One of the things I’ve been most excited about since our big move to New Hampshire is having space to build BIG garden beds. Last year’s garden in Newport was a success but it was small, only 8ft by 5ft for 40 square feet of growing space total. Now, that may seem like a lot if you’ve never grown vegetables before. However, if you’re an avid gardener then you know, plants always need more space than you think.
Once Ryan and I decided that we wanted raised beds, we needed to figure out where to put them and how to construct them. Originally, I had read that pressure treated wood was best for making your garden beds last. However, after getting many second opinions, I decided to go with simple pine boards. This way, I don’t have to worry about any chemicals leaching into the soil and, in turn, into my vegetables. While cedar boards probably would have been the better choice of wood, I don’t quite have the funds yet to make that happen. In the end, I bought 2 in. x 10 in. x 12 ft. boards from Home Depot at $20 apiece. I bought six boards total, with a plan to make two beds, each 12 ft. by 6 ft.
To construct my raised beds, I used 2 in. x 8 in. L-Angle Simpson’s Strong Ties at all the corners (four ties for each bed at $2 apiece) and GRX screws to hold everything together. Then, all it took was a drill and some elbow grease. The process of constructing the beds was surprisingly simple! I found it easiest to first, cut all your wood boards to size. Then, attach the ties to each side of the long planks. Once you’ve put your wood in place and attach the remaining short sides, your structure is complete. Easy peasy! I think the process took me an hour in total.
If you stick to a “it doesn’t have to be perfect” mentality then you are going to be very satisfied with these garden beds. For a first construction attempt, I was pretty darn proud of myself, and in the end, the plants in the garden bed are what matter most. Ryan mentioned that we could have pulled the diagonals and make the beds more even, but I personally don’t mind that they’re a little imperfect. Honestly, I didn’t even dig to level the beds in the ground. They are good enough for me as they are.
Once the beds were constructed, I used a mulch/soil/compost mixture we were lucky enough to find piled in the corner of the yard to cover the very bottom of the beds. Each bed will need about 2.5 cubic yards of screened loam to fill them, which we will get delivered from a local place that sells bulk landscaping materials. Then it will be lots of wheelbarrow loads to fill the beds and finally I’ll get to planting! More to come on what I’m planting this year in a later post.
Originally, I was toying with the idea of buying garden beds. However, for the money spent and the space we now have to plant, I believe constructing the beds ourselves was well worth it. I can’t wait to get the soil in and start utilizing this beautiful weather to grow some crops. Until then…