18 In Uncategorized

How to Build a Vegetable Garden Using Raised Beds

If you’re thinking about building a vegetable garden this year, raised beds are one of the best ways I know of to start a vegetable garden. Instead of renting a rototiller or hand-digging the soil, adding amendments and turning it all under to create a good garden bed, you start with the best soil mixture you can afford. The growing season may be a little longer, as I’ve found that raised beds tend to hold heat better than ground-level beds. You can place trellis, hoops and supports over the bed to grow crops such as squash, cucumbers, vine-grown beans, peas, and other similar crops.


Party - Jeanne Grunert - Raised Bed Garden

Our raised bed garden is big, but you can make a small one that is productive.

Drawbacks to Raised Bed Gardening

Are there any drawbacks to using raised beds? A few. The biggest drawback is the cost. No matter how you look at it, you have to purchase the lumber or the kits to build the beds; you have to buy bags of soil and compost, or at least have plenty of good-quality soil trucked into the garden. You can’t skimp on soil. Good soil grows good vegetables. An investment in soil is an investment in the future of your garden.

A friend of mine just messaged me over the weekend to tell me that her husband brought home the materials for her first raised bed garden – over $1,000 in lumber and supplies. It’s a huge investment for their large family, but one that she thinks will pay off in the dividends of fresh vegetables and herbs. I think so, too.

Money-Saving Benefits

Over the years, readers of this blog may remember that I’ve often paused to calculate the savings gleaned from my garden. One year, I raised over 70 pounds of sweet potatoes, and calculated that at the going rate of $1 to $2 per pound for organic sweet potatoes, my $16 investment in started plants yielded an impressive return of $120+ dollars (again, estimated, depending on how it’s calculated.)  Amortizing the cost of the garden infrastructure, such as the lumber, nails or screws, and soil over the years the garden produces edible may make you feel better at the significant investment in building a raised bed garden.

Can you build beds cheaply? Yes! I’ve read articles on frugal gardening where people have used old truck tires to grow potatoes, or pallets with the interior slats taken out and stacked to make a square bed. I’m sure that with a little ingenuity, you can find a way to build raised beds for a fraction of the cost that I spent. I would never skimp on my soil, but saving money in other areas may be worthwhile.

Spring Is Almost Here: Start Your Vegetable Garden

Here at Seven Oaks, we’ve finished replacing the second of three untreated lumber raised beds in the vegetable garden. We refilled it with soil, and in about a week or two, we will be ordering mulch by the truckload for the perennial garden and the fruit trees. For the vegetable garden, I’ll be adding bagged compost; I want to gather enough cow manure, but didn’t get started early enough this year calling my neighbor who raised black Angus cows to ask permission to gather manure, which hasn’t left me with enough time allow it to compost. So it’s off to the garden center I go to buy bagged manure. My own compost pile, although quite full, cannot produce enough to feed the hungry plants in the garden.

Soon the asparagus will emerge, a visible and yes, quite tasty reminder that spring is here. Given that today, March 17th, I awoke to sleet and gray skies, spring can’t come soon enough.

organic tomatoes
Last year’s tomatoes.

How to Build a Raised Vegetable Garden: The Gardening Series on Seven Oaks

Below is a list of articles I’ve written on building raised vegetable gardens. There are step-by-step instructions offered here. You may also wish to check with your County Cooperative Extension office for more information, building plans, and soil tests.

I also wrote a book on raised bed vegetable gardening! It is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle.

You Might Also Like

  • Lauren @ DC Healthy Bites
    March 19, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    My condo association put in raised beds that I’ve been using for several years now. The wood is beginning to warp and weeds are coming through all along the perimeter. I don’t think they installed them the recommended way or used the right materials. We are reviewing ways to replace them so your post is perfectly timed. Thank you for sharing your resources!

  • Organic Garden | Insect Control
    September 21, 2015 at 9:02 pm

    […] green beans started off so promising this year. They’re one of the few crops I can grow in my raised bed vegetable garden without worrying about insects, fungus, and every other catastrophe known to organic gardeners. […]

  • Home Matters Linky Party #78 - Love More Live Blessed
    March 17, 2016 at 11:50 pm

    […] Jeanne shows us How-To Build A Raised-Bed Vegetable Garden […]

  • Home Matters Party - Tidbits of Experience - Tidbits of Experience
    March 18, 2016 at 12:01 am

    […] Jeanne shows us How-To Build A Raised-Bed Vegetable Garden […]

  • Home Matters Linky Party #78 - TigerStrypes Blog
    March 18, 2016 at 12:02 am

    […] Jeanne shows us How-To Build A Raised-Bed Vegetable Garden […]

  • Home Matters Linky Party #78 - Home and Garden Joy
    March 18, 2016 at 12:03 am

    […] Jeanne shows us How-To Build A Raised-Bed Vegetable Garden […]

  • Home Matters Linky Party #78 - Our Crafty Mom
    March 18, 2016 at 12:15 am

    […] Jeanne shows us How-To Build A Raised-Bed Vegetable Garden […]

  • Home Matters Linky Party #78 « Don't Call me Supermom
    March 18, 2016 at 8:28 am

    […] Jeanne shows us How-To Build A Raised-Bed Vegetable Garden […]

  • Sahana
    March 18, 2016 at 7:06 pm

    Those are some great advice, Jeanne. Home grown vegetables are the best.Thank you for sharing your knowledge on raised bed gardening.

  • Jamie
    March 19, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    Great tips!! The soil at my home is like clay, so we have to do raised beds. It works great! #HomeMattersParty

  • Crystal
    March 19, 2016 at 9:40 pm

    I really want to do herbs and simple to grow veggies this year. We are renting so I don’t think we can do a raised garden, so I’m looking into growing things out of pots. Can’t wait to own so I can plant a full garden! Pinning for later!

    • Jeanne
      March 21, 2016 at 2:33 pm

      You can grow quite a lot in pots and containers. I gardened for 8 years in an apartment with only a patio and about 8 planters. You can grow tomatoes, peppers and more. I even grew melons!

  • Michelle James
    March 21, 2016 at 9:26 pm

    Such a great post! I’ll have to share some photos of my Dad’s garden with you. I am really proud of him. He has about 10 raised beds & a little farm with chickens, rabbits, etc. I am learning so much from you! #HomeMattersParty

  • Lorelai @ Life With Lorelai
    March 21, 2016 at 10:46 pm

    Spring is here and we are getting ready to do battle in the yard… herbs and veggies are definitely on our list. These are great tips. Our roses and clivias are already blooming like crazy! So pretty. 🙂

    Life With Lorelai

  • Rachel
    March 24, 2016 at 5:56 pm

    Isn’t another drawback of a raised bed the more frequent necessity of watering? I have two herb garden planters on stilts and they need lots of water. I grew a garden with my mom all my growing up years but it was huge, no raised planters there!

  • Soaker Hoses for the Vegetable Garden - Home and Garden Joy
    May 30, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    […] chose to use soaker hoses in the raised bed vegetable garden this year, and so far we think it’s going to pay off in several ways. What’s a soaker […]

  • Raised Bed Vegetable Garden Fall Garden Tasks - Home Garden Joy
    November 10, 2016 at 9:33 am

    […] of the benefits of raised bed vegetable gardens is that they tend to warm up faster in the spring, and stay warmer in the fall. This means that you […]

  • Pathways for a Raised Bed Vegetable Garden – Home Garden Joy
    November 2, 2017 at 11:30 am

    […] How to Build a Garden Using Raised Beds […]