Raised Garden Bed - on Legs!

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Introduction: Raised Garden Bed - on Legs!

About: I am happily married with one son, two dogs, a ball python, Russian tortoise, and many fish. I like to fossil hunt, all things Jeep, Walt Disney World, camp, hunt & fish, and garden. Anything new appeals...

 I built these raised garden beds for two reasons, the first was to avoid the back pain that my father feels when bent over a traditional raised bed for weeding, the second was to keep the dog out of the garden.  Both issues have been resolved!

I built three boxes, one for Strawberries, one for Herbs, and the last for Veggies like tomatoes and lettuce.

I did not take step by step pictures (sorry but built this before I found this great site) but the design is very simple.

As an added bonus, we have not had any rabbits or moles in the garden.  If you are in deer country, and you do not have a fence, these would become an "all you can eat buffet" so take precautions.

Step 1: Materials

 Pressure Treated Lumber - I used 2x12x10
  • This will depend on the size boxes you build
  • I built two boxes 4x4 and one 3x4
Pressure Treated Posts - I used 4x4x36 for each leg so a total of 12 legs

Lag Bolts to secure legs

Galvanized Screws to secure Box sides

1/4 inch Mesh Hardware Screen

Box of Lath Screws to secure screen to box frame

Landscape Fabric

Moisture Retaining Soil

Compost

 
 

Step 2: Construction

 I built these boxes onsite as they get heavy quickly once assembled.  They are a simple box with a leg secured at each corner with lag bolts.

I cut the pressure treated lumber to size for the sides.
  • 10 - 2x12x4
  • 2 - 2x12x3
Then I cut the pressure treated posts
  • 12 - 4x4x3
Assembly consisted of screwing the sides together with the Galvanized screws to form a simple box.

Next attach the legs at each corner with the lag bolts.

Now use the 1/4 inch screen to cover the bottom of the box by screwing the screen to the lower sides of the box.  You may need to attach a middle board across the center of the box at the bottom if your screen is not wide enough to cover from side to side (mine was not).  This is where you use the Lath Screws - I used #8 x 1 - 1/4.

On top of the of the screen, place the landscape fabric down.  This will retain the soil that you are about to place on top.

Last step (prior to planting) is to add the soil and compost to your new garden.

Step 3: Helpful Hints

 I have found that because the box is completely raised, water retention is a concern.  I have added a small sprinkler head to each box that I connect to a hose and run on low for 30 minutes to act as a "drip irrigation" system.  I run the water on very low so it bubbles out more than it "sprinkles".

I also add earth worms to the boxes every time it rains and I see them on the ground (every little bit helps).

I have also found that I can plant lettuce and cold weather veggies early on and then plant tomatoes and such in mid-May in the same box.  By the time the cold weather veggies are spent, the tomatoes have a good start.

As you can see from the pictures, I like to use the plastic domes to help give the pants a jump start.  They work very well.

I also like to add Marigolds as they are supposed to keep some insects away and I like the way they look and smell.  This is something my Grandfather always did so I do too.

5 People Made This Project!

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33 Discussions

This looks great but I'd REALLY like to have seen some of the project "in process". Especially the inside with no dirt. I still have a good picture in my mind of how I'll put these together. I'm going with 4 x 8 feet though and will have to put in some cross support. Seeing how it will drain would have been helpful too. Thanks!

Would like more information about adding the soaker hose into the build, with pictures if possible. I'm looking at building a u-shaped raised garden.

1 reply

I am not sure I have any pictures with the hose, I simply laid it back and forth around the plants stems and staked it so it would not move later. I then just ran it on a timer for a few hours each day and it seemed to work fine.

Went a completely different route this year - https://www.instructables.com/id/Hydroponics-Aquaponics-Koi-Pond/ - Please let me know what you think...

I absolutely Love this! Its a petfect way to garden if you have a back injury and an insanse dog. After reading about your water situation with the standing water, I spoke with my mother "The All Knowing Garden Expert of Texas" That was two hours of my life. She swears by Gravel, medium size for this project.
Thank you much for putting your poject on Instructables.

thank you for this! I'm visually impaired and need raised beds, but I'd only seen the start-from-the-ground ones, which would be too low - and building them to the height that I need would mean having to fill the lower part which the plants wouldn't reach.

I can make the boxes deeper, or make the legs longer, or both! and add a "reservoir" at the base to help with watering. thanks again

2 replies

Many people recommend filling the bottom of deep raised beds with.empty bottles (check plastic type for leaching). If you don't use legs you could also use rocks on the bottom. (Not concrete; it leaches "bad" chemicals.)

I have stacks of plastic milk bottles that I'm saving for craft projects and for raised-bed-fillers; read somewhere that if they're put in plastic sacks they can "bulk-fill" the space. hadn't known about concrete, thanks! I was gong to use the sack-of-bottles as a frame for a concrete "boulder" but that's be on the ground, not under it. or maybe even over it!.

Where are the updated pics? How are they doing 5 years later?

You can use plywood ( with drainage holes drilled in it ) or use 1" x 6" slats 1/4" to 1/2" apart to allow water drainage ( similar to how you would install a deck ). Using either of these will give added strength and help with the soil retaining enough moisture.

Also you can add "hoops" for netting to help keep out birds, bugs/insects, and for shading during hot weather. Also you can install either Polycabonate plastic panels or old glass windows to create an improvised "cold Frame" to either get an Early start with Early season plants or extend your season.

I have not made it yet, planing on doing so.So it will help my elderly parents out with gardening even though we have close to 3 3/4 acres of land and have had large gardens in the past.

These beds look great. Nice job. Just a couple of tips:

1) Because the soil in a raised bed like this will dry out faster than when planting in ambient dirt, it's best to use a good organic potting soil. The high Vermiculite/Perlite/Peat Moss content keeps the soil moist for a much longer time especially in hot weather.

2) Don 't use Linseed oil as a sealant. It has Cobalt and Manganese in it (as drying agents). These are toxic heavy metals and a no-no for organic food gardening. I have used natural Tung oil which you can find here. http://www.realmilkpaint.com/

Happy planting from MinifarmBox

1 reply

Thank you for the compliments and suggestions.

I have made quite a few changes over the seasons since I built these. First, these dried out incredibly fast, I would not consider building these again without adding in piping for irrigation and I think it would still be wasteful (from a water perspective). These units are only good (IMO) for someone with a disability that limits them from bending over but still wants to garden or maybe cactus :).

After this I tried lowering the beds to the ground level and that improved things quite a bit but last year I toyed with Hydroponics on a small scale and will be setting up a larger system next year as I was very happy with the results... More to come when that project kicks off... Happy New Year!

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I was so very Happy to find all of the imformation that i needed to build my raised beds.But what about the underlinning.What is best to keep it from drying out so fast. I feel if I use plastic it won't drain right.and what about the weight of it all on the screen.Is there any problems with it not wanting to hold? This was our concern..But Thanks for all of the other imformation.I do plan to use some old scap lumber.No it isn't treated.Is there anything that I can treat it with that isn't harmful to our health? I do hope this helps out my back.Still have two gardens but trying to do something a little different to.Thanks again my friends. Happy Gardening..

1 reply

if the box is being used for vegetables I would not recommend pressure treated wood

I thought untreated wood was better so that chemicals don't leach out of the wood into the food?

1 reply

Pressure treated wood is a no go for us. We use cedar as it is more water resistant, rot resistant and healthier.

Somebody have any step by step picture instructions to build these? How will the bottom hold up all the weight?