Thursday, June 18, 2009

Planning the Raised Bed Garden

A couple of years ago it became clear to me that there had to be a raised bed garden in my future. For one thing, I hate weeding between the rows. Secondly, I have been using the intensive planting/square foot method anyway. It really doesn't make much sense to spend all the time to rototill a huge area (have to take the fence down to do this because we use the tractor), then locate the planting squares in the middle of the wide open area, put the fence back, then spend the entire summer weeding wide open walkways. Weeding around the plants takes very little time at all.

And the final compelling argument is that it will be so much easier to warm and prepare the soil early in the spring. I will no longer have to wait for the garden to dry out. The raised beds will drain so much quicker.

So, I have casually mentioned all these reasons to my husband over the past couple of years. The other day, he asked what I planned to do with huge pile of composted horse manure he has been mowing around. He decided it is done cooking, and ought to be spread. Of course, this year the big garden has gone back to lawn. So, I told him I was saving it for my raised beds. With an exasperated sigh he told me to count how many Rail Road ties and 4x4s I would need to edge and fence the permanent garden and promised to work it into our summer plans. Jackpot!

So, the plan is to edge a 24x32 area with RR ties, permanently fence it with the woven "no climb" fence, build a decent gate and install raised beds with gravel or cedar mulch walkways. With good stabalization mat under that, there will be very very little path weeding. Hooray! Mission accomplished.

So, on this cool rainy day, I have been paging through scads of internet pictures. This is my model garden.

I really plan on a very basic layout with just 6 4x12 beds. But, I can't help checking out some of the fancier options I've seen. I think the idea of a rim you can sit on is brilliant, but these finials are pretty facy.

The ever popular pergola

Of course, I have every intention of incorporating the area immediately outside the fence in my purposes. The chicken coop will be nearby, as well as my garden shed. It will be a great location for a compost bin so I can throw trimmings right over the fence. I've never seen one with a lid...

Leah has built a stylish litle raised bed garden...

Here are a couple of other neat sites I found in my wanderings...

And Mom (I know you're reading this) check out this guy.... That's our idea!!! Great example to follow.


  1. love it- yes you are being converted. I can see that looking absolutely beautiful in your space! there are a lot of great options. Our boards that we used were 2xsomethings, and I sit on that 2" all the time when planting.

  2. What a great article! I touched on raised bed gardens in my blog post this morning and your article is the perfect rationale I want to explain. I'm reposting your article in my blog and from my FaceBook. Thanks so much for this!

  3. Hi, where did you get your compost bins?

  4. That photo was taken from a book. But I think it's the best design I've seem