kick your shoes off and come on in …

How to ~ Raised Bed Ideas ~ Part Two … and why



Make your own raised beds in less than an hour and save big bucks @

Every time I open a plant catalog or see a television commercial for sale-priced $99 raised bed gardening kits, I cringe! You don’t need to spend that kind of money to build your own four-by-four-foot bed or even a 20-foot-long one.

My husband builds mine. He buys two 1 x 8-inch cedar boards, which don’t rot with age. They come in 8-foot lengths, which is perfect for 4 x 4-foot beds. Cut each plank in half, so that it is 4-feet long. Or, you can have a home improvement/lumber store make the cuts. Many places will do it for free.

Husband also buys a 3-foot length of a 1 x 1-inch pine stake; he cuts it into four pieces and uses them to nail the cedar boards to at corners for bracing. That’s all!

Grouping together several raised beds makes a substantial vegetable garden that is easy to maintain, with no weeding and crops that mature fast

I place the boxes on cleared ground. We cut and roll up our turf, but many gardeners do not think it is necessary. The added 6 inches of soil will bury most of the grass and weeds beneath. After I situate the boxes (four or five grouped together makes a good sized garden), I put down three layers of newspaper to suppress errant weed or grass seeds that might sprout. Paper degrades fully within weeks and feeds the soil.

Another fast, cheap method of building raised beds is to use concrete construction blocks. They have a big bonus. Their holes can be filled with soil mix and planted with herbs or strawberries.

The extra gathered heat from concrete is perfect for Mediterranean-type herbs such as rosemary and lavender. Strawberry plants grow huge and fruit fast in the holes. Each block is 16 inches long by 8 inches high; I purchase mine at big box stores as find the price most reasonable. Beds of 13 feet or longer by 4 feet wide are cheaper to build using blocks than with cedar boards.

Cement construction blocks are a cheap method of building raised beds.

You will be planting seeds and transplants close, because the beds are smaller and the soil is richer. But, plants grown close together in raised beds mature faster, because they compete for nutrients and sunlight. Each plant senses the distance of others and adjusts its metabolism to compete. Several university studies have proven this competition syndrome by identifying how plants perceive others nearby using the green light spectrum.

This 4 x 4-foot bed is crowded with productive peppers, cucumbers, a tomato plant and insect-repelling flowers that are edible.

Raised Bed Soil Mix

The more organic matter there is in soil, the better. Soil microbes are fed, oxygen and water
readily reach roots and plants thrive. Here’s the recipe I’ve developed in the last decade that
works best for my garden.

For one 4 x 4-foot raised bed. (Multiply amounts to fill larger beds.)
2 bags (2-cubic-feet each) top soil
1 pail (3-cubic-feet) peat moss
1 bag (2 to 3-cubic feet) compost or composted cow manure
2-inch layer of shredded leaves or grass clipping.

If you use grass, make sure the clippings are not from a lawn that has been sprayed with herbicides or been fertilized with a food that contains granular herbicides to kill weeds. Both persist and will kill plants beds up to three years after the initial application.

Mix all materials with a hoe or cultivator and water well. Be sure to mulch well with organic Matter such as more leaves or clippings or straw.

Related Articles
Garden Raised Beds and Small Plots

Raised Garden Beds: How to Build


Benefits And Construction of Raised Beds For Vegetable Gardening @ Homstead Revival


For several years, I’ve grown a portion, if not all, of my vegetables in raised beds. It wasn’t until I ran out of space trying to grow enough food for 8 people that I started planting directly into the ground for my tomatoes, potatoes, onions, and squash. But if volume is not an issue, consider some of the benefits of raised bed gardening.


Raised Bed Gardening @ Organic gardening

Crops grow better in the deep, loose, fertile soil of raised beds.raised bed gardeningFor space efficiency and high yields, it’s hard to beat a vegetable garden grown in raised beds. Raised beds can improve production as well as save space, time, and money. They also are the perfect solution for dealing with difficult soils such as heavy clay. In addition, raised beds improve your garden’s appearance and accessibility.











Have a Lawn and Eat Too – The Edible Backyard Barrel Garden

How to ~ Raised Beds Ideas ~ part One



8 responses

  1. Pingback: Knautia arvensis | Find Me A Cure

  2. I agree with just about everything in this post aside from the addition of peat moss. I think that there are more sustainable options that should be considered besides peat moss in gardens. I have to use raised gardens thanks to rocky heavy clay soil and find that my veggies are incredibly happy growing this way. I have a lot more garden beds to build and the concrete block idea is a good one. I have lots of strawberries and was going to give them their own bed but building a garden bed out of concrete blocks and utilising the holes for my strawberries seems like a really good idea now. Cheers for the share 🙂

    January 26, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    • i kind of like peat moss in my west garden as it holds too much moisture and slug heaven, they had the most of my tomato crop from that bed. i do like the idea of cement blocks a lot myself as i am no carpenter lol 😀

      January 26, 2014 at 6:47 pm

      • We can’t access the cedar here and our endemic timbers are very expensive to buy so I tend to try to source ex railway sleepers but they are getting very expensive these days. In the end it is just a matter of keeping the soil in one place so anything tall enough (wine bottles, rocks, reclaimed concrete lumps) is perfect :). You still haven’t sold me on the peat though 😉

        January 26, 2014 at 7:25 pm

      • 😉 i collect rocks but no longer have truck to haul a number at one time

        January 26, 2014 at 7:42 pm

      • We don’t need a truck, we have 4 acres of rocks right here! 😉

        January 27, 2014 at 1:46 am

      • lmao 😀

        January 27, 2014 at 2:09 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s