How To Build and Plant a Raised Vegetable Garden in 3 Hours
Everyone's excited to get outside and plant. Build this raised garden bed kit with a greenhouse cover and you can start earlier than ever!
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A few hours
Gardeners are anxious to get out in the garden. A raised bed makes that possible earlier in spring — especially when it has its own greenhouse cover. At waist height, this planter box is easy to access, yet thieving rabbits don't have it so easy. And because it comes with a self-watering system, irrigation is simple, too. The best part? You can be up and running in a few hours.
Project step-by-step (14)
Laying Out the Kit
This elevated planter box from Gardeners Supply Company includes rot-resistant cedar boards plus metal brackets, legs and screws. To simplify assembly, group matching parts together. The kit can be assembled by one person, but it will go together easier with two.
Two Bottom Options
The standard planter box comes with a solid bottom where cedar boards are dropped in place and covered with landscape fabric. With a self-watering planter box, the boards are replaced with a reservoir system that supplies extra moisture to plants to extend the time between waterings. It is also available at an extra cost with eco-friendly stain in two colors.
Luke Miller for Family Handyman
The Self-Watering System
The bottom of the self-watering planter box is lined by four five-gallon reservoirs. The reservoirs are linked with pliable plastic tubing, allowing you to fill all four from one intake.
Connecting the Reservoirs
To connect the reservoirs with the plastic tubing, soak each end in hot water for 30 seconds. This makes the ends more pliable and easier to fit around the reservoir outlet.
How the Reservoir Works
The reservoir top has slotted protrusions, or channels. Once in place, these channels are filled with soil mix that is then brought in contact with water in the reservoir. There is less need for top watering, and therefore less evaporation.
Make Room For the Intake
Each reservoir has a disk cutout for a reservoir intake, or fill tube. However, because all four reservoirs are connected, only one intake is needed. Simply cut out a disk, preferably one closer to the center of the box, to make it quicker to fill the reservoir.
Fill the Gaps
Once the reservoirs are installed and cross supports set in place, you may wish to line the gaps with landscape fabric to slow the loss of soil mix over time.
Adjust the Intake
Once landscape fabric and crossover pieces are in place, set the adjustable fill tube so the opening will be above desired soil level. Then fill with potting mix.
What Kind of Potting Mix?
This planter box is not for heavy topsoil. Instead, use a lightweight potting mix, preferably one containing a slow-release fertilizer to make maintenance easier.
- Pro Tip: Soilless potting mixes frequently contain a lot of peat moss, which should be pre-moistened before planting because it doesn't absorb water easily when dry.
How Much Potting Mix To USe
It takes approximately eight 1-cu.-ft. bags of potting mix to fill the 2- x 8-ft. box to a depth of 10-in. This allows for the production of a range of plants, including tomatoes and peppers.
Once filled with potting mix, the bed is ready for planting. Cool-season kale, lettuce, broccoli and cabbage are a natural for early spring planting.
The kit is available with two covers, which attach to this frame. The frame can be assembled, without tools, in about 10 minutes.
Anchor the Frame
The frame is pegged in place. However, strong winds can displace the cover, so it's best to place the planter box in a protected area near the house or behind the garage.
The Greenhouse Cover
When in place, the greenhouse cover conserves warmth from the day and allows plants to be started outside earlier in the season. Zippered flaps can be opened on warm spring days and zipped back up when nighttime temperatures drop.
Once danger of frost is past, replace the greenhouse cover with the insect cover to prevent cabbage moths and other insect pests from laying eggs on plants.