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How to Build a Raised Vegetable Bed

Are you having trouble growing your favorite vegetables due to poorly draining soil? Follow these easy step-by-step instructions to building your own raised veggie bed.

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  • Time

    Under Half Day

  • Price Range

    $100 - $250

  • Difficulty

    Easy to Moderate

Highlights:

Step 1: Determine the Location

Most veggies require a lot of sunshine to produce a good harvest, so select a location for the raised bed that receives at least eight hours of direct sun. Choose a level, well-draining site and near a water source.

Step 2: Build the Frame

Place the 4 1" x 12" boards so that the ends meet to form a square box. Mark the locations of the four corners of the box, move aside the lumber and dig 1'-deep holes for the 4" x 4" posts. Place a post in each hole and backfill the soil. Firmly press the soil around each post to stabilize it. Then replace the 1" x 12" boards into the square box shape and attach them to the posts with screws or nails.

a variety of materials can be used for raised beds

Courtesy of Lucie Rowe

Step 3: Loosen the Soil

Using a shovel or spading fork, dig and turn the soil inside the frame to a depth of about 12." This depth is required, not because the vegetables' roots will grow that deeply, but to allow water from rainfall or irrigation to drain properly through the soil.

dig up ground inside framework

Courtesy of Lucie Rowe

Step 4: Fill the Frame with Soil Amendments

Thoroughly mix the topsoil and soil amendments, such as humus, sand and manure, together inside the frame and rake it smooth. This mixture containing rich soil, nutrients and sand in a loose configuration provides good drainage. This is critical since good drainage produces healthy roots and, in turn, results in full-bodied plants and tasty veggies.

fill in dug up area with top soil and amendments

Courtesy of Lucie Rowe

Step 5: Plant the Veggies

Select an assortment of cool- or warm-season veggies in the appropriate time of the year. Lay them out in the raised bed according to their spacing requirements. Use a trowel to dig a hole big enough to accommodate each rootball, place the plant carefully in the hole and backfill with soil. Water plants thoroughly. Place stakes around the veggies that need them. Add a two- to three-inch layer of mulch around the base of the plants.

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