Are you looking to start your own backyard vegetable garden? Need to build a raised bed from scratch or already have one? You will have three important factors to account to consider before you start growing. They are location of the bed, soil type\mix, and which plants to grow together (companion plants). Trial and error is a good way to learn, but with available resources on the web will help cut the learning curve.
The first step for me was identifying a location in my yard that where sunlight would be available at least 8 hours a day. Once I had the bed placed in a good location I went off to my local Lowe’s store to begin shopping for the materials and tools I would need for the project. The materials you will need may very according to your project needs. For the purpose of this post I have created a list of the items I used to fill the 8×4 raised bed I built.
Note: It is a good idea to use a Soil Calculator before purchasing your soil so you don’t under or over estimate your needs.
Once you have selected the location of your raised bed you will need to prep the area. Using plastic spikes tie rope around the area you will dig. Begin by edging out the area of grass you will remove. Then proceed to uproot the grass using a spade shovel.
Tip: An alternative to removing the grass is laying down cardboard over. Cardboard/newspaper will smother the grass and weeds and will prevent growth into the soil.
Next flip the raised bed over and drape the landscape fabric over it. Using a staple gun, staple the fabric down. Be sure to stretch the cloth for a tight fit. Once the bed is fully covered, use a scissor to cut off the excess fabric.
Next proceed to place the bed in the desired area. If your bed post extend a few inches down use a shovel to dig holes where the post will go. Once in place even out the soil around the bed and proceed to neatly place the 12″x12″ decorative paver stones.
The next step is optional, but recommended if you are not using cedar (naturally bacterial and fungal resistant, decays much slower). Since I use white wood I lined the inside of raised bed with plastic sheeting. Simply unroll from the packaging and without unfolding begin stapling across the top. Make sure to start from the very bottom of the bed for best coverage. This will also prevent dirty water from seeping through the cracks.
Time for your soil mixture. Soil mixture can vary depending on your plants watering needs. Depending on the mix you will have either have soggy soil or very dry soil. My personal preference in mix comes in thirds. For this mix I used 1/3 garden soil, 1/3 compost/manure and a 1/3 of compost. This mix adds good volume and water retention while allowing your plants roots to aerate. I’ve had good success in the past growing vegetables using this ratio so I stick to what works.
Once your soil has been mixed thoroughly water it down several times to allow settling before planting. Plant selection is a broad topic with many considerations. Check online resources for companion planting to find out what plants fair the best with. There are many available guides such as this one from Heirloom-Organics.
This bed will be the home of mostly tomates, peppers and herbs. I also have peas growing off on a trellis next to the bed. So far I have the following growing:
Red Bell Pepper
Green Bell Pepper
Tip: Use Marigolds in your vegetable garden to naturally repel bean beetles, squash bugs, thrips, tomato hornworms, and whiteflies.
I hope you enjoyed the walkthrough of the newly installed raised bed vegetable garden. Feel free to leave questions as well as share your gardening tips via the comments.
Disclosure: Products within this post were provided to The Outdoor Boys to help facilitate this post. All opinions and comments stated are my own. All photos posted are taken by and property of The Outdoor Boys.