DIY Network

Vegetable Gardening

This DIY Basic will provide tips on vegetable gardening in raised beds.

More in Outdoors

Watering Veggies

Watch an Overview Video

Gather Your Materials and Tools

Materials and Tools:

12x8 cedar boards or bricks, rocks, or blocks
linseed oil or borax-based wood treatment (optional)
circular saw
power drill
wood screws
metal corner guards
spading fork
iron rake
measuring tape
garden soil

Build the Garden Bed Frame

For easy-to-grow vegetables and herbs, build multiple raised garden beds. Raised beds are easy to plant and weed. Raised beds can hold perennials or annuals.

Plant cool weather vegetables like lettuce and onions in spring and fall; tomatoes, peppers and summer squash need warm weather.

A southern exposure with 6 to 8 hours a day of direct sunlight is ideal.

Start with rot-resistant cedar or use bricks, rocks or block. DO NOT use treated lumber; chemicals could leach into vegetables.

For healthy roots, beds should be at least 1 foot deep; for easy working, width should be no more than 4 feet.

To preserve wood, paint with linseed oil or borax-based treatment.

Make simple frames of 12x8 lumber, and screw together corners and reinforce with metal corner protector.

Fill the Frame With Soil

To improve drainage, loosen soil underneath with shovel or spading fork.

Tip: Pathways between beds should be wide enough for sitting or kneeling while working vegetables. Spread hay or pine straw on pathways to keep down mud.

Fill frame to top with garden soil. Do not step on soil; this could compact it and affect drainage and plant growth.

Plant Vegetables and Herbs

Plant vegetables and herbs at proper times for your gardening zone.

So that smaller plants get enough sun, plant tall plants against wall or on north side of bed. Plant crops in succession: spring lettuce, summer beans, fall greens.

Tip: Pull out and discard diseased plants immediately.

Water and Feed Plants Regularly

Because raised beds dry out quicker than ground gardens, you'll need to water regularly.

Feed regularly to give plants the nutrients they need to thrive. Think about using a combination fertilizer and water product.

Mulch beds with straw, shredded bark or pine needles to conserve water and keep down weeds.

Tip: Cover beds with netting to keep out birds, rabbits and deer.