In this video, This Old House landscaping contractor Roger Cook helps an elementary school build and plant a raised-bed vegetable garden.
Installing a raised vegetable garden
- Use a circular saw to cut to length 2×10 rough-sawn spruce boards for the frame of the raised bed.
- Screw the boards together using 3-inch galvanized screws.
- Square up the frame by measuring the opposing diagonals from corner to corner. When the two dimensions are equal, the frame is square.
- Temporarily screw a diagonal 1×2 brace across the four corners to hold the raised-bed frame square.
- Use a small sledgehammer to pound a 20-inch-long 1×4 cedar stake against each of the long sides of the raised-bed frame.
- Tap the stakes flush with the top of the 2×10 frame, the secure each stake to the side of the frame using two 1⅝-inch galvanized screws.
- Fill the raised-bed frames with a 50/50 mix of loam and compost. Unscrew and remove the 1×2 braces.
- Use the posthole digger to dig 20-inch-deep holes in the corners at one end of the raised-bed frame. Dig two more holes outside the frame, 4 feet from the first two holes.
- Stand an 8-foot-tall 4×4 cedar post in each hole inside the frame.
- Check the posts for plumb with a level, then drive 3-inch screws through the frame and into the posts.
- Install 4×4 posts into the remaining two holes outside the frame. Check each post for plumb, then backfill around them with the excavated soil.
- Screw a horizontal cedar 2×6 across the posts, connecting the outer pair of posts to the inner pair.
- Next, use 1⅝-inch galvanized screws to fasten cedar lattice panels to the 4×4 posts.
- Spread wood chips between the beds to create pathways.
- Rake the planting beds smooth and flat.
- Plant the vegetable seedlings into the raised beds.
- Water thoroughly, then spread 1 to 2 inches of leaf mulch over the entire bed.