Construct A Raised Bed Garden

Setting up the raised bed garden took a bit more work than I had anticipated. I should have known better.

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!

Further reading:
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.

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5 thoughts on “Construct A Raised Bed Garden

  1. Great post! Love the look of the M Braces…love the pups even more. I take it that this is a permanent, or semi-permanent bed, since you planted strawberries. Will you get fruit this season?

    I also have a Mantis tiller, which works great for raised gardens. It’s so lightweight and easy to handle.

    Thank you for sharing tips on setting up the gardens, and for your soil “formula.” I never know what to use. I have an existing raised bed filled that has been used for two years. What should I use to give it a boost for the new season?

    • We started the strawberries two years ago and I dug them up and transplanted them into their new home. We had a few strawberries last year and hope to have a few more this year.

      The MANTIS…
      it’s amazing, isn’t it?! We’ve used it for some heavy duty clay-digging and it have not been disappointed.

      Garden soil…
      The best way to boost the soil in your raised bed garden is to incorporate organic matter (composted greens/vegetables/manure/garden waste). If you don’t have the fresh (rotten?) stuff available, add some mushroom compost and new garden soil.

  2. How many raised beds do you have or plan to have? Are they for vegetables or do you also use them for flowers? Are the M Braces worth investing in? I really love the looks of the but they are a little pricey. They can be used for years though.

    I’ve noticed that whenever I leave a comment on Modern Stead, I leave at least one word of the sentence. What’s with that anyway? ;~)

  3. I have one raised bed… but it’s a biggie (as far as raised beds go). It’s four feet by twelve feet. So, I guess you could say that I have three 4×4 raised beds. The plants are packed in there pretty tight. I’m using the square foot gardening method and am making use of every inch of space.

    The M Braces work great! And, you’re right, they can be used for YEARS! A few days after we set up the bed, a woman pulled into the driveway and asked about them. They certainly do attract attention… and they work great. They add a little bit of happiness to my garden. I also like that they are starting to rust. They are a very cool functional piece of garden art.

    I haven’t noticed that you leave one word out of a sentence when you post. I will pay more attention in the future 🙂

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