Simple and cheap raised garden bed

I somehow wound up with two extra tomato plants and nowhere to plant them.  Tomato plants take up a lot of space when they get mature, so my preference is to plant them away from the rest of the vegetables.  I solved my dilemma by building a raised bed in a sunny location on the edge of my yard.

Here is a photo of the basic materials – three six-inch wide by six-foot long cedar fence boards.  Also used were a few screws, and 4 pieces of re-bar about two feet long.  The boards cost about two dollars each at my home center, the screws and rebar I already had – so my total cost was less than ten dollars.  It’s important to use cedar or redwood because these woods don’t rot.  I chose cedar because it is cheaper and doesn’t split as much.  I used 3-inch general purpose screws, but ideally stainless steel or galvanized deck screws would be best so that they won’t rust.

The fence boards have angled corners on one end, so I cut that end off, leaving each board 70-inches long.  Two of the boards became the long ends of the raised bed.  The third board, I cut into two 35-inch pieces to form the short sides of the bed.  You can certainly use a circular saw or table saw, but a hand saw works perfectly fine, is just as fast, and burns a few calories.  Next, I simply screwed the long sides to the short sides to make a rectangle.

The area where I wanted the bed to go previously had bermuda grass.  Uggh.  For a few weeks prior, I sprayed the grass with glyphosate-type herbicide to kill the grass the best I could. This type of herbicide is supposed to only be absorbed by the growing green parts of a plant and not remain active in the soil.  Unfortunately, about the only way to get rid of bermuda grass is poison. I dug up as much of the mostly dead grass as I could, turned over and loosened the soil, leveled the area and laid down the cedar rectangle I had made previously.

After checking to see that the bed was level, I used rebar staked around the edges to secure it in place and keep the edges from bowing out once I filled it with soil.  Next, I filled it with about 8 cubic feet of garden soil and steer manure  from my home center, and set in my tomato plants.

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One Response to Simple and cheap raised garden bed

  1. Jenni says:

    That looks great! I have extra tomato plants that I started from seed and can’t bear to let them go, even if I know it could mean we have waaay more tomatoes than we need to eat in August. I’ve thought about putting them in homemade grow bags and staking them to our chain link fence.

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