My parents have had a garden for as many years as I can remember. I can tell you firsthand that planting/tending a garden is hard work but you will never taste a vegetable as good as one you’ve grown yourself. Period. It’s why they do it. Year after year. I have had a container garden for the past few years with herbs, cherry tomatoes, peppers and small vegetables. This year we’ve decided to take the plunge and expand our garden to include raised beds. I can’t tell you how excited I am. I am finally a farmer!
We’ve decided to build beds because our soil is full of
rocks boulders and if we’re going to do the work we’d like to reap the harvest. We looked online for a little inspiration before getting started. Now when I say we built these of course I mean Mr. bell’alimento. After we decided on the size, we headed out to our local home improvement store and picked up our supplies.
The initial investment isn’t cheap. The beds costs us about $175 each when it was all said and done. Then there was still the cost of the the actual plants (or seeds if you prefer) and any special needs (cages, etc.). We plan on using the beds year round so we’ll be getting our money’s worth.
What you can’t put a dollar amount on is what you get out of growing your own food. You know what you put in and what comes out. We’ll be involving the kids in the gardening too. The plan is maybe they’ll actually eat more of those veggies if they get their little hands dirty growing, harvesting them. A girl can dream right? I’ll keep you posted.
Our bed was slightly adapted from this one on Sunset
Supplies you’ll need to make 1 raised bed:
- One 6′ long 4 x 4
- Six 8′ long 2 x 6
- One 10′ long 1″ PVC pipe
- Wood Screws: 32, 3″ #14 & 16, ½ ” #8
- One 4 x 10′ roll of ¼” garden cloth
- Eight 1″ galvanized tube straps
- 12 bags MiracleGro Garden Soil (which are HEAVY btw, a wheelbarrow came in handy)
- With a table or power saw, cut the 4 x4 into four 12″ tall corner posts. Cut two 2 x 6’s in half. Cut the 1″ PVC pipe into eight 12″ long pieces.
- Take 2 corner posts lay them parallel 4′ apart. Take 4′ 2 x 6 lay flush with top and outside edge. Secure with 2 3″ screws. Take 4 ‘ 2 x 6 lay it underneath. Secure with 2 3″ screws. Repeat for other side.
- Join short sides with 8′ board. Secure with two screws. Add other long side. Add second layer of 2 x6’s.
- Line the bed with garden cloth to keep; trim the cloth with shears to fit around corner posts if necessary.
- To hold hoops (we’ll make hoops in the fall/winter by using 1/2″ PVC pipe – the hoops are used to protect the beds from weather and small animals), attach four 12″ pieces of 1″ PVC pipe inside the bed: On the long sides, space pipes 2′ apart. Screw on two tube straps to secure each pipe.
- Fill the bed with soil; rake, and gently water (how cute is our water boy? Of course I’m completely partial.)
Now all that’s left to do is plant your vegetables (or fruits or flowers if you’re so inclined) ! We filled our first bed with 8 tomato plants:
2 Big Boy
2 Solar Fire Tomatoes
2 Mr. Stripey
Which join the 6 cherry/Roma tomato plants that reside in our deck container garden. That’s a whole lot of sauce in our future ! And of course a post on canning tomatoes will follow. How could it not?