1 House 100 Years

Preparing For The Centennial Of A Place That Matters

Category: Vegetable Garden

Cedar Raised Bed Garden “How-To”

IMG_6840

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.

IMG_6802

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.

IMG_6803

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.

IMG_6804

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.

IMG_6805

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.

IMG_6806

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.

New Design For Raised Garden Beds

IMG_6801

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.

Winter Survivors

20140318-070854.jpg

Some nice warm temperatures on Saturday gave me an opportunity to prepare a bed for some red potatoes. While outside I also surveyed for winter survivors. I was pleased to see that the Greek oregano that I had started from seed last year had survived the winter months quite nicely.

At first I was unsure if these were oregano plants. While raking aside leaves with my fingers, just a slight brushing gave that intense herby aroma that I enjoy. It is amazing that such a small amount of leaves could pack such a powerful fragrance so early in the season.

Every spring the crocuses amaze me. Their leaves are so inconspicuous because they look like blades of grass, and then one day I will notice a bold patch of color that seems to have appeared out of nowhere. Some of these have been here and quietly multiplying for seven years.

Quick gardening tip: Smaller potatoes can just be planted whole. For these larger sized potatoes, it’s probably best to cut in half and then, with the cut side facing up, give them time to dry out overnight. This gives them protection against micro organisms and diseases in the garden soil.

20140318-065358.jpg

20140318-070807.jpg

20140318-070929.jpg

These photographs were taken March 2014. The grouping of purple crocuses were planted in the fall of 2007. There were just maybe six little bulbs from this “special offer” from a non-profit group.