Garden Project - Raised Veggie Bed
MATERIALS: 15 3x4 8' long ACQ treated landscaping timbers (they have the corners rounded; use 3x6 if you want a larger seating area - do not ever use railroad ties for edible gardens!) and 20+ 2' long rebar rods (these are hard to find - you could use 3' or 4' or get longer pieces and cut them down - a pain in the patootie). Total cost: just under $84.
TOOLS: Tape measure, chop/miter saw, long level, wood boring bit a little smaller in diameter than the rebar, hammer drill, sledge hammer, flat shovel.
Here is the bed I started two years ago. See my awesome patch of garlic? The rest is pretty much weeds except for some volunteer leeks from last year's leeks. I had laid down treated boards (leveled, of course) then stacked bricks on top. It worked pretty well, but I wanted something more stable and permanent.
My son and I tore down the old and replaced with the new as we worked our way around the bed. I was moving this bed a little on the garlic end to make it parallel to the raised bed next to it (my bad from two years ago when I laid the second bed cockeyed in haste to plant ;)
Make sure that you carefully level the first layer as the whole bed is dependent on this layer. I leveled it all the way around as well as leveling it to the other bed.
I made 4' x 16' beds since the lumber is 8' long and you shouldn't have beds more than 4' wide to be able to reach all parts of it from the edges. For the ends, I just chopped 3 pieces of the lumber in half. For the sides, I wanted to alternate for strength, so I start with 2 full pieces end to end, cut a piece of lumber for the next layer so that I have one full piece in the middle and two half pieces on each end of it, then the last layer is back to two full pieces.
Now here's where the 20+ on the rebar comes in. There are two ways to tackle the attachment - you can either drive in rebar after the second layer and then again for the top layer or wait until the top layer to do it all in one. I did rebar as I went along, but in hindsight, I would get all the lumber laid out and do it all in one to save the hassle and money on rebar.
Where ever there is a joint, drill a hole to either side of the joint and drive a rebar through. Our drill bit was only long enough to go through two boards, so on the top layer, I drilled through the top and middle layer, pulled the top board off and finished drilling the hole all the way through the middle and bottom. Do not attach any rebar until you have all the holes for one piece of lumber all the way drilled through all three pieces!
Here is my helper with the finished product. As you can see, we alternated all the lumber, even the corners. This adds strength and stability. These corners will not pull apart. That bed next to it is over 8 years old; all the lumber is still where I originally put it.
Now it is just a matter of finishing off the bed with some compost and we are ready to plant!
I actually have already finished that part too. I have even gotten both of these beds fully planted: 14 tomato plants, 8 Packman broccoli, 12 pepper plants (orange sweet, red sweet, yellow sweet, jalepeno), 3 Fordhook straight neck summer squash, 2 Black Beauty zucchini, 1 spaghetti squash, all that garlic, an equal size block of American Flag leeks, two 8' rows of mixed lettuce, a 2' row of more garlic, a 4' square of Maxibel green beans, a 2' row of Vates kale, eight 4' rows of various peas, and Bloomsdale spinach and Mammoth basil everywhere!! Yay for me!