When you grow veggies yourself, they just taste better. Creating a raised garden bed is an almost foolproof way to do it, since it takes the problem of dry, rocky or nutrient-void soil out of the equation.
The raised bed project is also great for its adaptability. A novice can pick up a kit and put something together in an afternoon, since “easy to assemble” actually lives up to its name in this case. And a more experienced woodworker or gardener can get funky with stacked hexagons or other configurations that put more emphasis on style.
Check out our step-by-step guide to creating a raised vegetable garden using a simple kit. We added a few inside tips that we came up with when we did this project ourselves. Be sure to print out Garden Club Raised Bed Project Card to take with you on your shopping trip to The Home Depot. It has these instructions, and a shopping list you can take to your local Home Depot store. And prepare yourself for a bounty of fresh vegetables that you planted with your own two hands.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Step 1. Select vegetables and herbs based on what you like to eat and your region’s growing conditions.
Ask a Home Depot Certified Nursery Consultant for help choosing plants. Check the plant tags to see how close together they should be planted. That way you’ll know how many to buy.
Step 2. Construct your bed according to the directions.
We found that it was a good idea to have a rubber mallet on hand to get the boards nice and snug.
Step 3. Decide where to place your garden in the yard and where to place the veggies in the garden.
Give the bed some space from fences or trees, in the spot in the yard that gets the most sun. Think about the movement of the sun throughout the day as well. The tallest plants should be in the northern part of your bed so they don’t shade the other plants. We found it helpful to draw it out, using the plant tags to experiment with different configurations on a sketch.
Step 4. Dig a shallow trench, paying special attention to the corners, which may need a little more space or depth.
You can also remove the topsoil under your bed if it is especially prone to weeds. We hit on this trick: Grab some twine and four or five forks. Lace the twine in the fork prongs until it is secure. Stick the fork into the ground each corner, creating an outline of your bed. Move the frame and get digging.
Step 5. Move your frame back over to its primo spot.
Make sure your frame is parallel using a simple level. Add or remove soil under the posts until you find the right balance.
Step 6. Add lots of soil.
You may need more than you think, so check out your kit beforehand to see the recommended amount of cubic feet of soil to get the job done. Rake the soil to even it out.
Step 7: Plant your veggies. Water and fertilize.
Sow seeds directly into soil for faster-growing plants, like salad greens. Use transplants for vegetables with longer sprouting times, like tomatoes. Follow seed package or plant tag directions. Your vegetables need to be watered daily during the height of summer (less often during temperate weather) and fertilized on a regular basis. Look for complete organic fertilizers designed for container gardening and follow package directions.
Step 8. (Optional) Make some plant tags.
Want to keep your squash straight from your eggplant? Make some simple markers using laminated paint chips or paint stirrers from The Home Depot.
Check out our other garden projects and be sure to sign up for The Home Depot’s Garden Club, where you can get special offers, discounts and expert advice. Also, join the conversation about herb container gardening on our forums.