HOW TO BUILD A RAISED PLANTER BED

This past weekend we spent over at the parental's building two raised veggie beds. They didn't have much room in their actual yard for these planters so we decided to clean out one side of the alley and build them there. The only problem was- there was a literal mountain of dirt that had been there for who knows how long- and all of the pallet remnants from this project. So began the cleanup.

Once we cleared out all of the pallets and debris, we began pulling old pieces of cedar and lining them up on the road to figure out which pieces weren't warped. Using reclaimed pieces of wood allowed us to make both beds for just $20. We measured out the length of all the boards and marked them, and  we John used a circular saw to cut down all of the individual pieces. We used 2x4s for all of the sides and 4x4s for the corner braces. Two screws held each board to the corner joints, and one brace in the center of the longest sides kept the bed from bowing once filled with dirt. I realize these pictures make it look like John did all the work but I was there, I promise.



We ended up with the first bed measuring 123" x 69" because that made for the fewest cuts and was the perfect width to allow the snow plow access to the road in the winter. The second bed ended up being 100" x 69". To protect the seeds from scavenging birds we constructed a cover using PVC pipes. We used a 1" diameter pipe that was cut down and screwed into the bed with pipe strapping. This created a "holder" for the 1/2" pipe that we bent over the top of each box. The large bed had three hoops the smaller one only used two. And we did not cut the 1/2" pipe at all. At this stage I am pretty sure the neighbors thought we were making a covered wagon.

Once the bed was in place we drove a stake into the ground to ensure that the sides wouldn't bow once we started to fill it with dirt. They didn't bow at all end we just left the stakes in the ground so we could replace them with snow flags later in the season. At this point all of the "easy" work was over. Remember that dirt mountain, here's where it comes in. Because the soil was so rocky, we sifted all of it before filling the bed. I'd say we spent 4 hours sifting dirt for two beds, I hoped we would eventually find a treasure or a dino bone that would make us rich. That didn't happen... This is why we had rocks piled in between our boxes, and lining the fronts of each bed- that was the only place to deposit all of the gravel, and treasure. 
Once we had a good layer of base soil in each bed we added 3.8 cubic yards of peat moss, because that's how much comes in a bag! I am told the peat absorbs water and helps "fluff" the soil. That got mixed with the base dirt, more soil was added, and then we mixed the top layer with compost. Two bags of compost in the big box, and one in the small. Then we raked and leveled out both beds. There are a few trouble-making neighborhood cats so we covered the boxes with tarps until it is planting time, because we didn't need any surprises. 


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