How to create a Raised Bed Garden

Raised Bed Garden | Garden DIY | The Fresh Exchange

Up to this point, we have mostly been focused on our large 40’x15′ garden plot. However today we are going to talk about our Raised Bed Garden. Which as many of you have mentioned is a future dream, but not a current reality. Meaning you live in the city, don’t have enough yard space, or just feel totally overwhelmed by the thought of 600sqft. of veg heaven. Honestly, without Megan taking the lead in the garden I would feel that way too.

So today I’ll show you how to set up and prep the soil for a raised garden bed. We got a raised bed kit, but you should be able to put together something pretty similar. It’s only 5’x3′ so really almost any of us can manage it, and find the room for it. There are tons of DIY kits online if that’s the path you want to go.

Raised Bed Garden | Garden DIY | The Fresh ExchangeRaised Bed Garden | Garden DIY | The Fresh ExchangeRaised Bed Garden | Garden DIY | The Fresh Exchange

The whole kit comes in a cardboard box (save the cardboard box it will be used later) and has everything you’ll need to build out the kit, except for wrenches which if you don’t have a set of wrenches you need to check that off the list immediately. You can find a basic set at any local hardware store or even Target. There is no base to this kit, it is only side walls and the instructions are pretty easy. Side note, your hands will get manly and you might need an old man beer to drink. I find a Miller High Life does the trick but I would recommend checking in with your grandpa or grumpy old neighbor if you need assistance in beer selection.

Raised Bed Garden | Garden DIY | The Fresh Exchange

Once you have the corners lined up, tighten them 75% of the way leaving some room for flexibility. Once you have all four corners connected you can go head and tighten the corners down.

Raised Bed Garden | Garden DIY | The Fresh Exchange

Once you get the kit built it’s time to get the soil ready. The kit is shipped in a cardboard box which we used as the base layer. This layer helps build the base barrier from the grass underneath. If you are in a city and placing it on cement there is no need for creating this barrier if you do not want to. You can instead place it on top of a flat large piece of wood so it is easy to move and clean up after if you choose to move it. Then we used a layer of mulch to provide an added weed barrier. Also, the mulch will retain moisture that will be good to make waterings last longer and create a more real in the ground experience for your plants. Then on top of the mulch add a layer of fertilizer, whether that is manure, peat moss, or compost. We added in Cow Manure and Peat Moss to keep a good realistic mix. Lastly, add in your soil and fill it just below the brim. For this raised bed we used 7 bags.

Raised Bed Garden | Garden DIY | The Fresh Exchange

Raised Bed Garden | Garden DIY | The Fresh Exchange

Raised Bed Garden | Garden DIY | The Fresh Exchange

Then you are done. Super easy and super portable. At the end of the season, you can break the kit down and put it away until the next year.

This was our way, I’m sure there are many more ways to prep a raised bed for planting so please give tips or ask questions.


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  1. The garden looks great! We may be too late this year to get started but I’m bookmarking the Clyde Oak kit for next year.

    Ouch – that sounds like a pretty gnarly injury, hope your road to recovery is speedy!

  2. That cedar bed is so gorgeous and masculine at the same time. I built my own larger bed this year but I would definitely recommend this kit to my friends in apartments/condos with balconies and rooftop decks. 60 stitches solidifies your man card for at least the rest of the year, glad you’re doing well!

  3. Ausgezeichnet Tipps. Wirklich nützliche Sachen. Nie hatte eine Idee, über diese, wird für mehr solcher informativen Beiträge von Ihrer Seite aussehen. Good job … Keep it up.

    1. Cardboard, or a heavy layer of newspaper, will kill that nut grass when laid over it. Once it does that job, it eventually breaks down and adds to the soil. I try to keep everything natural…Pete

  4. So exciting. Looks like something I could build and garden but what about drainage? Standing water is no good. do you drill holes in the bottom?

  5. I’m setting up a second raised garden bed in my backyard. It measures 120cm x 120cm x 30cm. How much soil would I need excluding mulch ?

  6. This is great info, but if you are on soil that is not good to grow plants because of CONTAMINANTS, then you need to add three more layers to this mix.
    1 ground cloth
    2 large rock
    3 ground cloth
    4 small rock for dranage
    5 ground cloth or the card board box
    then follow the rest of the directions from above

  7. If you bury mulch it will use up the nitrogen in your soil to break down. You can use wood chips as mulch in a garden but they should be on top of THe SOIL not MIxed in.

  8. It really was very helpful. I decided some years back to consider a raised garden after being unfortunate in raising vegetable gardens. Inorder not to give up, I decided on this instead. My desire is high right now because the demostration showed were so eady. Thank you, Helen Batts

  9. I loved your post on how to build a raised bed and filling it!! We are working on the idea to do raised beds. can you send pictures and blog how this process turned out with your plants? What plants did plant? Thank you again

  10. Thank you for this simpler way of filling the raised bed. I have looked at other ways to fill mine, and yours is more doable, and I can do it with mulch and some soil I already have rather than having to wait until I accumulate everything for the layering. Thank you.