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July 12, 2014
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If I can build a raised bed garden plot, you can, too!


Using a power drill with appropriate screwdriver attachment, use three screws at each corner to connect the pieces of wood. (Presto! You have made a box!)

6 two-foot-long road pins

(A good hardware store will have these; they look a bit like rebar, but they have predrilled holes.) These will anchor the box firmly to the ground and will help keep the sides from bowing out during winter’s freezing and thawing.

Determine where you will place the road pins on the inside of the box, spacing them two feet in from each corner. There will be two along each of the two long sides of the box, and one in the middle of each short side (see diagram). With a sledgehammer or other heavy, sturdy hammer, drive the road pins into the ground on the inside of the box making sure they touch the wood and that the top of the exposed part of the road pin does not stick out above the top of the 10-inch-tall box.

12 small diameter wood screws – 2.5 inches long

Note: The diameter of these must be small enough to fit through the pre-existing holes in the road pins.

Screw three of these through each road pin directly into the hemlock.

1 roll black plastic – 25 feet long x 1.5 feet wide

Line the inside of the box to keep the dirt away from the wood; this will protect the wood from direct contact with the dirt and will increase the longevity of your raised bed.

1 small box of one-inch aluminum roofing nails

Note: These have a nearly one-inch round plastic disc on the head of each nail. Use these to nail the plastic to the inside of the box in this manner: fold about two inches of the plastic over on itself (the double layer will make it stronger) and nail this doubled layer all the way around the inside top lip of the box with the plastic touching all the way to the top (but without sticking over the top) of the box.

Now, you’re ready to buy your topsoil and mix it with compost and other soil amendments.

1+ cubic yards of topsoil and one-half cubic yard of compost

Get out your wheelbarrow and shovel and fill your raised bed; stir in the compost before or after you fill your garden plot—it’s your choice.

A pile of fieldstones

Use these where the ground is uneven, and along the outside of the box, fill any gaps between the bottom of the wooden box and the ground.

Landscaper’s fabric and wood chips

Around the outside of the plot, put black landscaper’s fabric on the grass and cover it with wood chips. Be sure the black fabric goes right up to the wood. The landscaper’s fabric will keep the weeds out of your bed for a couple of years.