How to Make a Raised Vegetable Bed

Overview

A raised vegetable bed helps plant growth by creating a foundation of nutrient-rich soil. It also promotes more effective drainage than ground soil typically can. As the name implies, a raised vegetable bed begins above ground level and is held in place by an enclosure. Building a raised vegetable bed in your yard can increase your chances of growing a successful vegetable crop, and it is fairly simple to do.

Step 1

Determine how big you would like the raised vegetable bed to be. If you are planting only a few vegetables, you may need only a 2-by-2 foot enclosure. If you are planting an entire garden, you may need a large enclosure, such as 10-by-12 feet.

Step 2

Build the enclosure for your raised vegetable bed. To build a simple enclosure, you can either nail four wood planks together into a square or rectangle, or stack rocks on top of each other to create walls. The enclosure needs to be about 18 inches high to accommodate all of the necessary layers of the raised vegetable bed.

Step 3

Cover the ground inside the vegetable bed enclosure with newspaper until the newspaper is 10 to 12 sheets thick. Spray the newspaper with a garden hose until the paper is wet all the way through.

Step 4

Add peat moss over top of the newspaper layer. Use a rake or pitchfork to spread the peat moss until it is roughly 2 inches thick.

Step 5

Layer additional organic materials, such as shredded leaves, food scraps, manure and mulch, over the top of the peat moss. To create the most nutrient-rich soil, use several different types of organic matter. Continue to layer organic materials until the combined layers are 12 inches thick.

Step 6

Water the raised vegetable bed just until it's moist once a week. Do not water the bed during freezing temperatures, though, as this can damage the organic matter.

Step 7

Leave the raised vegetable bed undisturbed for several months aside from the weekly watering. The organic matter layered in the raised bed will naturally decompose until it is roughly even with the original soil, leaving behind a nourishing soil perfect for growing vegetables.

Things You'll Need

  • Wood planks or rocks
  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Newspaper
  • Garden hose
  • Peat moss
  • Organic matter
  • Rake or pitchfork

References

  • Flower Gardening Made Easy: Good Soil Preparation for a Successful Garden
  • No Dig Vegetable Garden: Raised Vegetable Garden
Keywords: raised vegetable garden, nutrient-rich soil, organic soil

About this Author

Alexis Lawrence is a freelance writer, filmmaker and photographer with extensive experience in digital video, book publishing and graphic design. An avid traveler, Lawrence has visited at least 10 cities on each inhabitable continent. She has attended several universities and holds a Bachelor of Science in English.