Raised Garden Beds

Reader Contribution by Texas Pioneer Woman
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“Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.” – Luther Burbank

I love to garden. I love planting seeds in my greenhouse, nurturing them until after our last frost date and then moving them out to the garden, so that they flourish and produce tasty and healthy food for my family. I have a native gardening approach to my garden chores. I have several garden spots throughout my farm, mainly because I live in a very wooded area and try to place garden spots where they can receive sunlight throughout the day. I also could not possibly weed all of my gardens, so I try to use a weed eater or a mower to get the heavy stuff and beyond that I leave the other so-called “weeds” alone. I try to let all of the “weeds” that do not directly hinder my plants from producing go to flower or seed to produce food for my honeybees.

I have found that I like to use raised beds in my garden. I feel a little more in control of specifically nurturing and watering that area of the garden, especially during a drought, which in Texas we often have. I also feel that it is easier for me to not worry about mowing over my vegetable plants by accident, because the plants are safely enclosed. When making my raised beds, I love to use recycled materials because I love to see what my husband and I can make, re-purpose, or recycle without spending much money! Living on a farm can be expensive and sometimes money can be scarce, so I always try to save as much money as I can on our projects.

This year our raised beds literally fell apart as I was preparing my spring garden. I placed an ad on FreeCycle.org requesting lumber or cinder blocks to build some garden beds. Oh my! I hit the jackpot and got lots of free lumber! My husband went with me to pick up some 6 feet by 8 feet wooden fencing, which you should always have a friend go with you when meeting an unknown person for safety reasons.

The first step my husband did was to separate the wood into the height we wanted the beds to be. Our first raised bed was three boards high, but the subsequent beds we made were only two boards high.

The next step we did was to connect two sides of the boards together by using scrap wood and screws, so that we could form a rectangle-shaped raised bed with the dimensions of 16 feet by 8 feet.

Then we added the two long sides of the raised bed to the shorter sides by using more scrap boards as corners and screwing them into each side of the wood.


We made sure each side of the raised bed was screwed in sturdy. We thought it would be better to have the scrap wood we added on the outside of the raised beds, because the added soil would push outward on the boards and the scrap wood could reinforce the wood from bowing outward.

That is it. It was very simple and quick. And best of all it did not cost me any money! I filled the raised beds with soil leftover from the pond excavation, compost and shredded bark I got free from the tree cutting company. All that is left to do is to transfer the plants from the greenhouse.

To learn more self-reliant skills, please visit www.thetexaspioneerwoman.blogspot.com.

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