I have had no luck with growing vegetables since I became a homeowner. Believing the soil in my yard may be at fault, I decided to build some raised garden beds, filled with fresh soil.
I used scrap 2 x 4’s with 3-inch decking screws. I pre-drilled first, and then screwed them in by hand; I have a blister on my thumb to prove it! Since I already had pieces cut, I didn’t need to purchase or cut any lumber. You can make a rectangular bed with only one cut, if you purchase three 2 x 4’s and cut one in half. Most home improvement centers will make free cuts for you.
Beds can be as long as you wish but should not be more than 4 feet wide; most people can easily reach 2 feet from the side to work on their garden. Make sure to measure your lawn mower and make sure there is enough space between the beds for it to get through.
The kids dug dirt from the mulch pile and pulled it in their wagon to the beds, which they filled halfway. We added one cubic yard of organic soil and one cubic yard of regular top soil. The only materials I purchased for this project were the packaged soils and a box of screws, for a total under $10, even including the seeds we would plant.
The kids each have their own square, which is approximately 2 feet by 2 feet. They each receive a packet of seeds that can be planted in early spring in our northeastern region: spinach, cucumbers, carrots, and broccoli. I told them to spread them out evenly in their box and plant them the depth indicated on the packet.
I will be building more larger beds later in the season for all of the seeds that must be planted after the last frost, which for us is in late May. We were anxious to get started with Spring though, and this was a great beginning.
There are nice instructions for this project in the current issue of Better Homes and Gardens. I didn’t copy this idea from them, though, as we had a beautiful raised bed garden that my Dad constructed similarly when I was growing up.