Creating a Raised Garden Bed

By Susan Coogan

Whether you are an experienced gardener or a beginner, raised beds are a neat, efficient and fun way to grow a successful garden. They are easy to maintain and virtually weed free. They are very condusive to intensive gardening, so you can grow a lot of vegetables in a small space.

Raised beds can be any size and made with a variety of materials. See below for pictures of very easy raised garden examples. You want the bed to be at least 12 inches deep to allow for good root growth. You can build your own, or you can buy a ready-made kit that includes all the parts you will need to assemble. Ocean State Job Lot is now carrying a variety of these kits in various sizes and shapes.


1. Location and light:

To get started, you will need to find a location in your yard that is fairly flat and gets at least six hours of full sun daily.

2. Prepare the site: If there is grass growing there, measure the area you will need and mow it down as close to the ground as you can. Be sure the ground is level before placing the frame of the raised bed down. You can line the bottom with a few layers of newspaper.

3. Secure the frame: If using wood boards, secure the corners with nails. But if using materials in pictures below, no fastening is necessary.

4. Fill the frame: You can fill the gardening bed with a mixture of peat moss, composted leaf mold (available free from the town of Rocky Hill), compost and an organic bagged soil mixture made specifically for raised beds. Also add a good organic fertilizer, such as Espoma 10-10-10 mixture.

5. Plant in the frame: Now you are ready to plant any number of your favorite vegetable seeds or plants. Just be sure to leave enough space between plants to give them plenty of room to grow and spread. Also, keep in mind that raised beds dry out more quickly than garden beds, so be sure to water them frequently.

Easy Raised Bed Examples

Kiddie Pool Raised Bed

Do you have an old leaky kiddie pool hanging around? It's perfect for a raised bed!
Simply place it in a sunny spot, poke some drain holes in the bottom, and fill with soil.
You are ready to plant!

Cinder Blocks Raised Bed

If you have extra cinder blocks, you can make a very simple edging for a raised bed.
The sides don't even need to be straight or perfectly level.
As long as the center holds soil, you are ready to plant!
From Alicia's garden.

Stones or Pavers Raised Bed

Use extra stones or pavers from a project to create a border for a raised bed.
This is a perfect solution for a spot not quite level.

Garden Trays Raised Bed

For the rest of the season on this site, you will be looking at this raised bed from Alicia's demonstration garden plot.
Anything with sides can be used as a border for a raised bed. Here, Alicia had some extra garden trays for edging.
As long as the center holds soil, you are ready to plant!