I used the M Brace raised garden bed system from Art of The Garden. The corner braces are beautiful, functional and work like a charm… if you don’t use a warped board, that is. We used four 2”x8”x12’ and four 2”x8”x4’ pieces of untreated lumber and created a 4’x12′ bed that is approximately 16 inches high. Unfortunately, one of the 12’ boards was slightly warped and added another step to the process. We had to attach L-brackets to the inside of the bed to pull it all together. Problem solved!
The first thing we did was lay down weed barrier fabric. We doubled it to ensure that the weeds stay out. Then, we set up the corners and placed the boards in the grooves. Easy. Then, of course, we added the brackets. Not difficult, but an extra step I didn’t need.
The next day, we filled the pickup with topsoil… shovel by shovel. Then, we unloaded it… shovel by shovel into the garden bed. We didn’t want to fill the entire bed with expensive soil when it would only be the top 12 inches that would matter, so we used FREE topsoil for the bottom 3-4 inches. Then, we added bags of garden soil, peat moss and mushroom compost. We blended it all together with a little Mantis tiller like we were mixing a giant bowl of cake batter. No… we DID NOT lick the tines of the tiller after we finished mixing the soil. Our dogs, Johnny & Tucker, did find the mushroom compost quite tasty though. They’ve eaten more disgusting things.
By the time we finished filling (and tilling) the garden, it was dark outside. The only thing I had time to plant was two rows of strawberries. Either tonight or tomorrow, I will add peas, lettuce, radishes, carrots, potatoes, and asparagus. Next month, I will plant zucchini, tomatoes, bell peppers, and a few herbs. It’s going to be a great garden!
Raised Bed Gardening Books
Mel Bartholomew’s All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space is my favorite. Here is a video of Mel answering questions about his Square Foot Gardening Method.