Sunday, we added 32 more square feet to our backyard farm! I’ve been on a building spree of late, and I think I’ve finally fininshed for this season, with the addition another 8’x4′ raised cedar bed. I’ve got the construction of these down to a science now. Here are some tips from a guy who has done this the wrong way before:

  • Use high quality screws. They’ll be expensive, but cheaper screws are made of more malleable metal and get stripped out too easily. If you use nice, sturdy, sharp screws, there’s no need to pre-drill holes.
  • Make sure your cedar boards are of high quality. The time you spend at the hardware store picking out straight, non-splintered boards, will ensure your bed goes together more easily. You’d be surprised at how many low quality boards show up among the good ones.
  • When you’re cutting the 4″x4″ posts to size, mark the measurements on all four sides. A normal jigsaw blade doesn’t cut through a 4″x4″, so you’ll need to make several passes, and you want them all to line up.
  • When you’re sealing your bed with linseed oil, wear a heavy glove. I can’t tell you how many splinters I got last year. I still got a few, but they’re nothing compared to the monsters from last year. Seal your bed away from open dirt, and let it dry for a few hours before you put it into place.
  • Take your time and level the patch of dirt where you’re planning to place your raised bed.
  • The best tools for mixing the peat moss, compost, manure and sand in your new bed are your own hands. Using your hands takes a while, but you can break up clumps easily and ensure you don’t have unmixed patches in the corners.
  • Rake the soil in your new bed perfectly flat before you plant anything, and then draw out your plan in the soil before you put anything in the ground.