Learn what supplies, how much soil and what plants you'll need to make a raised garden bed for your backyard!
We've written about how to make a raised garden bed before--but this season we decided to make an even larger bed for our fruits and vegetables! We had a 2ft x 4ft raised garden bed that we grew primarily herbs and cucumbers in last year. And while it did well--we were itching to grow more than just herbs and some tomato plants in buckets. So with the extra time on our hands that quarantine allowed us--we figured (like a lot of other gardeners) now was the perfect time to expand our urban garden!
Two 1ft x 10ft boards
Two 1ft x 5ft boards
Screws + screwdriver
17 bags of 3 cubic feet soil (totaling 50 cubic feet of soil--see below on how we determined we needed this much soil)
Seeds or plants of choice
Step 1: Build Raised Bed Frame
To make things simple, we purchased treated wood that was already cut into 1ft x 10ft and 1ft x 5ft sections so that all we had to do when we got home was screw the pieces together. It's important to get wood that is treated to help protect it against the weather elements like rain that and quickly lead to wood rot if it's not treated. Starting with a corner, screw the two ends together with an electric screwdriver. For reinforcement, we cut small sections of a 2x4 into 1in high and screwed into each corner, working out way around until we had a rectangular frame. Overall, our raised garden bed measures 5ft x 10ft and 1ft deep
Some people choose to line their bed with hardware cloth to keep rodents from digging up the garden from underneath and some lay landscaping fabric to keep the weeds out. Since we tilled the earth below--we decided to not use anything on the bottom this time. Some people also build a small trench around their garden beds and line them with hardware cloth to prevent moles and other animals from digging underneath into the garden.
Step 2: Till Soil and Add in Compost
We tilled the soil to about 18 inches below the surface and then mixed in 4 bags of compost to the tilled ground. Next year, we will be able to add our own compost we've been working on but the store bought stuff works pretty well too. We used a certain type of compost that is called a "blend compost" and it consists of mushroom, fish and chicken manure.
To determine how much soil we'd need to buy for our raised garden bed, we multiplied the length and width of the box. So 10ft x 5 ft = 50ft and so that means we needed 50 cubic feet of soil.
Step 3: Plant Seeds or Plants
Since this planter box is almost triple the size of our smaller, herb planter box--we were able to fit a lot of plants in. We chose to go with small plants instead of seeds because seeds really need to be started indoors in January or early February and then transferred to beds once they've sprouted. We planted our beds in late March.
Here's What We Planted
Larger Raised Bed:
1 Grape Tomato
1 Cherry Tomato
4 Large Vine Tomato
1 Banana Pepper
1 Bell Pepper
1 Yellow Squash
1 Purple Bush Green Beans (grow purple and then turn green once you cook them!)
Smaller Raised Bed:
The tomatoes have really taken off and the purple green beans have been delicious!! As our five year old says--they taste like the garden! Visit our Grow It section of the blog for more gardening tips!