How to Create Raised Vegetable Beds


Use raised beds to grow vegetables when space is limited, or when the soil in the area is of poor quality. You can use raised beds for square foot and other types of gardening, making them a versatile option. The bed can have a bottom attached if desired, allowing you to move the bed between planting periods. Of course, you have to add drainage holes to these boxes. The beds themselves can be square or rectangular in shape.

Step 1

Put on the safety goggles and cut the lumber to the desired dimensions. Nail all four sides together to make a square or a rectangular shape. Sand the edges to prevent splinters and cuts when working in the bed.

Step 2

Work the soil where the bed will be placed with a hand trowel. Work down to 10 to 12 inches. Take out any rocks bigger than tiny pebbles if possible. Loosen the in that area well. Place the frame over the worked area.

Step 3

Add compost to the bed area, a little at a time. Work the compost into the soil well after each new addition. Make sure there are no large chunks of dirt or other large debris before going further. Even out the soil in the bed frame using a shovel or other tool.

Step 4

Section off the bed frame, if desired. Do this by hammering nails into the top of the bed at the desired measurements. String twine to separate the desired section. Tie the twine to the nails.

Step 5

Add plant trellises, where necessary in the bed, to support peas, beans and other vining vegetables. Add tomato cages to train the tomatoes up. Place poles where they will be needed for the appropriate vegetables.

Step 6

Plant seeds according to the package directions. Pay close attention to the directions of each plant. Plant at the appropriate depth for each type of seed.

Step 7

Take seedlings out of their pots. Gently work the root area of each plant to loosen slightly. Pinch of lower leaves, and leaves that are yellow or brown. Plant seedlings as directed. Be sure the root system for each plant is securely covered with the worked soil.

Step 8

Add more compost, as needed, to build up the soil around seedlings and full-grown plants. Keep root systems covered. Check supports often to ensure they are doing their job.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not use pesticides, fertilizers or other add-ins. They are not necessary if using compost.

Things You'll Need

  • Safety goggles
  • Work gloves
  • 1-by-6 lumber
  • Saw
  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Hand trowel
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Compost
  • Shovel
  • Twine
  • Sandpaper
  • Plant supports
  • Seeds/seedlings


  • Square Foot Gardening
  • Texas A&M University: Building a Raised Bed Garden

Who Can Help

  • Raised Bed Gardening Tips
  • University of Missouri Extension: Making and Using Compost
Keywords: create raised beds, raised beds, raised vegetable beds

About this Author

Shannon Buck is a freelance writer residing in the small town of Milford, Maine. Her work has appeared on several sites including, where she writes The Green Mom column. She has written on many subjects, including home improvement, gardening, low-income living, writing and homeschooling.