Building Raised Bed Planters

 Raised beds are the most efficient and productive  way to grow vegetables. The design can be simple or quite elaborate and there are choices to be made about the materials used.  First you should pick a spot that has full sun, flat and that is tucked away so it does not detract from your other landscaping when it is out of season.  Untreated rot resistant wood is the most commonly used material. Do not use railroad ties as they are treated with creosote which will leak toxins into the soil.  Some more unusual materials would be stacked stone which is very attractive but a larger investment and more labor intensive. Another unusual idea would be round beds that look like baskets made from woven willow.  Pyramid trellises give vertical support for climbers and complete the teepee look. Redwood is the most common choice because it is easier for soil control and is resistant to rot.

Don’t make your borders larger than four feet wide so you can easily reach the center.  Wooden beds can be screwed together with galvanized screws or you can buy planter wall blocks or create corner posts. Line the bottom of the planter with a plastic liner making sure there are holes for drainage.  The best soil depth is 12-24 inches and using 1 part topsoil, 1 part composted manure and 1 part sand.  

Drip irrigation or soaker hoses are a time saver to water your garden and putting them on a timer will really make gardening a breeze.  Some find hand watering therapeutic but it is a problem if you go on vacation. Good luck with your garden and enjoy fresh vegetables all season.

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