How to Build a Raised Vegetable Garden Box

Overview

Building a raised vegetable garden box is one of the best ways to combat poor native soil and improve drainage. Raised-bed gardening improves control over supplemental water usage by limiting the space to be watered. Any vegetable grown locally can be grown in a raised box, and it is easier to remove weeds and harvest vegetables from a raised box. A raised box also facilitates access for those in wheelchairs or with limited mobility.

Step 1

Select a level site for the raised vegetable garden box. Make sure that the location receives at least six and preferably eight hours of direct sunlight per day. A north-south orientation provides the best sunlight access for the entire garden box area.

Step 2

Decide on raised garden box size, preferably using a width that allows access to all parts of the box without stepping into it. If a larger gardening area is desired, build more than one box with sufficient space in between for a lawn mower or wheelbarrow to pass through.

Step 3

Clear the site of vegetation and debris using a shovel, rake or tiller. Lay down landscape cloth to limit weeds from growing up through the soil from the dirt below.

Step 4

Purchase rot-resistant, 2-by-6-inch lumber to construct the sides of the vegetable box -- cedar is a good choice. Purchase enough lumber to create a depth of 12 to 18 inches. Taller is even better, but the amount of soil required increases significantly.

Step 5

Purchase four corner brackets made for raised bed gardens. The bracket package comes in 12-inch and 20-inch heights, with the screws needed to attach the wood to the bracket.

Step 6

Lay out the garden outline with string or chalk to get straight edges for the box. Use a large hammer to drive the corner pieces three inches into the soil. Attach the lumber pieces to the corner brackets with the enclosed screws to create a frame that is 12 to 18 inches high.

Step 7

Add soil to the box. Bedding soil works best. Calculate the amount of soil needed to fill the box by finding the volume in cubic feet of the box (length x width x height). Therefore, a box that is four feet by six feet and 18 inches tall requires 36 cubic feet of soil (4 x 6 x 1.5 = 36).

Step 8

Set up an irrigation system for the raised vegetable garden box using either a soaker hose or drip irrigation.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel, rake or tiller
  • Landscape cloth
  • Rot-resistant lumber
  • Corner brackets
  • Screws
  • Chalk or string
  • Drill with screw driver attachment
  • Soil
  • Irrigation system

References

  • "Popular Mechanics": How to Build and Install a Raised Garden Bed
  • Texas A&M University: Building a Raised Bed Garden
  • University of Missouri extension service: Raised Bed Gardening
Keywords: raised garden, raised bed garden, vegetable raised beds

About this Author

Barbara Brown has been a freelance writer since 2006. She worked 10 years in health care, testing children and training parents before moving into information research. She has been certified as a psychological associate and professional counselor in Texas. She is studying to be a master gardener and has a master's in psychology from Southern Methodist University.