I recently made a second raised bed garden to add to my fruit and vegetable growing capabilities. Living in a typical suburban neighborhood my space is limited. In this particular case I built this raised bed for blueberry and blackberry plants.
To get this project done – I assembled all needed components in one area to begin construction. This raised bed is to measure 4′ foot wide by 8′ foot long and will sit 10″ inches high. I went to my local lumber yard and bought 2″ x 10″ x 8′ non-treated boards – three of them. Two of them will make up the longer sides while the other will be cut in half and make the shorter ends.
Blueberries ready for planting.
I purchased some blueberry plants at SAM’s – hoping they survive the project.
All side boards are cut – ready to get screwed together.
All sides were cut and decking screws and my Craftsman drill is ready to go. All holes for screws are pre-drilled to make it easier to install the screws as well as prevent splitting.
I cut a 2″x4″ into section of 10″ inches long – four of them.
My incredible wood-working skills at play…..I made a box!!
2×4 pieces screwed in corners for support.
To provide great rigidity the 2″x4″ pieces are installed into each corner.
I added a variety of peat moss, composted cow manure and top soil to the raised bed – and planted the blueberries. I use rain water from my rain barrel to water the plants whenever possible. Also – to raise the acidity of the soil – I am going to mulch the bed with pine needles. Hopefully next year I will have fresh blueberries.
Raised beds provide some great advantages to your gardening efforts (more later in another post).
Take care all –
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Excellent post. I like that fact that you are doing raised bed instead of in ground plots. I think you get better soil contents this way because you can control what goes in from the start. The blue berries should be awesome next season. Thanks for putting pics up too to show others how to build these raised beds. You did a great job with your choices for amendments to the soil. The pine needles should do a great job at raising the acidity as they break down over time.
Great timing on this as I was about to start research to build one.
Question: would it not make sense to place a a couple layers of weed blocker at the bottom to keep out future weeds?
Great meeting you last weekend.
The soil underneath was so bad that there was no need for weedblocker.
One negative about weeb blocking fabric underneath is eventually that soil will soften and become more fertile. I want the roots of the plants in the bed to be able to go further down into the soil. The weed blocker may prevent that from happening.
Good idea and alot cheaper than buying a raised garden kit. I planted blueberries last year so can’t wait for fresh ones this year. Also planted raspberries and those things grew like weeds even with a short growing season up here in Wyoming they grew from 4 inch high plants to around 4 foot and had a little harvest. Thanks Rourke and look foward to more good posts.
I just planted a bunch of blueberries last week here in South TX. I didn’t do the raised bed thing, I dug holes in the ground about a foot deep. Problem was that the rock layer starts at about 8″, so I had to break through. By hand, with only a shovel. Let’s just say that I haven’t been this sore in quite a number of years – and it took an average of nearly an hour per (including mixing up peat with sand and dirt cleaned of stones). I’ve put a layer of peat down as mulch, and I’ll be getting some pine mulch to put on top tonight. I wish that I’d done one long raised bed (they’re spread out along the back fence), but I’m not digging them up and starting over. I will be doing a raised bed for veggies (mainly the now-expensive tomatoes and peppers) and some herbs though, sometime in the next couple of weeks, right along the lines of what you did – no back-breaking work, just simple, quick and effective.
FYI, the berry bushes are doing well (ordered from a BB farm in NJ). They’re 3 years old, and will produce berries starting this June. Now that I’ve done this, SWMBO wants a citrus tree and the kids want a peach and an avocado tree. Good! Slowly but surely I’ll push, pull or drag them into being preppers, without even knowing it.
Oh, I forgot a question: why did you use untreated lumber? Won’t it rot after a while, esp. with somewhat acid soil? I was planning to use treated (more expensive, but more durable). Alternatively, I was thinking of using 6″-wide cedar planks, one on top of the other and screwed to 2x4s in the corners and in the middle of the 8′ length, because cedar is resistant to rot and that’d be a lot less expensive than 2x10s or 2x12s.
I did use untreated on this one.I have another that I did last year and used treated. Honestly – I choose untreated because of cost as well as to see how well it “ages”.
Last time I posted about the other raised bed and I used treated- I was HIGHLY criticized. I really am not concerned about the chemicals used in the treating process. You can find sources that say it is fine to use and others that say it is not.
On down the road a bit if the plants survive and I need to replace the boards – I will.
Are you doing then a take on Mel Bartholomew’s Square Foot Gardening method? Mel’s Mix is similar, but uses 1/3 Compost, 1/3
Peat Moss and 1/3 Vermicullite. Extremely low maintenance and orgnanic. Highly recommend his book and website if you aren’t already familiar with them.
the untreated lumber will last for several years usually. We used oak and they have lasted 5 years now.
the treated lumber can leech unwanted chemicals into your soil over time and you might not want that.
beautiful job Rourke!
Making a raised bed garden is an excellent way to go. Raised garden beds typically produce up to two times as many vegetables per square foot as ordinary beds, due in large part to the reduction of soil compaction.
I also like the fact that because they are raised I can sit on my small kiddy stool while picking weeds, trimming back certain overgrowth and, when the time is right, harvesting the veggies. No more getting down on my hands and knees, or stooping over like a hunchback for me. Bad knees, as the result of too many years of abuse and misuse of one sort or another, has helped me appreciate anything that saves me from further wear and tear.
I share your limited space problem and had considered raised beds for my garden. After some trial runs I decided against it as it attracted cats from near and far to make deposits and ultimately kill my plants. After some investigation I settled on aquaponics, raising talapia to feed the plants the fish waste, using the plants to filter the water for the fish. The plants have grown extremely fast and produced fruit within 4 weeks. Then the pests invaded and the garden took a big hit. It looks like I finally got that under control and the plants are recovering.
I am adding a raised bed myself tomorrow. Regarding the use of treated wood, many recommend not using treated wood because hazardous chemicals may leach into the soil. Others now say modern treated wood is safe … who knows? I have one made of cedar and another made of non-treated lumber. But honestly, I don’t fear the treated lumber either.
I am thinking of adding blue berries and black berries myself and was wondering how deep to go … thanks Rourke! Great post, as usual!
I buried mine up to the bottom of the main plant. Good question – not sure if I should have buried mine any deeper. I basically made sure that I buried the dirt part of the plant after I took it out of the pot.