There are many reasons to start a raised bed over grass. For one thing, it's much easier to weed and maintain your plants when they're growing in an elevated space. And by planting vegetables that grow vertically, you can save considerable space in your garden! But the most important reason is that gardening is fun, healthy exercise. Wouldn't it be great if you could do this without getting out of breath or breaking a sweat?
I was so excited to plant my square foot garden this past March. I wanted to grow vegetables and herbs until the end of October, but as it turned out, the first half of spring had me really worried! There were late freezes and everything in my raised garden bed just seemed to die. It all looked pretty bad for a few weeks, but then something amazing happened - they started coming back from the brink! They grew bigger and stronger than ever before with some things doubling or even tripling in size!
I've learned a lot about gardening throughout this process. The most important thing is that you can't give up when things are looking bleak. Remember to keep trying, don't give up! If you keep going you will have the garden you dream of!
Here's a photo journey of my rectangular garden that I use as one of my food beds.
Prepare your food beds for winter -
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A raised bed over grass provides an easy way to grow food at home with minimal effort on your part. A raised garden bed is relatively inexpensive and easy to produce the materials needed. The raised garden beds can be made anywhere the space is available and they make it easier and more comfortable for your back than kneeling down for hours weeding, planting, watering!
Rectangular Gaden Bed Materials
To make a raised bed over grass, you will need:
-Ruler or Tape Measure
-Circular saw or hand saw
-Hammer and Nails OR Power Drill and Wire Clamps (optional)
-Soil Amendments such as compost, peat moss, worm castings, etc.
The steps are simple:
- Decide where you want your raised bed to be located
-Measure and mark out your raised bed using a tape measure
-Lay cardboard down in the
-If you are creating a rectangular raised bed, use stakes and wire clamps to create corners (or use a circular saw or hand saw if you have them)
-Fill the raised bed with soil amendments such as compost, peat moss, worm castings, etc. until it is about one foot below ground level
-Smooth out the top of the raised bed so that there are no lumps or bumps and water well
Your raised garden bed is now ready!
Raised Garden Bed DIY
Start by following the steps in Starting a Vegetable Garden. After taking those steps, you will want to get the materials to build to your bed. If you're going to get a premade bed, I'll link to some good raised beds below.
Don't make your rectangular bed wider than you can reach, comfortably a little over the center. For me, I like mine to be four feet wide. I can comfortably reach the center. I like the length to be 8 feet long. I'll go and get the two-by-fours I need for that size bed.
I'll cut the two-by-fours with a saw to size. For me, that means cutting them into four-foot lengths. You can use any power tool you have for this step, so long as you're careful and don't hurt yourself or make your bed too short!
I use pine, which will last anywhere from 5 to 8 years in my area. If you want a long-lasting bed in a wet climate, I would suggest going with cedar. Cedar will make you dig deeper into your pocket than pine but will last much longer. That may double the amount of time your raised garden bed can last. If you live in a dry area, opting for pine may be sufficient for you. You will have to determine what to use by your specific climate. I also don't use treated wood for my beds(especially food beds). You will need to determine if you are okay with using treated lumber.
Now, you have a couple of options on how you would like to put them together. I use four-inch deck screws for mine. I have found that you can buy a planter block at a local big box store. These planter blocks are not too expensive, which I found under $5.00. In using the blocks, you will not need to screw anything together. You will need one block for each corner. Therefore you will need four blocks. The boards will slide right in, and you'll have a quick and straightforward setup. Just get the right size wood you need and slide it right in. No tools are necessary!
If you conclude to go the route with screws, you'll want to make sure you have a drill with the size bit you need for the screws. I suggest you predrill the holes for your screws, so you don't split the wood when you screw the wood together.
- You can also create a raised vegetable garden bed with bricks, rocks, or blocks of wood that you stack up and secure in place., The height should be around 18 inches high so it's easy enough to tend your plants without having to be on your knees or stand on a stool.
I also can share a learned lesson experience from myself. One thing you may want to add on, which I didn't do and regret. I'll do this to my bed this year as soon as the snow melts. Add to the bottom of the bed galvanized wire fencing, with holes small enough that mice and moles can't get through. I had mice burrow through one of my raised garden beds. The day after I planted seedlings, I checked on them and noticed that the mice had eaten them. Please learn from my mistake and prevent this from happening to you. You can staple the fencing to the bottom of the bed, or you can get shorter screws with washers to hold the fencing in place.
Filling Your Food Beds
After you have built the raised bed you will need to fill it. Start by laying cardboard down on the ground so weeds and grass don't grow up through the soil. You can call local stores for cardboard. Hardware stores may be a good option. They should have plain cardboard without tape and writing on it.
I have filled my bed with straight compost, but there are so many options you can use. You can use potting soil, topsoil, or a mix of both. There are also plenty of mixes you can create yourself.
Some other mixes you may decide to use are soil conditioner, fertilizer, and organic mulches. You can also use compost, but if you are using a bagged mix that already has some in it then no need to add more.
- Fill your raised garden bed with a mixture of soil conditioner and other ingredients like fertilizer, organic mulches, or compost. If you're using a pre-mixed package from the store then just follow their directions on how much to use for plants in your size bed.
Now that your raised bed is built, you are ready to plant it. You can use the raised bed right away or wait until a later time of year when the summer heat has cooled off and frost is not expected for at least six weeks in your location.
- To start, clear out any debris from inside the garden bed that could rot down into the soil and creates an appealing environment.
- Next, make sure the level of the soil fill is even across all four sides
- this will provide good drainage if water pools on one side due to rain or other factors (such as slope). If necessary, add organic matter such as composted leaves over topsoil so that they mix together underneath before filling with topsoil again.
The final measure is to plant your seeds, flowers, or vegetables. You want to place them about six inches from the edge of the bed. This will give your plants enough space to grow and provide healthy air circulation.
Mulching Your Raised Garden Bed
***Do not mix your mulch into your soil, it will deplete the nitrogen in your soil***
- Mulching also provides natural pest control by encouraging worms and other beneficial insects into the garden bed. This helps reduce populations of harmful insects like slugs or aphids without using chemical pesticides., You can use any type of organic material for mulch such as wood chips, leaves, grass clippings, hay bales - just make sure it is well rotted before adding them!
- Add some fertilizer (organic compost) every now and then between plantings if desired because they'll be growing on top of each other with no room for the nutrients to leach through.
- Don't forget to water deeply every day until they are established - be careful not to waste too much by watering them too often if there is already plenty of rain as this may lead to root rot.
- To prevent weeds from taking over use mulch between plants that can smother weeds like straw, hay, pine needles, or leaves.
A Raised bed over grass is an inexpensive and easy way for anyone of any age (kids too!) to start growing their own food at home with minimal effort on your part. A great thing about them is that they can be customized in size and height depending on what works best for you. They also provide plenty of benefits including:
- Inexpensive and easy to produce materials needed. - Raised beds can be placed anywhere the space is available - It's a lot easier and more comfortable on your back than kneeling down for hours weeding, planting, watering!
- The soil stays warmer which means plants grow faster and you will have a higher yield of produce.
-Making the rectangular bed taller will allow you to feel more comfortable while gardening because you won't have to worry about bending over.
-Raised beds are also great for kids, they can help plant and weed without having to bend down too much which is less tiring on their backs or knees.
It's been an exciting and fun-filled ride and I hope this blog post has helped you to start one of your own food beds. If you want to make any comments or have any questions, then please comment below!
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