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Raised Beds

July 10, 2007

Hi all! I need some advice about the EASIEST AND CHEAPEST way for a semi-broke middle-aged fumble-thumbed chick like me to construct some raised veggie beds. They need to be about three feet wide, and I've got about twenty feet of lengthwise space to work with. What are some materials or methods that you've found "cheap and childproof"?

Comments (17)

  • gloriamr

    Karen...I used cinder blocks...I sealed them with Kilz and painted them the color of my house. I use the small holes for annuals and herbs.
    here's a picture

  • jardinerafloridana

    Very nice gloriamr!

  • karen_florida

    Thank you for the cinder block idea, Gloria - yours are so nice! I might do that if I can find a good enough deal on the block somewhere. The price for any kind of construction materials seems to have gone through the roof lately!

  • msmarion

    For veggies and herbs is Square foot garden in raised 4x4 pt wood boxes. It seems to work just fine for me. My maters have always been planted in five gal pails. This fall I'm planning on using the posthole method (for a lesson use the Search @ the top of the page...just put in posthole method).
    Good luck

  • goldenpond

    We use the composite decking.This is the blueberry garden I just planted.{{gwi:901627}}

  • naplesgardener

    I didn't use any construction materials for the outside of my raised beds--just put wet newspaper down on top of the grass then put bagged dirt in mounds on top and planted, then put mulch around the plants in the bed.
    I've done 50' of beds this way. The last one I put in (6'x3') took about 1 hour of time and all the plants are thriving.
    Just make sure you have enough depth of soil in the bed, mine are prob. 8-10" deep in the center and less of course on the edges.
    You can use a foot-power edger to edge all around for a neater look.
    For childproofing you could put posts on 4 sides and wrap with netting or screening as tall as the child you're "proofing".

  • an_ill-mannered_ache

    i recommend HIGHLY the dry-land mulch technique, right on your existing crappy soil, with newspapers to kill the existing weeds (as naplesgardener suggests). i've used it since about november and it's been highly successful... and it couldn't be cheape: i've used all pilfered yard waste...

    this is about half of what i picked today... (you can't see all the peppers in the bottom there, but there were 2 gallons of peppers)

    Here is a link that might be useful: some info on dry-land mulch technique

  • yukichan

    I'm also considering cinder-block beds, but I'm concerned about hurricanes. Does the bed need to be braced and/or cemented together to keep it all from blowing away? What do you all do with raised beds when a hurricane warning comes through?

  • goldenpond

    If the storm is strong enough to blow your cinder blocks your raised bed should will be the least of your worries.I saw cemented block walls scattered in Andrew.

  • lakeron

    Would earth boxes, the homemade kind, be a option?

  • new2gardenfl

    Karen, I made a raised bed out of cinder blocks that I got free off freecycle.org

  • maureen155

    I also used cinder blocks. My veggie garden is about 12'x20' - surrounded by cinder blocks. Instead of planting the holes (which looks really nice), I put 4" thick blocks on top of the cinder blocks and lined up potted plants on top of those. It was a bit of a trick to line the blocks up well enough to make an actual rectangle out of them (sounds easy, but I guess I'm challenged in that area) and to get them level, but it came out ok.

    Most of the cinder blocks I used were free for the taking discarded blocks from home construction sites around here. I didn't paint mine.


  • gloriamr

    Maureen...I like that idea, just not sure what the 4" blocks are that you put on top of the holes. We have another one we're readying for September planting and it is BIG! Didn't want to fill up the holes..was thinking of placing window boxes across.

  • maureen155

    The 4" blocks are just like cinder blocks, only solid and half as high. They sell them at HD. They're right next to the cinder blocks in the store I go to.


  • gloriamr

    thanks Maureen, I'll look for them at the depot!

  • floridajane

    Our raised beds are just cedar boxes with no bottom, just lots of newspaper and bags of good topsoil and compost. If you're looking for easy maintenance, I can't recommend a drip system enough. It just takes putting pieces together and threading through the boxes-- you can even drill holes in the sides and thread that way. The result is priceless: veggies stay happy and you don't even have to remember to run out and water them!


  • karen_florida

    Thanks you guys! Lots of great ideas there! Now I just have to match up my head full of good ideas with a little cooler weather and a little spare cash! Thanks again, all!

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