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We revamped our garden this year into large beds instead of a mixture of beds and rows as in the past. We’ll keep you posted on our experience, but we really like how pretty and organized things look so far. With two small, crazy kids, we didn’t do starts this year. We bought some starts from Urban Farm Seeds and planted lots of seeds directly in the garden. I’ve always wanted to try planting peppers and tomatoes (plants that I’ve traditionally started indoors in March or April) directly in the garden to see how they do, so I finally did that this year. They seem to be doing okay so far – I’ll keep you posted as to their progress.

photo2We followed these basic directions, except we used the following in terms of lumber in case you want to copy our less expensive version:

  • 4 2×4 8-foot pressure treated boards (we used these instead of the more expensive and more difficult to cut 4×4 posts) :: See paragraph below re: cuts
  • 8 2×10 10-foot pressure treated boards (you could also get 2×10s or 2×8s, depending on the depth you want – we went with 2x10s because our Lowe’s didn’t have 2x12s) :: No need to cut these
  • 4 2×10 8-foot pressure treated boards :: Cut these in half, so that you have eight four-feet sections

These made four 4×10 feet beds. Because we used the 2x4s instead of the 4×4 posts, we were able to have Lowe’s do all of the cuts for us, so all we had to do when we got home was assemble everything and then put them in place. We had Lowe’s cut the 2x4s in one-foot sections, so that when we screwed them to the 2x10s, they stuck out about two-inches on the bottom, creating little legs for the beds. If you don’t want the legs to stick out on the bottom, just cut the boards to match the depth of your bed (which would be 10 inch sections in our case). I used some wood glue to attach two sections of the 2×4 together, in effect creating a 4×4 post in one-foot sections (but quite a bit less expensive). Then we used the four-inch screws to attach the “posts” to the rest of the bed.

If cost wasn’t an option, we would have used cedar, but after some more research, we went with pressure-treated wood. We made these back in April, so we let them set out through the spring rains in hopes of washing out at least some of the chemicals.

Since we built these back in April, we had some time before we were ready to plant (except for some cold weather stuff that we planted in our old square foot). We filled up the beds first with lots of sticks based on the hugelkultur method, then with a layer of cardboard (torn into smaller 12-inch sections), then with a layer of shredded paper, and then we had quite a bit of grass that we had dug up because we made the garden larger (less lawn, more food – hooray!), so we put it grass side down in the beds. Then we topped all of that with compost and some top soil for the lower spots.

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Here are the finished products (along with our old PVC-square foot garden):

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Have you tackled any garden-related construction projects this year? Leave your questions in the comments!

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