Michael and I are busy researching, talking, planning and doing some more researching our garden and patio projects. Thanks to Stephanie at Keeper of the Home (new blog/name coming) we're inspired and challenged to be better stewards of the "land" God's given us. Rather than watering grass (and weeds), we're going to make our land more productive and edible. Stephanie's the Canadian Garden Girl - go check her great post on her new seeds.
Michael watched her suggested Home Grown Revolution on U-Tube and now he's got vision for his "garden." So, I'm married to a King, a Philosopher, a Pastor, a Musician, the Father of my children and now Garden Guy. This should indeed be a fun and interesting experience.
He's finishing this tree project that started here and next, because we live in the desert and our dirt isn't the greatest, he's going to build three raised beds. He found these instructions (with video too) from the Garden Girl in Boston.
How To Build a Raised Bed
There are many different ways and materials you can choose to build your raised bed. Personally I use regular old dimensional lumber. There are advantages and disadvantages to this material.
The advantages are that it is relatively inexpensive, easy to cut and screw together. The disadvantages are that because the lumber is in contact with the soil, will eventually rot away. If I get seven years out of a bed then I am happy.
I extend the life of my beds by painting them with milk paint after they have been outside for one year. I have also treated some lumber with linseed oil with pretty decent results. Never use pressure treated wood. It has been chemically treated and those chemicals can leach out into your soil and poison you slowly. I am dying to try recycled plastic lumber for my beds at some point, recycled plastic lumber, although more expensive it can last virtually forever.
The tools you will need are a Screw gun and a saw. I personally get the people at the home supply store to precut my lumber for me, it is easier to transport that way and saves me lots of time.
The raised beds I build are based on four foot beds and eight foot beds; this is also the general standard for lumber. Lumber comes in 8, 10, and 12' + lengths, so this allows less cutting, which means less waste. I use 2x10x8' lumber for the construction of my raised beds.
To build one 4x4 raised bed I buy four pieces of 8' lumber and have the store cut them into 8-4’ pieces. They’re now lighter and you’ll be able to transport them home easily in your car. Don’t forget to buy 4”galvanized screws to assemble the raised beds.
If you’ll be rotating and housing chickens or rabbits in them, make sure you fasten galvanized wire to the bottom with screws and washers so your chickens will be safe from predators. Each four foot bed requires about 32 cubic feet of soil. Today you can buy highly enriched organic soil at your garden center, but I prefer to make my own with my livestock and other compostable materials that would normally be hauled away. Check out the video for more information.