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SFG : Construction of the Square Foot Gardening Raised Beds

So while the snow is taking it’s time to disappear outside and the temperatures are sub-zero, I have been busying myself inside with the construction of the Square Foot Gardening Raised Beds. Over the past few months I have been collecting odd bits and pieces of scrap wood that I have spotted on my travels. As I mentioned in a prior post, “Getting the Lay of the Land“, I will be using virgin, untreated wood for the construction of the actual beds to preclude chemical leaching, especially considering I do not know the history of the scrap wood I have acquired. Despite the apparent removal of arsenic-containing chemicals from pressure-treated wood, I prefer the untreated route so I know for sure that the food I am giving my family is safe. Of course this means that the raised beds will rot significantly faster, but I’m still confident of getting at least 5-6 years out of them.

 

nb. the pictures have been edited (very roughly !) to blur out some of the distracting backgrounds.

 

Step 1. Build the Sides…

Square foot garden raised bed sides

Using four pieces of 1″ x 8″ x 48″, I made a box which will form the sides of the raised bed. As you can see from the picture, two of the pieces are placed on top of the supporting sides so the finished box will not be exactly 48″ x 48″, but it will be close enough and will keep the job simple. Three holes were drilled through the top into each upright and #10 x 2″ stainless steel screws inserted. Keep in mind that the big box stores will usually cut the wood to size for you, which can be a big time-saver.

Square foot garden raised bed joint

 

Step 2. Covering the Base with Weedblock…

 

The next step is to cover the base of the box with weedblock. Due to the narrow width of the roll, two runs of material were required. The material was attached with a staple gun…

Square foot garden raised beds weedblock

Square foot garden raised bed weedblocks 2

If you plan on placing the beds directly on the ground then I have good news…you’re finished !

Square foot garden raised bed weedblocks 3

Square foot garden raised bed weedblocks 4

 

My plan is to lift the beds off the ground, so I need to add additional support to the base without impacting drainage. I also need to build legs to elevate the beds.

 

Step 3. Supporting the Base…

 

First measure the distance between the two sides of the box. Using 1″ x 3″ x your measured box width strips, attach the base support pieces…

Square foot garden raised bed supportSquare foot garden raised bed supports 2

Next I added cross-supports [I also added an extra upright as I had the wood spare]…

 

Square foot garden raised beds cross-supportThe cross-supports are simple studs.

 

Step 4. Elevating the bed…

 

Using the scrap I had on hand, I made four legs (for each box) and attached them together to create a strong, and hopefully very stable, foundation that will sit on the ground and support the weight of the square foot gardening bed above. The leg height is 12″ and my plan includes planting companion plants and flowers in front of the box that will grow up and cover the empty space between the ground and the bed.

Square foot garden raised beds legsSquare foot garden raised beds legs 2

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