Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Raised Bed Installed

The new raised bed is in place and I'm really pleased with how it turned out. We were able to get it knocked out in a couple of hours. (Again, my wonderful husband pitched in, which I really didn't expect so that cut down the time tremendously.) The installation of this bed was actually easier than my first raised bed... mainly because I learned my lesson the hard way.

For anyone interested, I used three 1 x 8 x 12 cedar boards. One of the boards was sawed in half so I ended up with two 1 x 8 x 6 boards and two 1 x 8 x 12 boards. I used a a 1/4" drill bit and 2 1/2" decking screws. For anyone needing a visual, this video will show you how I made my bed. 

If you aren't planning to break sod and will have the bottom of your bed enclosed, the amount of work will be greatly reduced. I, myself, wanted my plants to have more room to grow than an 8-inch high bed could provide.

If you will be breaking sod, these tips may help:

  • Keep your bed(s) as far away from trees as possible. If there is anything more back-wrenching than trying to dig around a massive tree root, I have yet to experience it. In addition, your vegetable plants will be competing with the tree for space, nutrients and water.
  • Remove sod when it's died back... I.e, not in the middle of April or May when it's growing back lush and green. It's so much harder to remove when it's growing strong as opposed to sickly yellow.
  • Cut the sod with your shovel like a sheet cake. Use the edge of your shovel (or use a grass edger) to cut it into manageable squares, not much bigger than your shovel. Get under the edge and lift up.
  • Don't remove sod when the ground is saturated. Not only is it messier work but much heavier work. The soil also compacts as you work, making it harder to till. 
  • Keep a wheel barrow handy to haul off the sod. Don't overload it because it's not fun to tip and scoop it all back up. (Yes, I actually did this last year.)

We removed the sod and tilled the earth by hand. I used a ratio of 60% soil, 30% compost and manure, and 10% vermicilite and peat moss to fill the bed. I'll be using this fertilizer, the same I used in the past. I'll also be checking the soil in a few days to see if I need any amendments.

Trafford taking it easy, watching, with his stick.

I did not end up taking pictures of the finished bed, nor did I take a picture once all the sod was removed. I didn't really think about it and besides, I was pretty well covered with dirt at that point. I'll get out there sometime today to get a picture of the final product.

 The hardest part of  (for me, anyhow) is done with so I can rest easy and look forward to spring.


  1. Hello Angie! This is Margie from Margie's Garden! Your blog looks nice! I also am doing the 5x5 challenge, or rather I talked my son and wife into one, and I will be documenting it on my blog. Your season must be far ahead of mine to already be planting. It will be many weeks before I get in the garden.

  2. You have a really good start on your garden now. Can't wait to see how it looks all full of plants. We're going to have spring someday, I promise!