Happy Healthy Homestead

Building Raised Beds

When it comes to gardening there are so many different ways to go about it. You can plant directly in the ground, in pots, and my favorite way which is raised beds. Raised beds makes it easier to keep critters out, easier for you to work in, easier to control the soil / fertilizer combo and they are beautiful.

Since we live in the Santa Cruz mountains and close to the ocean, wood rots easily. For us, it was important to go with Cedar or Redwood. Yes, it is much cheaper to go with treated lumber, but to me – its not worth the risk. It defeats the whole purpose of growing organic food in my backyard if it’s not actually going to be organic because of all the chemicals seeping into the soil each time you water or each time it rains.

Just pay the extra bucks and go with un-treated wood! It will rot faster than treated, but that is why you can get cedar or redwood which will last much longer than pine. If you are on a budget, then I suggest a cement block bed over a treated lumber bed any day.

Details for our Raised Beds:

  • We decided to go with redwood since we are able to source it easily where we live and it will last the longest.
  • Four beds are 8’x4′. Two beds are 6’x4′. They are all about 2 1/2′ tall each. We purchased six 8′ boards for each bed.
  • My husband built in two 2×4 center braces so that over time the soil won’t start to bend/bow the boards outward.
  • He put 4×4 posts for each corner and then to attach the middle 2×4 brace.
  • We also attached hardware cloth to fully cover the bottom of each bed, which helps prevent gophers and voles from coming up and destroying your garden. Believe me it’s worth the extra cost!
  • We leveled our garden area first. Then my husband set up his saw and work area in the garden so he could build them in place.
  • We left one end of the bed open to fill it up with soil and then put the last end boards up.
  • My husband filled out the beds in the back with soil first, then he built the beds in front, and at last filled those front beds with soil.
  • Another thing to think through is how you will get the soil to your property. We had ours delivered. See my post about ‘what kind of soil to use in your raised beds’.

What kind of raised beds have worked for you on your property?