We have been harvesting tomatoes, peppers and eggplant from our front yard. We grow these crops in raised beds.
If you have a some soil where you live, the best way to grow food is to plant using a raised bed.
What is a raised bed? It is nothing but a bottomless construction with soil like a sandbox. Raised beds give you the following advantages:
- Provide you with rich soil allowing your vegetables to grow healthier
- Easier to weed
- Fewer pests
- Drains quickly
- Plants are protected from pets (and kids)
How do you make a raised bed?
1. Find the space for it. You should have plenty of soil and sunlight (6 hours of sun.) It should be narrow enough so you can reach all of it from all sides. If you have enough space, you can have multiple beds. If you do, leave some room in between for a pathway.
2. The height of your bed should be from 1 to 2 feet. We use 4×8 rectangles.
3. Use anything for the walls that will stand up to water. We use pallets. These are discarded tomato crates, which we have in abundance.
You can use slates, scrap wood, or sustainably harvested wood. Now build a box. Any kind of construction of a walled enclosure will suit your purpose for a vegetable bed. The box will have four posts for the corners and you affix the wooden boards to the post.
If you are building using pallets, break the pallets and reassemble them with 4 planks side by side. Affix the 4 planks to make the sides of your bed. You do this by placing 4 planks side by side and then using another plank as a base at the back. We used No. 2 nails to nail the plank to the base. Leave an inch or so of the base board protruding so you can use this to bury the assembled planks (fence) to the soil. We kept the fence steady by burying it a little deep and by supporting it with a cement brick on the outer side.
This might help if you’re buying lumber:
6 pcs. 2”x8” boards, eight feet long. Leave four as is for the sides, and cut two in half for the ends
1 pc. 4”x4”, six feet long. Cut into 4 equal parts.
4. Make sure to poke or break the soil where your bed goes a little.
5. Fill the bed with good soil. We combine the soil from our with biodynamic compost we have saved. If you do not have your own compost, buy the best soil you can afford. It is crucial that your beds have good soil. This will determine the health of everything you will grow in it. Fill the bed all the way up to the top.
4. We cover our beds with aviary netting to keep out our native hens and dogs. We just used long sticks on four corners of the bed to hold the netting in place.
5. You are then ready to plant. We start our seeds indoors in a nursery until they sprout. We then keep them in the nursery until the true leaves appear and are looking sturdy.