DIY Gardening: Build Your Own Raised Beds


AMERICANS ARE BEGINNING to rediscover the benefits of growing herbs and vegetables at home, where they know exactly what’s going into them. You can enjoy both city living and farm-style self-sustenance with a raised kitchen garden bed. Matt Kokenes of Microfarm Organic Gardens sells and maintains raised beds for customers. His designs call for cedar, one of the hardiest woods, untreated with chemicals. Build your own, or purchase one prebuilt and pre-filled from Microfarm Organic Gardens.

4 corner posts, 4”x4”x16” untreated cedar
4 end boards, 1”x8”x46” untreated cedar
4 side boards, 1”x8”x96” untreated cedar
2 end cap boards, mitered at 45 degrees at each end, 1”x6”x48” untreated cedar
2 side cap boards, mitered at 45 degrees at each end, 1”x6”x96” untreated cedar
2 stakes, each cut to a point on one end, 2”x4”x24” untreated cedar
2” exterior deck screws
Non-toxic wood glue
Organic soil
Power drill

Step 1: Assemble the ends of the bed. Lay two inner corner supports on a flat surface and top with wood glue. Lay two end boards on top, placing the nicer sides facing out. Adjust the edges so that the end pieces align with the edges of the corner supports. Repeat with remaining corner supports and end pieces. 

Step 2: Using a power drill, predrill holes on each side, about two inches apart, centered above the corner support. Screw end pieces into the corner supports.

Step 3: Stand up the end pieces so that the corner supports are parallel to the ground. Add wood glue to the top sides of the corner supports. Lay the end boards lengthwise across the top, making sure the edges of the boards align with the edges of the corner supports and placing the better side out. Predrill the holes. 

Step 4: Using the predrilled holes, attach the tops. Flip the bed over and repeat to attach the remaining edge. 

Step 5: Place the perimeter of the garden bed in the space you want it. Use a level to make sure the top of the bed is even, adding or removing dirt below it as needed to adjust. 

Step 6: Place the stakes against the inside of the long side of the garden bed, then hammer them into the ground until the top is even with the bed. The stakes will help reinforce the sides. Predrill holes into the outer board, then attach the stakes using deck screws.

Step 7: Add wood glue along the top edge of the bed and on the inner corner supports. Set the cover pieces on top of the wood glue, ensuring they’re flush at the corners and aligned with the edges of the bed base. Predrill two holes on each mitered edge, ensuring the drill holes are above the corner supports, then attach with screws. 

Step 8: Fill with organic soil, then plant your garden. Good choices for beginners are tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, collards, and kale.