Building a raised garden. Q&A

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by ussoldierforhire, Apr 5, 2009.

  1. ussoldierforhire

    ussoldierforhire LawnSite Member
    Messages: 155

    Ok, I'm just a home owner. I'm building the wife a raised garden since we have horrible georgia clay. I am making a 16' x 6' rectangular garden out of landscaping timbers. I have purchased top soil, peat moss, and manure compost to put in there. I am going to seal the wood in hopes of keeping the termites from eating it.

    Should I screw the posts together or drill holes and bolt them together?

    What should I do to prevent the rain from washing out the soil from under the wood?
  2. The Elements Group

    The Elements Group LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 308

    attach a permeable layer to the bottom , use timber nails galvanized good luck
  3. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    If your gaps between the timbers are pretty big, then you might want to use landscape fabric to cover the inside of the timbers down to the existing soil to create a barrier to hold the soil in.

    Large nails will work just fine for connecting it together. Raised beds are great, but eventually the timbers will deteriorate over 10 to fifteen years regardless of protecting it. Too many environmental factors that you can't take into consideration, including constant wet soil.

    If you want to in the end, go buy some re-bar from a local home store and drill holes big enough through the entire stack of timber and use a sledge hammer to run them through into the ground. A paddle bit with a bit extension works good.

    I hope that made sense.
  4. ussoldierforhire

    ussoldierforhire LawnSite Member
    Messages: 155

    thanks guys
  5. bigslick7878

    bigslick7878 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 809

    I second the re-bar idea for the first row,you can get 2 foot pieces at Home Depot pretty cheap.
  6. BostonBull

    BostonBull LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 520

    If youre looking for the end all be all last a lifetime garden build it out of stones. Line it with a permeable fabric of some kind to prevent erosion, etc.

    Good luck and post some pics!
  7. Ruben Rocha

    Ruben Rocha LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 577

    You know you could use some of the hybrid lumber we have today. Such as trex. It is basicly wood and plastic. And you don't have the issues of pressure treated wood leaching toxic chemicals into the garden.
    It is pricy but pretty much will never rot.
    But to answer your question Since we don't know the dimensions of the lumber you may need to install a vertical piece of the lumber in the corners and maybe midpoint of the long side and nail or screw to it so to prevent it from bowing or coming loose at the corners.
  8. ussoldierforhire

    ussoldierforhire LawnSite Member
    Messages: 155

    I thought about the fake wood but I want to see how it turns out. I'm not great at building things so this is sorta a test run. I think i will be using corner pieces and I will post pics as I build it.
  9. ussoldierforhire

    ussoldierforhire LawnSite Member
    Messages: 155

    Ok here are some BEFORE pictures. I am done collecting materials and will now begin the building process. The area is on a slight hill so I may need to dig some to set the bed.




  10. glfredrick

    glfredrick LawnSite Member
    Messages: 71

    Mi wife and I installed a number of raised beds for gardening when we still owned our home in central Wisconsin.

    We double dug the hole under the raised bed to a depth of 3 feet, then stacked it with all sorts of mulchy stuff, layered with dirt and composted manure. Longer roots, better plants!

    You could stick your arm in, up to the elbow, in any of our beds. The plants we grew were unbelievable. Tomatoes went over the top of a 6' cage, and we picked a bushel of tomatos per plant. Pole beans were planted on a piece of 8' expanded wire fence. They went over the top and back down the other side. Carrots were over a foot long. We had cucumbers growing up and out of the garden and into the trees.

    When pulling up plants in the fall to prepare beds for winter, the root systems would be amazing. The beans were close to 3 feet long. Same with tomatos. Other plants not so long, but very thriving.

    In one 4 x 10 bed, we grew enough vegatables to hold our family of 4 for a year. It was a lot of work to get the beds dug and installed, but SO worth it.

    We watered with natural rain water caught off the roof of a garden shed and stored in a plastic barrel. We hooked up a homeade plastic pipe watering device that we left in each bed. Used 1/2" pvc, capped one end, and t-d the other. Add a hose fitting and drill a bunch of holes down the length of the pipe. Turn on the water and do the whole bed at one time. We added fertilizer to the water from time to time to help out.

    Oh, and we also raised our own source of manure... Steers are SO easy to raise, and take very little room. In a 10' x 20' run with a little bit of shelter, you can manage to raise a couple of freezers full of prime beef in 12 months using the Tenderlean program.

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