In a way, this is a tutorial, though I believe you would be able to figure this out on your own. The Husband and I followed our own intuition as we built them. I know you all have a similar intuition, so, instead of a tutorial, consider this the story of how we built our raised beds.
And how you could too.
Plot out where your boxes will go.
Originally, for aesthetic purposes, I wanted one box at the front of the garden running east west and the back two running north-south. There was no real reason for this – purely looks. But, our spacing just wasn’t working out very well. So, this is what we ended up with:
- 2 foot paths between boxes.
- 3 foot path down the centre (which will appear more like the centre once the other three boxes join it).
- 6×4 foot boxes.
- 2 foot strip along the fence line
We marked everything out with our very precise heel against the dirt. Then, we grabbed our shovels and hoes.
Work your soil up.
You’ll be surprised how much it appears to be once it’s no longer hard backed into the earth. We also dig up and smooth out our path, just by a few inches. We added this dirt to our pile for the garden bed. The process somehow involved getting dirt in my hair and all the way down my back. I may or may not have ended up with dirt in some very inconvenient places. A shower is recommended once finished.
Build your boxes!
For us, that meant cutting our wood to 4 feet and 6 feet and simply screwing them together. Screws are important! Because the dirt is going to put some pressure on the sides of the boxes, nails will just pull out over time. Screws will too, but it will take much longer.
Place your boxes in your garden and reinforce with stakes.
At this point, you’ll notice that we’re not quite finished this step. We used four stakes to reinforce the sides, but we’ll need another four to reinforce the other side. There should be two stakes at each corner to help the wood with the pressure of holding in the dirt.
This is a step we did not do, but wouldn’t be a bad idea if you want to build a ‘proper’ raised bed. Often, when people build raise beds, they do it to prevent weed growth, or because their own soil is not so good. So, a barrier between the good and bad soil is required. This can simply by cardboard, a thick layer of mulch, or some landscaping fabric, anything that is going to prevent the weeds from popping up through.
We skipped this step because we think our Toronto soil is awesome, nutrient-rich and perfect for growing veggies. We might have a bit of a soil-ego.
Smooth out your dirt and push it right into the corners of the bed.
Ours are ridiculously full, even after a night or two of settling, being rained on, etc. etc. After this step, I’ve announced them ready to plant!
Tomorrow: the garden plan!