Farm Life with Lisa: Raised Beds

Lisa Peterson is back with her gardening project - building your own raised garden bed!

Happy Spring, I think! I am hoping that we can finally declare spring in Northern Iowa. About ten days ago, on April 30th, we woke up to a winter wonderland with 3-4" of snow on the ground! Today is forecasted to be a high of 80. Unfortunately, we still haven't been able to turn a wheel to get our fieldwork done and start planting. However, the late spring has afforded us a bit of time to work on our
garden project! 

If you have been reading my previous blogs, you know that we moved onto the farm that I grew up on. My mother had a beautiful garden  -- both flower and vegetable. However, at this stage in my life it is a bit daunting to think of the upkeep so we will focus mainly on the vegetable side. My mom's raised vegetable beds were in need of a redo, so I'd like to share the project. 


April 30th -- snow...

There are many designs out there for raised garden beds and a few kits that you can buy.  We have found that we could design and make a raised bed for about the same cost, but our version was much sturdier with a few bonus options.  The raised bed works great if you want just one in your backyard in town or if you need multiples, like us!

Materials List:

3 - 2"x12"x8' Cedar Boards

3 - 2"x4"x8' Cedar Boards

3-2"x6"x8' Composite Decking

12 -  9/16" x 6" Galvanized Lag Bolts & Washers

#10 x 2-3/4" Composite Decking Screws

#9 x 2-1/2" Deck Screws


Before -- the old beds rotting

The initial box is framed up. Cedar is used so that it won't rot when exposed to the elements.  We love the 12" height to reduce the amount of bending over when weeding or picking!  Also, treated lumber is not recommended for food production due to leaching of the treatment product.


Framing the initial box

Next, a 2"x4" piece is framed on the inside of the 2"x12". This helps provide a bigger area to support the composite decking on top. 


The trickiest part is getting all your corners to work out correctly!

The top takes the brunt of the outside elements, so composite decking works great. After the 5th coat of waterproofing/stain on my previous box, I am happy to not have the maintenance anymore! 


Composite decking top

The composite decking lip provides a nice place to sit on. My kids think it is fun to sit on the edge and help pick or weed. It also prevents them from stepping on a plant or walking through the garden.    


All done! Ready to be filled and moved to the garden!

Finished box dimensions are approximately 4 x 8 feet. Feel free to tweet me @farming2feedyou with any questions!  Happy gardening!


Lisa is a farm gal who took a break for the city and is now back on the farm in Iowa! She will be joining us to share her challenges being back on the farm as well as some fun stories about getting back into the farm life.

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