Build a Timber Raised Bed
If you have heavy clay soil, you may find it easier to grow vegetables in raised beds. Not only does the soil drain freely, but it also warms up faster in spring.
When to Start: fall, late winter or early spring
At Its Best: summer
Time to Complete: 1 day
- heavy-duty gloves
- 8 pieces of lumber cut to size required (lumber used here are: 2x8s and 2x4s)
- builder's level
- tape measure
- rubber mallet
- long heavy-duty coach screws
- topsoil or soil-based compost
Dig Out Strips of Turf
Mark out lines on the ground where the lumber will rest, then use a sharp shovel to cut out the outline of your bed, all the way around. If positioning the bed on an area of lawn, ease the spade between sod and soil, and lift off the grass, which you can then use elsewhere in the garden.
Lay Lumber in Position
Set the first layer of lumber in position. Remove or add soil until they're level. Check the levels along and diagonally across the lumber. For a perfect square or rectangle, have the lumber pre-cut at a timber yard.
Secure Base Timbers
Use a rubber mallet to adjust the position of the wood pieces so they butt up and align neatly at the corners. Drill two holes on one side of each corner, and secure the joint using long, heavy-duty coach screws. Check that all pieces are firmly joined together.
Arrange Second Layer
The next layer of timbers simply sit on top of the first. Arrange the pieces so that the joints at the four corners are staggered to give the structure extra strength and stability. Check all levels before screwing the lumber in place.
Sow Seeds or Plant Plugs
Fill with garden topsoil or soil-based compost. Water it well and leave to settle for a few days, after which you can sow seeds or plant directly.