Raising the Bar for Garden Beds

Raised bed gardens offer an abundance of benefits, especially for North Texas gardeners with poor quality soil. The basic concept of a raised bed is to build the garden on top of native soil with the option to mix it in or bypass it completely, while managing the new soil’s texture and composition. Thought by some to be more aesthetically  pleasing than traditional gardens, raised beds can be built at any height and almost any location, allowing more plants per square foot (no row spacing or foot paths), warming up quicker in the springtime and providing more efficient drainage than more traditional gardens. Here are some building tips to remember.

When using wooden boards, make sure they are perfectly straight lengthwise. Even a slight curve or warp at the edge of the board will result in a gap at the corner.

  • Make sure the bed is level, so the water doesn’t collect or drain unevenly.
  • Before attaching the four boards together, place them next to each other to ensure a close match and mark each corner, so if you need to move them, you’ll know which corners go together.
  • If you are designing the bed for the Square Foot Gardening system (SquareFootGardening.org), remember to compensate for the thickness of the boards. The inside dimension will be four feet, not the outside.
  • Use coated deck screws that are designed for outdoor use.
  • In building a bed on top of grass, use several overlapping layers of wide cardboard.

Greg Holdsworth is owner of Your Own Victory Garden, which installs organic vegetable gardens and builds customized garden structures. For more info, call 214-517-9890 or visit YourOwnVictoryGarden.com.

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