Over the years, raised bed gardening has become increasingly popular. At first thought, it may seem like an unnecessary project – why not just till up a plot and get started? A few reasons stand out as for why to migrate to raised bed gardening. First, you have control over what is in your soil. Once your frame is built, you will be filling the structure with the soil/compost mixture of your choice. This way you know that your soil is rich, balanced and ready for growing. When you dig up a random spot, you may be looking at years of gardening before you’ve added enough organic material to make it a viable spot for gardening. You also don’t have to deal with soil testing to determine what the soil needs and also if it is contaminated with harmful chemicals or compounds. Secondly, your soil will drain faster and avoid waterlogged soil and/or caking of your soil. It will also warm faster in the early spring in case you want to get an early start on the gardening season. And lastly, by raising the bed you are that much closer to your soil. It will be a bit less strain on your back and a little easier to reach.
Building a frame for a raised bed is a great do-it-yourself project and can be done with a small investment in materials and a little bit of time.
For each raised bed that you want to install, you will need four pieces of untreated framing lumber. Buying untreated lumber is important, because you want to avoid the chemicals in treated lumber from leaching into your soil. For each bed, you’ll need three 2 inch by 12 inch boards that are 8 feet long, one 2 inch by 4 inch board that is 8 feet long, and approximately thirty galvanized decking screws that are 2 1/2 inches long. You will also need a saw, drill and a square.
First, cut the 2-by-4 board into one 4-foot length (to serve as a center brace) and four 1-foot lengths for corner supports. The 2 inch by 12 inch boards will remain uncut and will become the sides of the raised bed.
After drilling pilot holes, attach one of the side boards to an end board with three evenly spaced screws.
Next, position one of the corner supports in the angle between the boards and attach it to the side board with three screws. Repeat for the remaining three corners.