How to Build a Raised Vegetable Garden

A block edged raised vegetable garden
A block edged raised vegetable garden (Image: Photo by Jane Gates)

Have you noticed what's happening to the cost of fruits and vegetables? Why not grow your own. If you want to make your edible garden successful, eco-friendly and easy to use, the best way is to build yourself a raised garden.

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Like any project, if you do the preparation right the job always looks better and lasts longer. If you are willing to build a raised vegetable garden rather than trying to make the garden work in the open ground you will benefit in so many ways. You can fill it full of ideal soil and keep water focused where you most need it. You can plant, maintain and harvest without putting out your back. You can design it so it is ornamental in your garden. And you can keep most pests out of your prize edibles without having to resort to poisons or vicious traps.

Always start by choosing a spot where your edibles will get at least 6 hours of full sunshine. Look at the space you have and sketch out a shape that will look attractive (and be reasonably easy to build) in the spot you chose. It's always wise to draw your ideas out on paper first where changes only require an eraser! Design the shape so you will have easy access to all parts of the planter -- including the middle. And make sure you will have access to water.

In areas where gophers and moles cause damage, you can place a sheet of 1/2" hardware cloth or similar material over the bottom of your planter to bar their entry from below. Sides can be made of rot-resistant wood, vinyl, bricks, fitted cement blocks or any other interesting, convenient or decorative material that will form a solid wall.

If burrowing pests like moles and gophers are a problem, line the bottom
If burrowing pests like moles and gophers are a problem, line the bottom

You can fill your planter with nice rich organic soil and you won't have to deal with digging or amending the local soil.

You can then pipe in water inside the planter or slip in a drip irrigation line over the outside walls. By focusing water in this confined space, you'll avoid water run-off and wastage.

Your watering will be concentrated to only where it is most needed.
Your watering will be concentrated to only where it is most needed.

If you prefer lower sides -- 18" to 2' high, you may want to put a decorative fence around the top to deter wild animals or curious pets. If you build it higher, the fencing will be more optional. You can also add trellises or single-sided fences for growing up twiners like beans and peas.

Raised planters are easy to use and to care for. They are also decorative. You can make yours any size or shape you wish. With the cost of vegetables and fruits growing at an astonishing speed, a raised vegetable garden can make it easy to spend less, eat healthier and tastier foods, enjoy the awesome miracle of growing edibles and make it all look great in the design of your landscape! What more could you ask from your garden? For more information on building a raised vegetable garden check the blog

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