What a nice day it was on Easter! The weather was near perfect as we attended Mass, had a nice dinner with the girls, went for a walk in the Carleton Arboretum — and, oh yes, in between those activities, I built a new raised bed for my vegetable garden. I mention all the other things I did Sunday to emphasize how easy it is to build a raised bed for your garden.
Raised beds are essentially wooden boxes to which you add soil and compost. The advantages of raised beds are many: They look neat, you can control the soil better, you’ll need less water, they produce more per square foot, they tend to heat up a little faster because they are above ground, and it’s a bit easier to set up fencing to keep critters away from your garden. If you are a beginning vegetable gardener and are not sure about the quality of the soil in your yard, raised beds are the way to go.
I had purchased the lumber for my bed a week or so ago. Because I wanted a little extra height, I bought three 2-by-10 inch boards, about 10 feet long, and three 2-by-4 inch boards of the same length. The guys at the lumber yard cut one of each width of board in half, so I ended up with two short boards and two long boards of each type. To build the box, I measured and drilled pilot holes for each point of connection. (Drilling pilot holes is the key to getting things together fast.) Then, using deck screws, I attached the boards to each other. When the basic box was together, I added some 2-by-4s I had around as corner pieces. The whole job took less than two hours. (Truth in advertising: My first raised bed took all day to build — but I did not know about drilling the pilot holes then!)
There are several instructional pages on the web and Patti Moreno has an instruction video on raised beds, which is worth watching. Grab your tools. This is a great project for those weeks before you can plant.