1 House 100 Years

Preparing For The Centennial Of A Place That Matters

Category: Herb Garden

Cedar Raised Bed Garden “How-To”

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This raised bed design was my spring gardening project. I selected cedar rather than pine or pressure treated lumber for appearance and chemical-free characteristics. These cedar boards came with a rough side and a smooth side, and so all pieces are constructed with my preferred rough side facing outward.

White picket and wire fencing sections cut from a large roll fill the spaces between the upright posts to keep feral cats and other wildlife out of my planted beds, but these may not be necessary for you. These can be remove to tend and harvest herbs and vegetables.

The posts are considerably taller than the white picket fencing. Birds enjoy these higher observation perches. They also make great places for bird feeders or houses when I want birds to visit or support for netting when I don’t (such as when I have strawberries planted or freshly sprouting seedlings).

You can use shorter posts or even cut them so that they are no higher than the side boards. You can omit the white picket fence sections. You can also adjust the side dimensions. The plan is flexible and may just be a starting point for your own special design.

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If you want to make similar garden beds, for each you will need three 1″ x 8″ cedar boards that are 8′ long. One of these should be cut into two 3′ long pieces. (You will have a 2′ long leftover section that can be used for other outdoor projects.)

You will also need six 1″ x 2″ cedar boards that are 8′ long. These should be cut into twelve 4′ long pieces. One end of each of these should be trimmed at a 45° angle to form a pointed spike-like end to better go into the garden soil.

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Use a combination square set to the thickness of one of the twelve upright posts to mark a line at each end of the two 8′ long and the two 3′ long boards. These will guide your placement of the upright posts.

Use a tape measure to mark 3′ from the top (flat end) of each of the twelve posts. Use the combination square to extend this around three sides of each post. This marks the position of the bottom edge for each side. With a 1/8″ drill bit, make pilot holes at 2″ and 5″ above each mark.

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Now you are ready to glue and screw the posts to each main boards. I used water resistant wood glue and 1 and 1/4″ outdoor wood screws. Although the glue is not necessary for the long term, it is helpful for the short term by providing a stable bond while positioning each section and particularly if it’s necessary to pound in the posts.

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Both end board get two posts each. The longer side boards get four posts each. For even spacing, I measured 29 and 1/2″ from each end post to mark where the additional posts should be positioned. Your measurements may vary somewhat, so you may want to calculate for yourself.

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You can then lay out each of your four garden bed sides to determine best placement and to then dig out our bed with eight holes about 12″ deep for each of the posts. These are positioned together as shown and fastened together with more outdoor wood screws. Bricks or other edging make a nice “frame” for the raised beds and also help to keep grass trimming to a minimum.

These photographs were taken May 2015.

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New Design For Raised Garden Beds

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My main project this spring has been designing and building raised garden beds. Over the years I’ve tried several different materials and designs to provide productive and protected beds. None have quite met my needs as far as providing access for me but not for feral cats and other wildlife.

This design uses cedar boards which should last longer than pine and be safer for the soil than pressure treated lumber. The white picket and wire fencing sections are from a purchased roll and can be removed when I need to tend to my plants and can then be replaced.

So far, this design has been successful in keeping out unwanted four-legged garden visitors, and the birds enjoy the high posts for scouting out a six-legged breakfast! I will post step-by-step photos and directions soon if you would like to try this for your own garden.

These photographs were taken May 2015 about two weeks after the tomatoes seedlings had gotten settled in to their summer home.

Shiso…A Taste Of Japan In My Backyard

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While piddling around in the yard yesterday, I removed some weeds in a neglected section of my garden that had surrounded a “volunteer,” some Japanese shiso. It reminded me of a good friend who is flying to Japan today to study architecture there for part of the month.

This was about thirty feet from where I had first planted shiso last year, and so I am unsure how these three seeds made it there and then successfully germinated. The distance across my yard for such tiny seeds seems as far as from Tidewater Virginia to Japan…at least to me.

This photograph was taken July 2013. This is a post about the shiso that I planted last year when it was beginning to bloom.