Gardening is one of the Top 5 Prepper Skills I recommend people learn. It can be both extremely rewarding – and fairly frustrating. I’ve been gardening for close to 15 years in my backyard using a 25′ x 30′ foot in-ground spot as well as buckets, raised beds, and various containers.
For many, space is lacking and soil is questionable. It is important to get started NOW to learn gardening and get your spots ready. Soil can be improved over time – and it can be made worse. The point is the sooner you start the better off you’ll be.
For many, raised beds offer a quick and simple way to get started. There are a lot of positives with raised beds such as being able to place them pretty much anywhere that will get sufficient sun.
Here is a simple, easy method for building a raised bed garden:
1 12-foot board – or an 8-foot and 4-foot(width of board determines height of raised bed. I recommend no less than a 6″ inch board)
8 nails or screws 2″+ in length
1 saw (jig saw or table saw will work)
1 pen or pencil
1 drill or hammer
1 drill bit slighter smaller than whatever size nail/screw selected
Steps to Building a Simple & Inexpensive Raised Bed Garden
The first thing to do is get everything together in one place. Make sure batteries are charged and power tools are plugged in.
Next – we need to create two 4-foot pieces. If you have an 8-foot board simply mark it off and cut it in half. If you have a longer 12-foot piece mark off 4 foot – cut it, then mark another 4 foot and cut again.
Either way, there should be a single 4-foot piece left at this point. Measure its length and cut it in half.
Above – a total of 4 pieces should be available. Two should measure 4 feet and the other two 2 feet.
Pre-drill the holes for the screws/nails. This step is not necessary but helpful to reduce the chance the wood will split.
Now – go ahead and screw all the boards together in a rectangle shape. Make sure the longer boards are set on the outside of the short boards for each side or the rectangle will be off.
Your finished product should look like the photo above. Now simply place the raised bed wherever you wish, fill with soil – and plant some seeds or plants.
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This project is not complicated and it’s not rocket science. I considered generalizing the instructions without all the pictures and lists but decided to make it a bit more detailed. The size of the bed can be easily adjusted to whatever you wish. 4′ x 8′ beds work well. Going longer has its advantages but going wider makes it difficult to reach in and pick.
Soil? That’s always a question and searching on the internet you’ll come up with all kinds of concoctions. I can only tell you what has worked for me and your mileage may vary:
1/3 composted cow manure(Black Kow brand if you can get it)
1/3 peat moss
1/3 natural soil from area
The above formula is pretty much what I have been using for the past few years and it has worked well. A high-quality potting soil can be substituted for the peat moss or use it with everything else if you wish.
There is a lot of talk about “Mel’s Mix” on the net if you do a search for raised beds. It might work – but it is EXPENSIVE! I’ll pass.
When growing vegetables in raised beds here are two tips to keep in mind:
- WATER: You need to WATER MORE OFTEN than in-ground gardens. In a raised bed gravity naturally pulls the water from the soil thus daily – and even twice daily watering – may be needed. I’ve seen many gardens start off looking good and then hear complaints stuff didn’t grow. Reason? Lack of water. The larger the raised bed the less of an issue this is.
- MULCHING: Mulching is a huge benefit to decreasing moisture loss through evaporation and reducing weed growth. I’ve used grass clippings, dead leaves, pine bark, and local city mulch available to the public. Be careful with grass clippings as if any of the cut grass grew enough to have seed you just planted them in your raised bed.
This post may not seem very timely as much of the country is nearing the end of growing season…but WAIT, there’s MORE!!
Fall gardens are being prepared and readied for planting now.
No better time than now to jump on the gardening bandwagon.
Recommended Gardening Books: