Building our Raised Bed Containers for Our Garden

Posted by the Mom (aka Kelly Biedny)

So, you’ve probably heard us talking about our new house we just moved into–you might even be sick of hearing about it–but because of this new house we get to have gardens. And if you follow us at all, you are probably aware of the fact that we are super excited about our gardens this year, too. Today, we’re sharing the very beginnings of our new veggie gardens, oh yeah!

I, the mom, originally wanted three, 8′ x 4′ raised-bed containers. But, after further evaluation, and realization that I always think I can do more than I actually can, cut back to just two 8′ x 4′ raised-bed containers.  Of course, being the DIYer that I am, we built them ourselves.  They are not perfect, but they will work wonderfully for our gardens.  Soph and I built these ourselves cuz Alex was out of town, relaxing with one of his friends at a lake cabin.  No worries, girl power rules and we created two awesome raised-bed garden containers in between the thunder storms that passed through last weekend.

Here are the details on how and what Sophia and I did to whip up our fancy gardens.

What we used:
– 12, 8 ft 2″ x 6″ green treated boards (I debated on this one, between cedar and green treat, but after research, I decided green treat and the cost savings were acceptable)
-2, 8 ft, 2″ x 2″ green treated boards
-1 pk 2 3/4″ construction screws – These were too, long for us, so if you make these, use 2 1/2″ screws.

Tools you’ll need:
A saw of some sort, we used a circular saw, but any sort would work.
A measuring tape
A pencil
A carpenter’s square
A screw gun

Steps we took:

1. Measure –
The first step is to measure your boards for cutting.  You have to measure your 2″ x 6″‘s to cut them in half. But here’s the thing…8 ft. boards are more thank 8 ft long. This means that if you are very particular, you’ll want to cut your boards to exactly 8′, and then then four of them in half to exactly 4′ lengths.  We weren’t that picky, but from our pics, you’ll see the results.  Our containers will still work, there are just a few gaps. You’ll have to decide on the level of precision you are trying to attain.

You’ll want to measure 4 of your boards into 4′ lengths and to mark 4′ from the end and then 4′ from the mark. If you’re just going to cut the boards in half, no matter what their lengths, measure the full length of the board and then measure half that length and mark. Then ,take your carpenter’s square and draw a straight line with a pencil, using your 4′ (0r half-way) marks as the guide.

You’ll also want to measure your 2′ x 2′ board into 11″ lengths, you’ll need 12 lengths total.  you will measure the lengths the same way as the 4’ boards.

Measuring is a great exercise for the kids to help with because measuring is math–math in action.  Measuring is essential in this project and gives real life application to all that math homework, especially fractions!

2. Cut –
Once all the measuring has been completed and checked (measure twice, cut once!); it’s time to cut.  Like I said, we used a circular saw, but a hand saw or table saw, or any really saw, would do. Make sure to use all your safety gear before cutting.  Cut the 4, 2″ X 6″ boards and the 2, 2″ x 2″ boards into measured lengths.

This is a job for adults or experienced older kids.  If Alex had been home during our construction, I would have let him cut the boards. He’s 14 and has used power tools and saws before with his Dad and Grandma (under supervision, of course).

3. Attach End Supports on Bottom Boards –
The next step is to attach two of the 2″ x 2″‘s to one of the 2″ x6″ boards.  Line up the 2″ x 2″ boards to the edge and bottom of the 4″ x 6″.  Screw it in at the bottom center of the 2″ x 2″ at the center top of where the 2″ x 2″ and 2″ x 6″ meet.   Line one 2″ x 2″ up on both ends of the boards.  Kids love helping with this part. Using the power screw driver is fun.  Younger kids probably will have to just do some of the screw driving, but Sophia, age 10, did most of it on one of the boxes.

4. Attach the Long Bottom Boards to the End –
Take the long 2″ x 6″ boards and place it perpendicular to the short 2″ x 6″ to form a corner.  Line the edges up so the outside corners of the two 2″ x 6″ boards meet with the 2″ x 2″ board in the inside corner.  Screw the long board into the 2″ x 2″ board with 2 screws.  You can screw it into the end of the short board, too, if you want.  But you will need additional screws, and honestly, it’s strong enough without it. Line up one, long 2″ x 6″ on each side of the short 2″ x 6″.

5. Repeat on the other End –
Once you got the boards on one end of your rectangular garden complete, do the other side the same way.

6. Attach the Second Row of Boards –
At this point, you should have a rectangular box, 6″ high with 2″ x 2″ boards sticking up at each corner.  So, now we’re gonna attach the second row of boards to those 2″ x 2″‘s. You can start with the short or long boards, just set one on top of the bottom, and screw it in like you did the first one.  NOTE: if you did not precisely measure 8′ and 4’ length’s, you might have some gaps or hangover of boards at this point…we did. But, everything still came together and will hold soil, which is what matters.

7. Attach 2″ x 2″ Supports on Long Boards –
You’re almost done, just the supports for the long sides left! Again, you could measure precisely to the middle of each side and attach your support there, or you could just eye-ball it.  We eye-balled it 😀  Just screw the supports into the top and lower boards to provide extra stability on that edge.  We used up to 4 screws, but just two would work. If you boards are straighter, 2 will work fine, warped boards are better with 4 screws.

And that is it!  Now just fill it up and plant…we’re gonna line the bottom of ours with newspaper and then fill them with soil, manure and compost mixture.  We’ll share those details soon.   Now, if you’re not up to all this building, lots of places have raised bed kits you can buy, they cost a lot more, but everything is pre-measured and cut and ready to assemble.  One of favorite places to peruse gardening tools and ‘stuff’ is Gardener’s Supply Company–we bought the drip system kit will be using for watering from there.

Have you built anything for your garden? We’d love to hear about it!

 

Happy Family Gardening Everyone!

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2 Comments For This Post

  1. Dan Says:

    Using the green treated or pressure treated wood is hazardous I feel. Won’t the chemicals added to the wood eventually leach into the soil and be absorbed by the plantings????

  2. the Mom (aka Kelly Biedny) Says:

    Dan,

    Before we built the beds, I did a bunch of research on that very question. Based on what I learned, I determined that modern, pressure treated wood would be fine.

    I don’t have a concise synopsis of my own, but I like the information HomeGardenJoy.com shared:

    http://homegardenjoy.com/site/2014/03/can-you-use-pressure-treated-wood-in-a-vegetable-garden.html

    Ultimately each gardener has to make the choice that is best for their family…Thanks for the question!

    Kelly

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