The Raised Vegetable Garden Project
For a while now I’ve been listening to my cooking pod casts and reading articles about the following topics:
- With a 4 foot by 8 foot piece of dirt one can grow enough food for a family of four for at least 9 months out of the year.
- The quality of the vegetables we purchase at our local markets are grown on lands that are engineered to yield the most quantity and not quality.
- The vegetables we purchase are lacking of flavor and valuable vitamins. One can grow better quality vegetables at home.
- Chefs are starting to grow their own vegetables to get the best quality into their dishes.
- And the here’s the real kicker the first lady of the United States Michelle Obama broke ground for a White House vegetable garden.
I found all of this to be true and became inspired. I have a space in my backyard and I live in Southern California, which is perfect for growing vegetables throughout most of the year.
So the following are the steps and instructions on how to build your little space of vegetable heaven.
Give yourself some time to get all the items on the list. Don’t expect to get this all done in one day. Call around first so you don’t waste time traveling around to store that may not have the items needed.
Find a place on your property to place the garden. You want an area that will get the maximum amount of sunlight throughout the day. No shady or partially shaded areas. The area should be away from any structure on your property. Think about the possibility of it raining and water from the roof from a structure pouring into your vegetable garden.
The standard area needed is about 5 feet by 10 feet to build a box that is 4 feet by 8 feet. Why this size you may ask? Well when you buy the wood it usually comes in lengths of 8 feet, which makes it cost effective and limits the time needed to cut the wood.
Find and contact a local lumberyard that carries redwood. Why redwood? Well it’s in my opinion the best outdoor wood to use that will not rot as fast as other woods. DO NOT buy any pressure treated wood. You can smell the chemicals used in the pressure treatment a mile away and it should not be used with anything that will be grown and end up on your plate.
1. Call the lumberyard and ask if they carry the following sizes of redwood.
- 2 inches by 8 inches by 8 feet or 2” x 8” x 8’.
- 2 inches by 6 inches by 8 feet or 2” x 6” x 8’.
- 4 inches by 4 inches by 8 feet or 4” x 4” x 8’. These are posts.
Also ask if they will cut the wood for you. Not all of us have saws or electric saws at home so this cuts down on your labor.
2. Go to the lumberyard and buy the following amounts.
- 6 2” x ”8 x 8’
- 2 2” x 6” x 8’
- 2 4” x 4” x 8’
3. While you are there ask them to do the following:
- Cut 2 of the 2” x 2” x 8’ planks in half. So you’ll have four 4-foot planks.
- Cut the 4” x 4” x 8’ into 4 equal pieces so that they are each 2 feet long. So you’ll now have eight 2-foot posts.
4. Go to the Hardware Store/Garden Center and buy the following:
- 52 3-inch Wood screws.
- 16 2-inch wood screws.
- 16 3-inch Corner Braces.
- Weed block. This is black fabric that you will lay at the bottom of the box to prevent any unwanted weeds growing up from the earth below.
- 2 yards of good organic soil. Ask for a little help with this one. Tell them what you are trying to accomplish and ask them for a recommendation.
- Soaker Hose. This will be used to spread across the top of the bed to efficiently keep the soil moist.
Ok now that you have all the needed materials you can now start building your box.
- Take 2 of the 4” x 4” x 2’ posts and spread them apart by 8 feet.
- Place 2 of the 2” x 8” x 8’ planks on top. Make sure all the edges line up as in the picture.
- Screw in 2 of the 3-inch wood screws into each side of the planks so that it firmly attaches to the post. Ok now repeat with the remaining wood for the other 8-foot side.
- Take 2 of the 4”x 4” x 2’ posts and spread them apart by 4 feet.
- Place 2 of the 2”x8”x 4’ planks on top. Make sure all the edges line up as in the picture.
- Screw in 2 of the 3-inch wood screws into each side of the planks so that it firmly attaches to the post. Ok now repeat the remaining wood for the other 4-foot side.
- Now it is time to screw in the braces. Get one of the four-foot pieces. Space out two of the corner braces evenly on each side of the piece. Make sure they are up to the edge of the piece. Use a 3-inch wood screw for the interior screw hole, as it will go through the 2-inch plank and into the post. Use a 2-inch wood screw for the outside hole, as it will only go into the 2-inch plank. Repeat with the remaining braces and with the other 4-foot piece.
- Now it is time to put all the pieces together to make the box. Attach the 4 foot pieces to the 8 foot pieces. Use 3-inch wood screws for the interior screw hole and 2 inch wood screws for the outside screw hole.
- Take a 2” x 6” x 8’ plank and lay on top of the 8 foot side. Make sure all the edges line up like the picture below. Take 2 of the 3-inch wood screws and attach the top plank to the post and plank below. Repeat on the other side. Repeat with the other 8-foot side and with the remaining 4 foot pieces. Take some additional wood screws and secure the middle sections.
- Now that your box is built move it over to its location. Mark the areas you will need to dig for the posts of the box.
- Remove the box and start digging the holes. This will be take some time because each hole will have a different depth as you will want the box to be level on each side.
- Place the posts into the dug holes and place a level on each side of the box. If the box is not level add or remove dirt from the holes until it is level.
- Once it is level step far away from the box and get down on one knee to view the box. You want the box to look visibly pleasing.
- Once this is accomplished fill in the holes with dirt.
- Place the weed block at the bottom of the box and fill with the organic soil.