Building a(nother) bed

This week is Spring Break for the undergraduates here, but this holiday means nothing if you are a grad student. Basically, Spring Break is a glorious week void of undergraduates and full of catching up on presentations, projects, programming, and other research.

After spending the day in lab yesterday, I decided to pick up some lumber from the hardware store and make a small raised vegetable/herb garden. I really enjoy seeing things grow, and growing plants from seed is instant gratification. Well, almost.

The bed was super easy to make, and seems like it will hold up for years to come. I don’t have too much land on which to put it, so I made it 5 ft x 3 ft… the perfect size for a summer salad!

If you decide to make one, you’ll need:

32 – 3.5 inch #10 decking screws (rust free type)
4 – 16 inch 4×4 posts
4 – 3 foot long 2×6 boards
4 – 5 foot long 2×6 boards
Power drillIf you want to go the cheap route, pine is a good option, to splurge and have a longer lasting bed, cedar is the way to go. If you plan on using this for food you intend on eating, don’t use treated pine, as harmful chemicals can leach from the wood into the soil.

First, using 2 screws on each side for each board, attach the 3 foot long 2x6s to the 4×4 posts. Do this again on the other side. After this, attach the 5 ft. long boards perpendicular to the 3 ft. long boards to the 4x4s.

Stack on another layer of boards in the same manner and turn right side up.

The ‘legs’ of the bed are what anchor the bed to the ground. Dig 4 holes in the ground roughly 5-6 inches deep and position the bed so that the wooden boards are flush with the soil.

Since I’ll be planting vegetables that I know moles/gophers/rabbits will enjoy, I lined the bottom of the bed with a sheet of 1/4 inch hardware cloth to keep the buggers from crawling up.

This morning, I finally went back to the store to buy some topsoil to fill it up.
Hopefully I begin to see some seedlings hatch into yummy lettuce/arugula/fennel etc.

Looks like my spring break is already off to a productive and fun start!-P

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