With all this talk of “going back to the basics”, it makes sense that some things might not go ALL the way back to where they began… Thus, the raised garden bed has become a trend common to those who would like to leave the hustle of the city life and return to country roots, but with less struggle. Bringing the garden to the gardener makes it easier to keep the plants weeded, fed and maintained, so it would make sense that just about everyone would want a raised garden bed, or two, or ten! Fortunately, creating a raised garden bed on a budget is doable, albeit a bit more difficult than buying a raised bed outright.
In this blog, we will explore the basics of needed materials, and on the next blog, we will meet up again to show you how we built the above “free wood” saphead raised garden bed!
Let’s start from scratch. What exactly incorporates a raised bed? … While there are more than a handful of soil theories on the subject of “how to properly raise a particular / given plant,” the general idea is to contain and build up good soil. The three most common types of material to create the “containment walls” are: wood, treated metal, and plastic. While there are more stylistic “dirt hill” versions from peoples like the Germans, my heritage is far enough removed from the lot that I won’t offend the distant cousins with poor pronunciation/ spelling of the original word. Today, we will be focusing on the FREE aspect, free wood to be more specific!
After the 2020 plague season kicked off a colossal increase in lumber prices, it’s no wonder folks have been looking for affordable options to grow their government-interference free vegetables in the back yard. Even though lumber prices have adjusted to-date, there is some room for improvement, and thus; the question remains… Can you build it out of your wife’s hoarded project pallets? Of course, friends, you surely can. It may cost you your sanity, but it is doable.
First thing is first- where should you look for free lumber? The contractor across the street might get a little litigious if you walk off with the pile that “looks free,” but did you know that many lumber yards have “free piles?” You do now! While the shapes and sizes of the lot will be quite varied, you might find it an attainable goal to work with free lumber if you have a long enough “brace board”. Remember, the trifecta of cost, time, and quality are all at play and if you want something for nothing, be prepared to give up either quality or time to attain it! If you are in a hurry, this project may well not suit you.
Once you scrounge around the local lumber yards, local businesses that accept freight commonly will have pallets that are for free, like parts stores and hardware stores such as ACE hardware. Keep in mind that identifying treated vs. untreated pallets can be tricky, and treated pallets have the probability of leeching into the soil. (If you are dead set on pushing through to use the questionable old pallets in the back yard, please line them with garden bed liner?! Thanks…) Check HERE: to learn more about pressure treated wood if you would like to learn more on the topic!
While you’re over at the local ACE hardware, look over the soil options and the cubic feet each bag will cover. It’s ok to get a few bags of soil over at Walmart as well, as long as the general quality is ok. We will get into specifics on the next blog, but for now you just want to be mindful of your options. When building the final mismatch structure, you will need to know how many cubic feet of soil and other matter you will need to fill the raised bed.
Finally, be sure to order and use Cat’s Claw lag screws! We might be a little biased in saying that they’re the best, but why else are you reading our blog, this far down? ;) Depending on the thickness of the free wood you are able to source, you will likely need a 14 x3 to a 15 x 4 to effectively construct your final project.
See you later for part 2!
Toby-Jeanne is the Cat’s Claw Queen, who infrequently gets roped into writing articles due to her crabby nature while word-smithing. She is a plant enthusiast, though none of her indoor plants have survived to adulthood. Fortunately, Ronnie the Cat’s Claw Cat is a little less picky about sunlight and watering schedules, so Toby-Jeanne has managed to keep him on the Cat’s Claw payroll since day 1. If you have any ideas or questions, forward them to Chava@catsclawfasteners.com because we do not even pretend Toby-Jeanne is good about remembering to answer emails. Don’t forget to check out our other fencing related blogs here and make sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube!