Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Building New Raised Beds

I've been planning to put in some raised beds for flowers and vegetables since we moved in last month. I have to admit, I've been procrastinating, but finally, they are in and ready for planting!

There are a couple things that make putting in raised beds in this yard a little more complicated than at the old place. We discovered the soil in our yard is extremely rocky and hard to dig (we discovered this when we went to plant the hydrangea and had to invest in a pickaxe), plus our yard is sloped, so I either have to dig out a level spot (lots of work!), or build the bed in such a way as to accommodate the slope (which seems like it could get complicated).

After much deliberation, I decided that digging would be the way to go. I figured that I'd have to dig out the ground under the beds a little bit anyway, so I might as well create a level spot while I'm at it. Plus, after redoing our fire pit, I was pretty confident that I could do the whole leveling thing.

All the same, I wanted as level a spot as possible to begin with. Here's the spot I chose (before I started digging).

I decided to start with two 4'x4' boxes. I figure I can always add more later if I need the extra space. After conferring with the very helpful guy at Home Depot, I also decided to use pressure treated pine for the construction. I considered cedar boards, since they are rot resistant without all the chemicals of pressure treated wood, but they are significantly more expensive. Plus, I would have needed to stain/seal them, which puts back all the chemicals I was thinking to avoid by using cedar.

Four 2x10x8's (each cut in half to make 4' sections), a couple of galvanized corner brackets, and some decking screws later, I was home with my materials...which sat there for the better part of a week while I hemmed and hawed about all the digging I was going to have to do.

Saturday came, and I got up the nerve to start digging after I mowed the lawn (I was already sweaty and gross, might as well keep going, right?).

I got the first bed dug and quasi-level before realizing it was really going to take an extra set of hands to get the boxes built.

So I called in reinforcements (thanks Pat!) and Sunday morning, the boxes were built and put in the ground in no time! Here's the end result...

As you can probably see, I still need to add a little dirt to the one on the left. Here's a close up on that one...

You can see where I put the little bit of mushroom compost I had leftover from planting peppers in the retaining wall bed when I ran out of garden soil. I mixed the topsoil I had dug out with garden soil, but underestimated how much garden soil I was going to need. Oh well....good thing Home Depot is close by!

So what do you think? Just in time for some fall planting, right? Speaking of which, I picked up a few seeds that I'll be planting this week!

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