Give your backyard an additional purpose by adding a homemade raised garden bed! We’ll show you how easy it can be to make one and start growing vegetables of your own.
What do you do when you need to grow food at home but the price of wood is competing in the space race? You use FREE wood! It’s back to the basics for us.
Step one might blow your mind, it literally involves… sourcing free wood. Most lumber yards will have discard wood that is downright ugly and warped, which is just perfect for what we are doing. Pallet remains that have been treated with Methyl-Bromide (and thus rejected by the Pinterest moms) will work just fine too. We will be lining the project with garden plastics so that our soil won’t be contaminated; so, don’t fret about the “quality” of the wood. If it’s free and doesn’t smell like rot yet, yer good!
Step two will allow you to release your rage on any pallets you may have acquired. *Cat’s Claw Fasteners LLC is not liable for damages, marital spats, or business dissolutions caused by any choice words articulated during the dismemberment of pallets.
You may find a crowbar helpful, but if things become dicey, there’s no shame in hauling out Granddad’s old $20 skill saw. Try to keep the pieces at least 24 inches in length if possible. Beware of stray nails. Setting out a tarp before the project tends to corral the nails and staples a little better along the way… Take it from us… We’re still pulling nails out of the weeds!
Step three: It’s time to cut the boards into a more uniform shape and place them together to see what you can make with the pieces you have. Ideally, raised garden beds are at least 11–12” if you plan to use the soil below, but in our case, we aimed closer to 18–24” because we didn’t plan on utilizing the soil below. Take into consideration what types of plants you will be tending, as each type will have an ideal root allowance. Most seed packets will indicate root depth, but if all else fails, Dr. Google will certainly have an opinion!
With step four, it’s time for commitment. If you aren’t sweating by now, you must be in the arctic or it’s day three and you’ve returned from your bad-behavior-banishment from step two. The good news is that Cat’s Claw Fasteners have just the right lag screws for the job! 14x2s and 14x3s are most commonly used depending upon the depth of the scrap boards you will be attaching to your homemade raised garden bed. We went with 14x3s because they were collecting dust in the shed, even though they were slightly overkill for the wood. With zero pre-drilling necessary, these lag screws made the job go by pretty quickly. Once your hodgepodge planks have been assembled, double check that the wife still wants the garden bed where she indicated it should go four months ago… Once it’s fully assembled, moving it is a son-of-a-gun, and your college buddies probably won’t show up to risk a spinal fusion over “free” beer.
Step five is to line the monstrosity! If you have an old tarp laying around, feel free to repurpose and put it to work. It will need drainage holes on the bottom, so be sure to include ways for water to escape to prevent root rot. Using a 6–10 Mil garden liner will prevent weeds from infiltrating the bottom of the homemade raised garden bed and prevent the soil from leaking from the sides.
If you encounter random, mildly inconvenient setbacks, like people hoarding garden liner… DO NOT use Scotts standard landscape fabric, even if the cute girl in the garden department swears by it. IT’S A TRAP. Simply go to the painting aisle and grab painting drop plastic from your local cookie-cutter-brick-behemoth. Be sure to include drainage solutions in order to prevent root rot, as suggested above. We say it twice, so you’ll remember!
Next, line the sides of the raised garden bed with garden bed plastic or painting drop-cloth plastic and add soil. We like the cheap Walmart “Beyond Peat” brand, but we aren’t loyal to any particular soil. (Not saying we can’t be bought, though… Hey, Walmart, you know where to find us! We won’t spill the dirt!… Just kidding.)
Step six—get ‘ta plantin’! Now that you’ve hauled 15 bags of soil, you get to haul 15 potted plants and have the exclusive pleasure of planting said plants. We’re no garden experts, yer on yer own from here! Enjoy the freedom of choosing your own vegetables with your new homemade raised garden bed!