• In this video, This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook helps a homeowner build and plant a raised-bed chile-pepper garden.

    Steps:
    1. Remove the gravel to expose an area of ground that's at least 4 feet larger than the proposed raised bed.
    2. Build the raised-bed planter using redwood 2x10s.
    3. Fasten the frame together with 3-inch deck screws.
    4. Install vertical 2x4 supports to the inside of the bottom frame. Space the supports 2 feet apart, then add a second 2x10 frame to create an 18½-inch-tall raised bed.
    5. Fill the bed to within 3 inches of the top with a mixture of sandy loam and compost.
    6. Rake the soil smooth, then install a drip-irrigation system. Space the drip-tape strips about 12 inches apart, and extend them the entire length of the raised bed.
    7. Use a cultivator to dig a hole for each chile plant deep enough to bury the entire root ball.
    8. Space the plants 12 inches apart, and build up a mound of soil around the base of each plant.
    9. Also plant tomatoes and basil in the raised bed.
    10. Immediately after planting the last plant turn on the water to the drip irrigation system.
    11. Spread 2 inches of alfalfa hay mulch over the bare soil between the plants.
    12. Cover the ground around the outside of the raised bed with 3 inches of pine-bark mulch.
    • Difficulty: Easy
      Only basic carpentry skills required
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      Tools List

      • metal garden rake
        Garden rake
      • pointed shovel
        Shovel
      • drill
        Cordless drill
      • wheelbarrow
        Wheelbarrow
      • hand cultivator
        Three-tine cultivator, to dig planting holes

      Shopping List

      Redwood 2x10s and 2x4s, for raised-bed frame

      3-inch deck screws

      Sandy loam and compost, mixed to create planting soil

      Drip-irrigation system, to water planting bed

      Alfalfa hay mulch, for covering the bare soil

      Pine-bark mulch, to cover the ground around the outside of the raised bed