Hey guys, I’m back again ready to tell you about some of the ways you can participate in a little homesteading with your suburban home. Although there are many things we can’t do with our 0.23 acre plot within city limits (raise chickens, get goats, plant crops) there is one big thing we can do, and that is working with what we have by building a raised bed garden.
Although we have a small backyard, we can get some homesteading knowledge under our belt before we get some acreage and start our small farm and as you all know, we have a hefty goal of working the land we have.
The easiest way to start getting your feet wet is by building and planting your own raised bed garden. We built our garden in August 2017 thinking we wouldn’t be able to plant much this first season and boy were we wrong. We planted spinach, kale, mustard greens, beans, onion, dill, and lettuce; you would not imagine how many greens we had this year. But I’m getting ahead of myself, this post is about how to build your own backyard raised bed garden. And let me tell you all, it is way easier than you would think.
So we will start with the supplies you will need to build this garden for all you DIY-ers out there.
- screws and drill
- chicken wire
- two 4-foot long 2×6’s – untreated
- two 8-foot long 2×6’s – untreated
- topsoil/compost mix- 1/4 bucket or more
- support posts – 4 to 6
- seeds or starts
Not much, right? Besides the topsoil/compost mix and the seeds or starts, we actually already had all these materials on hand.
Here’s the easy steps we followed to create our own raised-bed garden.
- Pick your ideal location for what you want to plant. You want a spot that will provide the amount of sunlight required for what you want to grow. Take a look at this map to determine your zone and what kind of plants you can grow. Depending on what you want to plant you will need to consider the best place on your property.
- Assemble your frame. This is where your drill comes into play. After laying out your 4 2×6’s, drill pilot holes where you plan to attach your 4-foot boards to your 8-foot boards. Once your holes are lined up, get to attaching your boards with screws. At this time you can attach your support posts in the corners to make a sturdier frame. An extra set of support posts halfway along the 8 foot 2X6’s on either side will also secure your frame. You can also wait to install these support posts until after the frame is installed on the ground.
- Get your shovel and start marking out your dimensions. After picking out the perfect spot in your yard for your raised bed garden, start marking out the locations with your shovel. Don’t just start digging, go ahead and mark it out to be sure your dimensions are correct and your placement is straight. Sue a tape measure or even the 2X6’s themselves to ensure you have marked the area properly.
- Once you have checked your measurements get to digging. When we installed our raised bed we chose to dig down into the ground about 3-4 inches. This allows the topsoil to keep a warmer temperature when the nights get colder and keeps you from overfilling the structure. Even if you choose not to set the garden deeper like we did, you still need to remove the layer of grass and get to the topsoil.
- Place your bed into the topsoil pit you’ve prepped and install gardening cloth. You can also use wire mesh cloth, but this will not cut back on weed growth.
- If you haven’t already, you will now need to install your support posts to ensure your frame is strong and square.
- Once you are all installed, the fun part begins. Now you can fill up your raised-bed with topsoil.
- Now it’s just a matter of planting what you want to grow. This year we have planted peppers, tomatoes, cabbage, beans, lettuce, and onions. What will you grow?
- We added some chicken wire around the garden to prevent bunnies from chewing our lettuce. It worked really well.
Now just sit back and watch the food grow before your eyes. You will be so thrilled when those first few sprouts show up. So what do you plan on growing in your garden? Leave a comment below, we just may want to exchange seeds!