As we come into the last few weeks of "summer", you probably have young plants that are ready to expand their roots into larger homes. Much like us humans at an adolescent age, sprouts need room, TLC, and a little freedom so they can mature properly and be healthy!
There are many different container types you can choose to plant your sprouts in. You can put them into larger pots, into the ground, or make a unique DIY pot/bed.
You can also build a raised bed for your plants. Not only can you customize the size/shape/design, but they also will help save your back, and have fewer weeds than planting in the ground. They also are a great option if the soil in your yard is full of clay, or less than ideal. Did someone say less work??
A couple of things to take note of
The first thing you'll want to think about is the variety of plants you'll be growing in your raised bed. Some plants take up a lot less (or more) space than others. The seed packets will say how far to space the seeds apart. Use this as a guide for how much space you'll need for when the plant matures.
Some, such as tomatoes, will need support to keep from falling over, while others prefer to climb, and will need a trellis/fence to grow on.
You'll also want to consider location. Choose a spot that gets lots of sunshine, most plants will want around 8 hours of sunlight each day. You'll also want to make sure you have easy access to water.
How big should I build my raised bed?
Of course, you can build your raised bed however big you desire, consider the below:
-Overall Height: A good height is your waist! that way you aren't really bending over to work in your garden. Also, think about the depth you want the bed to be.
-Depth: You'll want the bed to be around 12" deep to give your plant's roots plenty of room to grow. This is especially important for plants that can bear heavy fruit like large tomatoes.
-Width: However wide you choose to build it, just make sure you can reach the middle easily! So don't build it wider than a couple of your arm-lengths (4-5') across, or you will struggle to reach the center.
-Length: This can be based purely on how much room you have, or however long you want it, if you have lots of room!
-Board thickness: This will depend on your preference of how sturdy you want the wood, and also on what deals you can find. 2" thick lumber is ideal, but 1" will also work.
-Extras: Adding 4"x4" corner posts on the inside of your bed will make the planter extra strong and help prevent warping. You could also extend the corner posts longer, and use them as legs as well if you want the bottom of the planter off the ground.
-Aesthetics: Alot of gardeners add flat trim to the top edges of the box for a nice finished look, and for a nice edge to rest on. You can break out your painting skills and paint up or wood burn the outside of the raised bed for an artistic touch.
What material should I use?
Wood is most often used and often the cheapest. You can use cement blocks, or re-use objects that are just laying around your yard with no purpose. If you use wood, you don't want to use lumber coated with toxins stains, dyes, or finishes, etc. You'll want to choose a type of wood that is resistant to water and rotting, such as cedar.
Let's build your raised bed:
Even if you are a master carpenter, you can easily put together a raised bed yourself!
-Cut the boards to size: If you don't have a saw, you can rent one. If you are comfortable with cutting the boards yourself, bring the dimensions with you when you purchase the lumber, alot of stores will cut it for you!
-Drill the boards together: Before you drill the screws in, it's helpful to use a smaller drill bit, and drill pilot/starter holes before putting in the screws.
-Square and level: Before you put the soil in, you'll want to make sure the bed is square. You can do this by measuring from corner to corner. You'll also want to put it in a relatively level spot. If the ground is not level under the legs/bottom of the box, try digging out or adding in more soil, or thin pieces of board if it's not going on the dirt.
It's time to add soil and plants!
Let's fill your new spiffy planter with soil. Make sure you get a raised-bed specific soil mix. To find how much soil you'll need, use the combo of length x width x depth of your box, and that will give you the amount of soil you need in cubic feet.
Now let's plant! Keeping your sprouts spacing needs in mind, dig out a hole big enough for the sprout's current roots, and put the sprouts in, slowing filling in with soil around roots. Ensure you don't bury the sprout's stem too deep. Water the soil well!
Make sure you have water-soluble organic plant food on hand. Both Dr. Earth and Espoma are good options.
Look at what you built! Awesome job!! Once you have your new raised bed all planted up, we'd love to see photos! If you need some veggie, herb, and flower seeds for your raised bed you can view our kits and sets here.
Happy Raised Bed Building!
Need help? We are here for you ( and your seeds)!
If you have any questions about growing your seeds or caring for them along the way, please reach out! You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or message us on Facebook and Instagram!