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A Step-by-Step Guide On How To Build Your Own Garden Beds

May 26, 2022 04:47PM ● By Virginia Dean

Planter or garden boxes offer a slew of benefits to help your plants thrive and their not too difficult to build and can be constructed with a wide range of materials. 

Beyond keeping critters at bay, your soil will warm up earlier, and vegetables, fruits, and ornamentals will send their roots deeper in search of water, so they likely will be healthier.

For a 4-by-8-foot bed, you’ll need:

Step 1, settle on the right position for your boards. The boards lay on a level section of ground with their inner corners touching. Stand one long board on its side and, using a rubber mallet, hammer two pieces of rebar 1 foot from each corner, a few inches deep into the ground. 

Step 2, prop up the short sides. Use a piece of rebar at the center of each for temporary support. Next, prop up the second long side and adjust the alignment of your frame as necessary. Then hammer rebar a few inches deep 1 foot from each corner of the second long side. 

Step 3: reinforce the frame. Hammer rebar a few inches deep a foot from each corner of the short sides and remove the temporary supports. Add two pieces of rebar 2 feet apart along each long side. These will reinforce the frame when it’s filled with soil. Then hammer in the rebar until 6 to 10 inches are exposed above ground.

Step 4: Fill your bed. Line the bottom of your frame with newspaper or cardboard and wet it thoroughly. Finally, fill your bed with soil within a few inches of the top. Alternative building materials might include prefab kits, wattle, logs, concrete blocks, or high and mighty (a waist-high bed).

Build your beds somewhere that receives at least 5-6 hours of sunlight and orient them north to south to prevent plants from shading each other out. Beds should be at least a foot wide, 8 feet long, and 10-14 inches high. Leave at least 2-3 feet between beds for walking and wheelbarrow access. A dark, rich soil with plenty of microorganisms is preferred; Beds should be filled with a mix of 50-60% good quality topsoil and 40-50% well-aged compost. Water daily and enjoy the beautiful results!

Once you have decided on what kind of garden bed you want, it’s time to purchase the materials. In the Upper Valley, the following stores offer garden items (including seeds) suitable for building your beds: Home Depot, Walmart Garden Center, Marro Home Center, Woodstock Ace Home & Hardware, and Gardener's Supply Company.

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