A Simple Project That Will Improve Your Vegetable Garden
Using raised planters for growing vegetables and herbs makes gardening tasks easier and more pleasant. Less bending over, better control over soil quality and weeds that easier to remove are a few of the many advantages. Building the planters is an easy project. It is also a good one to do with children.
Tools and Supplies You Will Need
- Drill with Screw Head Bit
- Extension Cord
- Measuring Tape
- Safety Glasses
- Filter Fabric
- Soil Mix
A Word About Lumber
If you are using wood, cedar lumber is the way to go because It resists rot really well. Composite lumber is also a very good choice. Do not use pressure treated lumber. Although it will not rot, the chemicals it has been treated with have been proven harmful.
Measure out and cut the lumber (remember to wear safety glasses) to the desired dimensions. In our example, the raised planter is going to be 4’ wide by 8’ long by 6” high.
You may want to build yours to be 12” high. The lumber pieces need for our example are:
Cut four pieces of scrap lumber (2”x4”pieces are easy to work with) to act as corner braces. These should be slightly shorter than the height of the planter.
Secure these corner braces to each end of the planter’s side pieces using two screws in each.
Attach the planter’s end pieces to the corner braces at a 90 degree angle to the side pieces using two screws in each. This is where an extra set of hands comes in handy.
With all four pieces attached to each other, lay the planter down with the bottom of it facing up. Attach a piece of scrap wood to the bottom of the planter extending from side to side. This will act as a cross brace and will keep the planter from bowing out from the weight of the soil. In our example we used a 2”x4” piece of scrap lumber.
Preparing The Site
Clean the garden area where the raised planter is going to be located of all weeds and debris and get it as level as possible.
Dig a small channel for the cross brace to fit in as it is set below the bottom of the planter.
Set the planter in place. Level as necessary.
It is a good idea to install filter fabric on the ground inside the planter to further help prevent weeds from growing up from below.
Add a soil mix that is approximately 40% screened topsoil, 40% composted organic matter and 10% clean manure.
To calculate how much soil mix is required, multiply (in feet) the length x the width x the height and then divide this number by 27 to find out how many cubic yards of soil mix needed.
In our example; 4’ x 8’ x .5’ = 16 cubic feet/27 = .59 cubic yards of soil mix is required.
To take the calculations further:
Screened Topsoil: .23 cubic yards required
Composted Organic Matter: .23 cubic yards required
Manure: .06 cubic yards required (about (1) 2 cubic foot bag)
Get a little extra soil to account for settling that will take place.
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