to follow this step because we placed the garden bed on top of pine needles (which also help). Save your money and use whatever you have around you!
  • Try not to compact the soil! Soft, fluffy soil is best!
  • You want to use a mixture of Raised Garden Soil and a Compost mixture.
  • Save your eggshells and coffee grounds! Using eggshells in the garden can help boost the productivity because it adds calcium to the soil. It’s also good to deter slugs and snails! Coffee grounds slowly release nitrogen which is a key component in making vegetable plants produce. Put them both in the bottom of the hole when you’re planting!

 

Materials you’ll need to Build your Own 4′ x 8′ Raised Garden Bed:

Treated Lumber:

  1. 4 x 2”x8” (8 ft length)
  2. 3 x 2”x4” (8 ft length)
  3. 1 x 4”x4” (8 ft length)

Other Materials:

  1. Galvanized (rust-free) #10 Deck Screws (3 in.)
  2. Wire Mesh (chicken wire) 1 x 2ft wide roll (25ft length)
  3. Zip ties or wire
  4. Hand Saw (LOL) or circular saw (for better, faster cutting) and Cordless Drill
  5. Tape Measure
  6. Wire cutters/scissors
  7. Painters Tape
  8. Black Spray Paint x 2
  9. Garden Plant Markers/Labels

Soil / Plants:

  1. Straw Blanket or Straw (or just use pine needles!)
  2. Soil (Raised Garden Bed Soil) x 15 Bags
  3. Organic Compost x 3-4 Bags
  4. Mulch x 1 Bag
  5. Fruits/Vegetables/Herbs

Other Useful Gardening Tools:

  1. Gardening Gloves
  2. Small Shovel/Trowel
  3. Scissors
  4. Watering Can
  5. Kneeling Pad
  6. Weed Puller
  7. Gardening Shears
  8. Miracle Grow
  9. Gardening Bench

Step By Step to Build your Own 4′ x 8′ Raised Garden Bed

  1. Gather all of your materials listed above and find a level surface to build the raised garden bed. I just used my garage!
  2. Measure and mark lumber to be cut. you’ll be cutting one of the 2″x8″s and 2″x4″s in half to make them 4 feet long. IMG_6458
  3. Place lumber into place to ensure the measurements line up properly before cutting.IMG_6459
  4. Cut the lumber with a hand saw or circular saw. We did not have a circular saw, so we bought a hand saw (lol). Thankfully, we have really awesome neighbors who saw us struggling and let us borrow their circular saw which made the process a lot faster. So pro-tip: use a circular for straighter cuts and faster construction.
  5. I did not space the interior wood pieces equally because I knew I planned to grow more vegetables and herbs than fruit, so those sections are slightly larger.
  6. Screw together all wood pieces with the deck screws. I chose to do 3 screws in each section, but 2 probably would have been fine.
  7. Flip the entire structure upside down and staple the chicken wire to the bottom. Use zip ties or wire to connect the two pieces together in the middle.
  8. I decided to get creative and decorate the top piece of wood for my garden bed. To do this, I use painters tape and did a completely random design. I used black spray paint to spray the wood over the tape, the top and the sides. I waited for it to dry and then removed the tape. *Make sure to have a protective sheet or area when using the spray paint.
  9. Add and screw together the 4″x4″ pieces of wood to the outer corners and alternating middle sections for better structure. IMG_6465
  10. Transfer the garden bed to its final location!
  11. Place the straw hay to the bottom of the garden bed.IMG_6481
  12. Place the soil about 1/2 full, place the compost, then finish filling the rest of the garden bed. We had about 1 bag of soil remaining from the list above. I used a rake to even out the soil!IMG_6482
  13. Follow instructions on the plants for how/where to place them. Some should remain in their containers and some do not. Make sure to loosen the roots before placing them in the ground. Once the plants were planted, we added mulch to the top, although I don’t think we will have too many issues with weeds in this area.
  14. Place little label markers to track what’s what! I saw so many cute ideas for these like painted rocks or hand made signs… I just bought some from Lowes and wrote the names on them. It looks nice to me!
  15. Water the plants and watch them grow! (I used the blue miracle grow the first time and will alternate when I use it).

IMG_6490

Note: I made multiple trips to Lowes, so make sure you have all of the items you need the first trip! I had to go back for an extra bottle of spray paint! When I returned to Lowes, I realized that I wanted to try and grow sweet potatoes, but I had already filled the “vegetable” area, so I bought a separate planter from the garden section, additional soil and compost, and the sweet potato plants!

IMG_6501


I’m not sure if I will be the best at maintaining the garden, but I will post updates on how it does and if we end up actually growing anything worth eating!

Comment below and share your pictures if you end up building your own garden bed!


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Check out this post on how to do it!

almond milk


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Hawaii Heart - North Carolina Living

3 thoughts on “How to Build a Raised Garden Bed

  1. Hi Jess,
    Thanks for sharing your learning experience on building a raised garden bed! I got some good ideas and think I could do it to! Loved your special touches! Maybe at our next house! I love your blogs! Keep it up!

    Like

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