Raised Garden Beds – How To Start Gardening With Raised Beds
Today we will see how to convert something that looks like this to this and if you follow the instructions correctly I’m sure you will be able to convert your lawn into a beautiful garden with raised beds.
So our first step is to carefully look at our area That we are going to be putting our raised beds on and then try to mark out the area to see where your beds are going to go. You can use any kind of marker to mark the area. Use some stakes or poles to get an idea of where the beds are going to go and once you do that you’ll have a fairly good idea of the spacing. The raised beds that we are going to use come in 4 feet increments So you could use a 4 feet x 4 feet or 4 feet by 8 feet and depending on the area that you have you can mark your spaces accordingly.
The raised beds that we are gonna use is from Greenes Fence. Its a company that makes easy to assemble raised beds and you can get kits in various sizes. The most common sizes are 4×4 and 4×8 So its 4 feet by 4 feet or 4 feet by 8 feet and the beds have a height of about 10. 5 inches So let’s look at our package It comes neatly packaged with all the parts that are needed to assemble the bed and there are many options available for raised beds. You can get very expensive raised beds and very cheap raised beds as well. But the kind of raised beds that I wanted was that it should be easy to assemble and it should be made of a material that resists moisture and other elements. The one that we have from Greenes Fence is made of Cedar And the assembly takes just minutes as you’ll soon find out.
So you can see all the parts that are laid out here. It also comes with some screws that you can use to fasten the top with the stakes and it comes with 12 side bars. It comes with posts that keep the beds together It also comes with some tops and the rest of the pieces that you see actually go on the side of the raised bed These are the sides of the raised bed. Each side of the raised bed will have 3 such pieces So let’s take some time to separate out these pieces into the 4 sides of the bed and now what you do is take the side post and then slide the sides of the bed inside the post. It slides in pretty easily. You might have to just hammer it a little bit with your hands and it goes right in. You basically do the same thing on all the four sides. So that’s how a finished raised bed looks like.
This is a 4 feet by 4 feet raised bed and its incredibly easy to assemble. It just takes a few minutes. Now there are some tops you can cover the raised bed sides with and its totally optional. And as you will see later, this is actually not needed because of other factors like staking or adding some supports to your raised beds. So you need to use the same techniques and assemble the other raised beds This time I took the help of my garden cart which I recently bought and this makes hauling the raised beds much much easier. Once you’ve planned and assembled your raised beds this is what it should look like. So on the far end I have a 4×4 raised bed, Two 4×4 raised beds next to each other and I planned it in such a way that whatever I plant here can grow on the trellis that you just saw. And these are two 4x4s but they are placed next to each other. And remember that these raised beds are expandable If you order another 4×4 kit you can just keep expanding and add 4 more feet.
There are some places which might need leveling. I might just throw in some dirt there and make sure its leveled. As you can see, the garden cart is easy to navigate within the raised bed and this is why I like a garden cart more than a wheelbarrow, because its narrow profile lets you navigate easily thru the raised beds. So for this step, we will need something called a hardware cloth. This is a 4 feet by 25 feet 19 gauge 1/2 inch hardware cloth. Make sure that you get something similar to these specifications Because there are a lot of options available You will also need aviation snips This will be used to cut thru the hardware cloth The reason we do this is so that digging creatures like rats or moles or voles don’t dig thru the ground and come and eat your vegetables. Now some of you might ask it is really necessary? Well I think that step doesn’t take a lot of time. Its fairly easy to do once you get the hang of it and once done, you’ll have the peace of mind that rats or voles won’t come and eat your vegetables. So yes, I think it is an important step and I think you should not skip it But if you are very confident that you’re not going to get any digging creatures you can skip it. But here’s the catch. You might not see any digging creatures right now but once you setup your raised beds and start growing some nice root vegetables It might attract a lot of rodents or pests that might just wreak havoc on your garden. So I would suggest take out some time, buy the hardware fabric and take your time and lay it down under your raised beds.
The rolls can be petty heavy so please handle them carefully. What I’ve done here is that I’ve tried to measure out one 4 feet area and once you get an approximate length you need to cut thru the entire column. To get one piece of the hardware cloth for your raised bed when you are working at the corners, you can just cut off a part of the corner so that the hardware cloth slides in easily.. I’ve noticed this speeds up a lot as far as the installation of the hardware cloth goes. So that’s my approximate measurements. I’m going to cut right here. What you basically do is take your snips and go right thru and cut the fence. It might be a little tedious and a little time consuming but take your time to cut thru the entire length and you should have a piece of the hardware cloth ready to go in.
Now to install the hardware cloth. Just push along the corners. It might try to spring back at you so just be careful of the sharp corners. If you want you can wear some heavy duty gloves and protective footwear I just walked on the hardware cloth after I installed it and I just found it a little easier to do it this way. If you find the corners are not working out well just cut off a little bit at the corners and that should let you slide in the hardware cloth very easily. Now remember its a steel cloth so its tough. But its tough because you don’t want the moles or voles to dig thru. So that’s how it looks like after you’ve installed it. Pretty much snug from all sides and you can have it pulled up a little bit from the sides just to give a little bit of extra protection. What you do is do the same thing on all your other raised beds and that should complete the step of installing the hardware cloth on your raised beds. So this completes the step of laying the hardware cloth for your raised beds and this should prevent a lot of critters from coming and getting your vegetables.
Now the next step involves adding some cardboard on top of the hardware cloth that you just installed. The purpose of using cardboard is to prevent any kind of grass or weeds growing from the surface of the soil on to your raised bed. You can use a double layered card board and that should provide good enough protection to smother out all the grass that’s below The idea is to block any light that comes on to the grass so it will automatically die and the cardboard itself becomes compost after some time. Usually takes about 2 or 3 months for the cardboard to turn into compost and once that’s done your plants on your raised bed can actually send out roots right thru the cardboard layer and into the ground below. Remember that the hardware cloth that we added has holes in it so the plants roots will be easily able to get thru to the ground below. So size the cardboard according to the length of your raised beds. You can even use the packaging that the raised beds came in. Just make sure you’re using enough to block out any light that’s available to the grass below and make sure it fits snug inside the raised bed. If you have different pieces of card board, you can just keep them together and I used some staples to keep these card board pieces together. You can either do that or layer it on top of each other And then when you add the dirt, just make sure they remain in place But yes, if you have a stapler, its just a lot easier to do it .
This is how it looks like without the cardboard. And this is with the cardboard. Make sure you cover all the sides of the raised bed with the cardboard and this is how it should look like when you have done it for all your raised beds This one needs to be completed. I got all the soil for my raised beds from Home Depot. A lot of potting mix luckily from Home Depot in my small car – the Nissan Versa, which I really like because this car can haul a lot of dirt This is about 12 bags of 3 cu feet of potting mix that I was able to haul in my Nissan Versa – Good job! And using a garden cart makes it easy to haul all that dirt from your cart to your raised beds After doing a lot of research what I concluded was that Instead of spending a lot of money on the enormous amount of soil that you need. This product from Kellogg called Raised Bed and Potting Mix Has high quality ingredients Is completely Organic and does a great job to form a mix for your raised beds. Some people recommend adding different substitutes like compost and Perlite, Vermiculite but what I found is this product can give you most of what you need, has high quality ingredients. You can save a lot of money by just buying these in bulk. If you try to order online, note that although you can order these online, you are going to pay a lot for shipping so its best to just check out your local garden store and see if they have a nice raised bed or potting mix. So this raised bed mix actually has a collection of very nice ingredients. As you can see on the label here Its got recycled forest product, coconut coir, perlite, chicken manure, feather meal, peat moss, kelp meal, worm castings, bat guano. All very high quality ingredients. That’s why I really like this mix. So all in all I really like this potting mix and it runs about 9 bucks a bag, a 3 cubic feet bag/ And after doing all the calculations I think this is the cheapest way to buy some high quality mix for the raised bed.
Once you have laid out the dirt, you just have to use a rake and make sure its evenly spread out. Now some of you might be thinking how much soil do I need for this 4×4 foot raised bed which is about 10. 5 inches high So I had to use 4 bags of this 3 cu feet of soil for one 4×4 raised bed which is 16 square feet. For a 16 sq feet raised bed you have to use 12 cu feet of soil I hope that calculation helps And what I also noticed is that as you water your raised bed, the level of the soil is going to keep going down So maybe after a year or so you might have to add some more compost or soil to your raised bed. I was rally impressed by the texture and quality of the soil That was there in this Kellogg Potting Mix or Raised Bed Mix After you’ve added the soil for the raised bed I like to use an All Purpose Organic Fertilizer This is a 4-4-4 organic fertilizer made from high quality ingredients – only organic materials Its called Jobes Organics All Purpose Fertilizer And organic fertilizers break down after some time So it takes a little bit of time and watering for it to start releasing nutrients in the soil But it does gradually build up the texture and quality of the soil So its better if you add organic fertilizer as early as possible and keep watering the soil So that the nutrients start breaking up in the soil Once the nutrients start breaking up, they are more readily available to the plants And also make sure you mix it thoroughly with the soil So we have completed 3 of our raised beds And this is what It looks like There are still some more to go This should give you a little bit of idea about the stages of your raised beds.
I have already started growing some tomatoes here and what I am going to do is on this side I’m going to plant some runner beans that will climb on the trellis .This one’s yet to be done. Should be done soon. So all our raised beds are now ready and we’re going to be watering all our raised beds to make sure the soil settles down. Now by watering you will also notice that after the soil settles down you might need to add a little bit more of the potting mix or the raised bed mix There we have it. Our project is complete. We have converted a lawn that produced nothing but grass to raised beds which are going to produce a lot of vegetables in the future. I have planted some Okra seeds here. I’ll probably have a separate video to show you the progress of how they are doing. Tomato plants have been planted and they have started growing too. I’ll be growing some beans which are going to climb on this trellis. I do know the problem of with bushes behind the trellis but I think I can live with that and there are going to be some more climbers planted here. I planted some Blue Burgundy bush beans here on the front side and I am planning to convert these two raised beds to an area to grow gourds and you will see that soon.
I hope you enjoyed today’s video And I will possible have a future video on how I set up the drip irrigation for these raised beds And another video showing how I installed a PVC trellis to support all the climbing plants that I planted So I hope this video inspires you to convert your lawn to a raised bed And if you have any comments, please do let me know And I’ll see you again soon in another episode of California Gardening Until then. . . Happy gardening!