In this short article in our vegetable growing series, I’ll be discussing how to build a vegetable garden box from scratch, with only a few common tools and not a lot of DIY skills. The whole process can be done with a handsaw, a tape measure, a spirit level, an electric drill, some screws, and an electric screwdriver (unless you have attachments for your electric drill.
Ensuring the location where the box will be positioned is level, creating the vegetable garden box is as simple as marking out the length and widths of timber (Douglas fir is a great choice), screwing the sections together with some wood screws, adding some corner strengthening timbers, and adding a shelf. A lot of folks use additional timber posts to actually fix the raised bed into the ground. This can be useful if the ground it not level, but I prefer to do the preliminary work of leveling the site first, with nothing more than a spade or shovel.
If your ground is slightly uneven, then adding a little slate or even shingle under the corners to prop it up. Once you have sheet mulched the bottom of the bed (once in position) added some shingle for drainage, then filled the bed with soil, it won’t move an inch. After applying the topsoil and planting the bed out, I like to use cedar mulch for my vegetable gardens, it does a great job at repelling insects and lasts a long time
- 2″x10″ timber for the sides
- 2″x4″ timber for the shelves
- Wood screws, preferably galvanized
- Cardboard to sheet mulch the bottom of the planter
- Shingle to assist with drainage
- Top Soil
- Compost if available (recommended)
How To Build A Vegetable Garden Box From Scratch
This video from One Yard Revolution covers how to build a raised vegetable garden in detail:
Raised vegetable beds are a really good idea in a small homestead or self-sustaining garden. Being able to work at a better height, and to have somewhere to sit while planting and harvesting crops make for a much more pleasant way of growing your own vegetables. When considering how to make a raised garden bed on the cheap, the option of recycled timber comes to mind. This is a great idea, but just ensure that the timber hasn’t been treated with some unpleasant preservative that could leach into your vegetables.
For The DIY Phobic
If you’re terrified of starting a project like this, that’s ok. Not everyone is great at building stuff when they first get started. There are alternatives though, and this cedar raised vegetable garden box is a great alternative to building one yourself. Amazon has plenty of raised boxes in timber and plastic. If you are just looking to get started it’s a good first step.
Homemade garden boxes, for vegetables or flowers, are attractive, fun to build, and allow you to make rapid progress in converting a barren yard into something attractive and productive at the same time.
So, if you haven’t started yet, now is the time. The small homestead vegetable garden is a pleasure to build, to work in, and to nurture, year after year.