How to Build a Raised Vegetable Bed

Having trouble growing your favorite vegetables due to poorly draining soil? Follow these step-by-step instructions and build your own raised veggie bed.

Organic Vegetable Patch

Organic Vegetable Patch

Materials and Tools:

four 1x12 boards
4x4 posts
wood screws
nails
topsoil
plants
water
mulch
stakes
soil amendments
post hole digger
drill
hammer
shovel
spading fork
spade
hard rake
trowel
garden hose

Steps:

1. 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.

2. Place the four 1" x 12" boards so 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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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