Introduction: How to Build a Raised Permaculture Bed

About: We believe that sustainable food production and security can be achieved in every backyard.

This is step 2 in our Easy and Productive gardening instructable and a great way to build a raised permaculture bed. Permaculture is an agricultural system that looks at preserving the earth while producing goods for human consumption. There's a lot to learn about this subject and you can get a quick over view at the wikipedia page, but we're not going to delve too deep into the topic here. Instead we've boiled down our research to show you how to build a long lasting raised bed permaculture system in your garden. The good news is, you can walk to the woods for most of your materials!

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

For 4 beds you will need:

  • A minimum of 16 Logs from the forest floor
  • A Multitude of Branches from the forest floor
  • Ramial Chipped Wood (you'll be able to get this directly from ownFood soon)
  • Soil mix of 1/3 sand, 1/3 clay and 1/3 Forest Humus
  • Your choice of open source Restoration Seeds

Optional for frames:

  • 12 pieces of 200 x 15,5 cm Wood Planks
  • 250 cm of 5 x 5 cm Wood
  • 64 Phillips Head screws

Step 2: Plan Your Final Greenhouse Layout

We recommend that you use half of your greenhouse space for permaculture beds. The way you arrange these will affect the final placement of your aquaponic system if you intend to install one (see electronics tutorial in our instructables list).

Step 3: Prepare the Space

The get the area ready for permaculture beds you have 2 options, you could:

  • Dig trenches for your raised beds that are about 30 cm deep


  • Build simple wood frames out of wood planks if you cannot dig into your ground. (What is pictured here)

The measurements of your wood frames or trenches can vary according to the floor plan you envision for your permaculture garden. We recommend that you use approx. half the space of your future greenhouse for permaculture beds.

Step 4: Begin Your Raised Bed

Now that you have made a plan and prepared the area it is just a matter of assembly! This shouldn't take too long.
  • Place about 4 large logs that you found in a forest in the base of your bed
  • 4 logs is based on a bed that is 2 m long.

Step 5: Introduce Branches

  • Fill the space around the logs with branches and twigs from the forest floor
  • Cover the logs with this material as well.

We hope you have a nice walk when you go collect these materials :)

Step 6: Add Another Layer

  • Cover the branches and twigs completely with Ramial Chipped Wood, about 10 cm deep.

Step 7: Cover With Soil

  • Create a soil mix that is 1/3 clay 1/3 sand and 1/3 humus from the forest
  • Cover the bed with that mixture, so that the soil is about about 15 cm deep

Step 8: Finish the Bed

  • Cover the bed with the final layer of Ramial Chipped Wood
  • This layer should be about 5 cm deep

Step 9: Plant Vegetables

  • We'll have an app available soon to help pair plants together. This will help protect against pests and attract good insects, one of the fundamental principles of permaculture.
  • Grow seedlings faster in ZipGrow towers, in the event you went for it and created the complete system all at once
  • Plant your seedlings into the permaculture beds
  • Wait for your vegetables to be harvested!