21 Jul 2010

My Raised Bed Project

by Amber Reddinger

When we bought a house in Laureldale, PA in December (during a bitter cold snap) one of the first things I did between painting and unpacking was design a raised garden bed. I was so excited about spring I just couldn't wait. I had this puppy measured and drawn up for months before it was finally time to build it.

I decided on a raised bed for a lot of reasons. The major ones would be pest control, avoiding soil contamination, ease of maintaining and feeding plants, and a big interest in trying out square foot gardening (but probably not until next year when I actually have time to research companion planting).

I started with some untreated lumber. These are 12 foot long boards which came home with me tied to the roof rack of my wonderful little Subaru. Even though I don't live far from Lowe's, I tied these suckers tight and while they were probably terrifying to behold on the highway, they didn't budge an inch.


I decided on hardwood stakes for support for now. Not a wise choice, I'm sure, but I was looking to save myself some money and labor. I had been planning on using studs, but I realized I'd have to pre-dig holes for them in order to sink them in the ground and I don't have a post digger. So stakes it is! (And landscape plastic and metal corner brackets)

stakes and brackets

Some shorter boards for the ends and some rust free screws.

lumber and screws

One side assembled:

front assembled

Three sides pounded in place. The sight of me wielding a sledgehammer that probably weighs half as much as I do was pretty comical, I'm sure...

pounding the sides in

All sides in place and corner brackets attached inside:


Lined and ready to fill!


The fork and the hoe helped me break up and mix the soil inside the bed and the shovel helped me get the peat moss out of the huge and very heavy bags.

fill 'er up

Almost full! I used a mixture of topsoil (nice and inexpensive), peat moss, composted cow manure and garden starter soil blend at the top. The resulting blend feels nice and loose and looks black and fertile when wet. Fingers crossed!

almost full!

All filled up and ready to plant!

ready to plant

Currently, it looks like this:

About the author:

I love working with my hands and helping things grow. :)