Building garden boxes for your vegetable garden has many benefits. The soft layer of potting soil in the box provides a buffer for the plants to develop strong roots before they hit the top soil, and the walls retain water. Raised beds are an excellent and easy way to increase the production of your garden, and they are simple to build.
The materials may vary depending on the dimensions of the box you choose to build. Regardless, it is recommended that you use 4"x4" lumber for the posts and two 2x6s or one 2x12 for the walls. Lag screws work best for assembling the box.
First you need to cut the boards to size. The 4x4s will serve as legs to anchor your box in the ground; they should be cut to lengths of about 2 feet. One foot will be buried beneath the ground; the other foot will serve as the corner post for the box. The cedar boards need to be cut to the dimensions of the space you will be using. For instance, if you bought 16-foot 2x6s and you are building a 4x4-foot bed, you will cut the board in quarters. Be sure to measure carefully, otherwise the odd lengths may place unwanted stress on shorter boards and points of connection.
Building the Box
The assembly of the box is fairly straightforward. Each side will be comprised of two 4x4s, one at each side, and two pieces of 2x6 secured on top of one other to the 4x4" corner pieces. When a side is completed, it will be 12" tall. To build a side, place two 4x4s on your work bench or on the ground, spaced apart the length of your 2x6s. Place the first 2x6 on the 4x4 poles so that it is flush with the top of the poles and drive two screws through the board and into the poles. Add the second board in the same fashion, flush against the bottom of the first board. Build the remained of the sides of the box this way.
For a more secure box, you can attach the posts 2" inwards from the edge of the boards on two sides so that you have a 2" lip hanging over the post. The other sides can then be attached inside the lip and screws can be driven through the lip into the intersecting 2x6 for extra durability. Be sure to measure carefully for the lip if you plan on constructing the box this way.
Placing the Box
Once the box is built, dig 12" post holes for the posts exactly where the box will be placed. Place the posts into the holes and fill the holes. Use a rubber hammer to hammer the box evenly into the ground. Now that your box is in place, use a shovel to turn over the top soil and add a 4" layer of potting soil in the box. Once this is done, you are ready to plant.
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