Our Raised Beds

Monday, April 30, 2012
I get a lot of questions on how we constructed our raised beds. I am not the gardener in the family but I did help with building of them so I'll do my best to explain how it was done. Everyone's garden needs are different so this is not a DIY, but will hopefully give you some ideas and answer any questions that you may have about our gardens.

We chose to garden in raised beds for a number of reasons including the fact that our soil isn't great, we have flood irrigation, and it's easier on our backs. We have two beds. One constructed of redwood and the other of pine. The redwood holds up better (and looks gorgeous) but the pine for the second bed was cheaper so we went with it. 

We will soon have a third garden (as seen below). Remember that ridiculously wonky, stapled together chicken coop that we bought for the new girls? It's absolutely useless to use as a coop so we are going to take out some of the doors and windows and plant gourds in there. Our hope is that the gourds will grow up, around, and over the coop. Not sure if it will work but it will be super cool if it does.

Anyhow, each of our raised beds are built from (4) 2x6's on each side with wooden posts on each end and in the middle (6 posts total for each bed). 

We have 4 pieces of rebar secured to the sides of the garden and running over the top of each bed. A few people have asked me if it's a watering system - it's not. We use the rebar as a way to hold up the netting to keep the chickens and dogs out and as a place for us to hang our shade cloth in the summer (which we have just put up for the season) and our freeze cloth in the winter.

For our soil, we bought truckloads of organic compost from Singh Farms in Scottsdale. I can't recommend this place enough for local friends. It is a hidden gem! Since our gardens are fairly high and large, we secured the sides so they don't blow out. We took metal cable and secured it around the two posts in the middle of each bed.

For watering, we dug a small trench from the closest water source and ran pipe to each garden. We have drip irrigation tubing snaking through the gardens and have it set on a timer. We don't have to worry about the watering much except when it gets too hot - then we just increase our watering times.

As you can see, the chickens are constantly hanging around the garden so it's essential for us to have netting in place to keep them out. The netting is available at local hardware stores and really, it's hardly noticeable (you can see it in the photo above). We have small little hooks screwed around the beds to secure the netting in place at the bottom - otherwise the girls would squeeze their way up and in.

The gardens are a real labor of love and my mom spends countless hours out there each week tending to them and cultivating them. Her efforts are greatly appreciated as we have fresh veggies, herbs, and flowers daily.

Hopefully this answers some of your questions about our gardens. If not, let me know!


Colleen said...

Your gardens are beautiful. We are attempting two small raised beds this year. Last years attempt was only semi-successful so some changes were made and we are feeling optimistic. Your photos are an inspiration to get out and plant.

Allison Waken said...

I love them so much! Definitely going to check out Singh Farms.

Grace said...

@colleen, thank you so much. I always thought gardening was easy but man, was I wrong. There is so much trial and error involved with everything from soil to plant varieties to pest control but the rewards make it all so worth it. Best of luck to you and your beds!

@allison, Singh Farms is so AMAZING!!! You will absolutely forget you're in the desert. Their gardens are so lush and beautiful and they have the most incredible farmer's market. They don't have a website but you can find them on facebook.

elise said...

So gorgeous Grace!
i'm jealous- we are supposed to have a garden this year, but um.... its practically june with nothing done! we have no idea what we are doing:O)

Grace said...

There's always next year, Elise! We don't really know what we're doing all that much either - it's a lot of trial and error to figure out what works but that's half the fun.

ErrerNavyWife said...

This is one of the most pretty garden beds I've seen in a long time. I might take your rebarb idea and implement it in our garden.

Unknown said...

Very nicely done....nice explanations and pics.
I have a few curious questions: Is that a 10ft rebar?
How did you bend it so precisely?
In the top section did you reinforce the rebar with additional support? Could you pls. post some close up pics of the top section?
What kind of net is that?

Grace said...

@unknown, Thank you! Yes, that is 10 foot rebar. I asked my husband the best way to do it and he said he did it by hand. He suggested drawing a curve in chalk on the driveway or sidewalk and using that as a guide so that all of your curves are the same. On the top, the two sides of rebar overlap and are held together by wire that we twisted around them every few inches. The netting is from the local hardware store - you can find it in the nursery section as it's primarily used to keep birds out of trees. Hope this helps! Please let me know if you have any more questions.

Unknown said...

Thanks for posting about your process and experience. I found you based on searching by raised bed with flood irrigation. We too have our lot irrigated (Once/month in winter and 2x/month in summer. Was hoping having a bed with irriagion lapping against it semi-regularly isn't a problem. Does it impact your watering strategy and how do you adjust? Does the flood irrigation help or create issues? Thanks!!

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