We have made a number of improvements to the plot of land we are living on.
Building raised beds was a project we really wanted try, and also has some advantages over just planting directly into the ground. With a raised bed, we are able to use our own soil, allow for proper drainage, and protect against critters and weeds.
Online, we found about a million tutorials and plans for building raised beds. Each had a different recommendation for building materials, soil, depth, etc… It was overwhelming and didn’t give us a very clear idea of what we wanted. So, true to ourselves, we decided to wing it. Here’s how we did it:
First, We decided that we wanted to build an 6' x 6' bed. This was mainly because the cheap cedar planks we purchased from the Home Depot came in this length. Speaking of planks, we used 6 foot cedar fence planks. For some strange reason, this is by far the cheapest way to get cedar in the right size. The rough hewn 8 inch by 1 inch by 6 feet planks were under $2 each, so the price was right. They had rounded tops, which we cut off with a circular saw.
Our complete materials list:
8" x 1" x 6' cedar fence planks (4)
4' x 25' roll chicken wire (1)
2" x 2" wood stakes (4)
push stakes (4)
25 foot roll plastic fencing (1)
Big bags of potting soil (6)
Staple gun & Staples (1)
3 inch wood screws (8)
After going to Home Depot and picking up our materials, we picked out spot- a full sun spot on a slight hill, and laid out the planks. We arranged them approximately in a square, then dug down a few inches into the ground, attempting to make the ground a bit more even.
Next, we drove the wood stakes down into the ground in the corners of the plot, and secured the wood planks to the corners with the screws.
After this, we cut the chicken wire into two 6 foot strips, and laid them on the inside of the bed. We stapled the chicken wire to the planks to secure the garden from subterranean attacks.
The next step was to fill the bed in with soil. We used 6 bags of potting soil, mixed with some regular dirt we had dug up.
And now, the fun part planting our baby plants! We picked 5 cold hardy plants that we love to eat on a regular basis: broccoli, kale, swiss chard, romaine, brussels sprouts. We lined them up, and made sure to put their labels in the garden so we wouldn't forget which was which.
Finally, we installed our perimeter fence, driving the 4 push stakes into the ground at the corners, and securing the plastic fencing to this. It has been about 2 weeks now, and our little babies have been growing up so fast!
We water them daily with our gray water, which is perfectly sanitary, and a great way to reduce our footprint. We only use biodegradable soaps and cleaning products, so our plants have nothing to worry about!
Check back soon to read about how our garden progresses!