Raised Bed Part II – Filling The Box

In this post I am going over the finishing of the raised bed box by completing the “installation” and then filling it with stuff to make the soil. All of the soil components were purchased from Home Depot. For future raised beds I will definitely look for cheaper alternatives for some of these items.

To start off with the installation of the raised bed box, I first cleared out the area I selected of pine straw and some weeds. I then laid down some weed blocking mat that we are also using as we rebuild the planting beds in the front of our house.

You may have noticed the fence behind the raised bed and might be thinking to yourself, “that is going to block sun from getting to the garden.” and you would be partially correct. However on the other side of the fence are a lot of tall trees that block the sun until midday anyways. So this location gets the most afternoon sun that I can get in my back yard. Hopefully it will be enough for those plants that need 6-8 hours of sun each day.

With the raised bed box in place and ready for soil it was time to mix up the components. For this raised bed I am mostly following the Square Foot Garden method; 1/3 vermiculite, 1/3 compost and 1/3 peat moss. My local home garden stores (Pike’s and Home Depot) only had cow manure and mushroom compost, so that is what I went with for the 1/3 compost component.

I mixed the various components in two batches inside the box, that seemed the easy place to do so. I tried to mix it up as best as I could and also avoided compacting the soil.

With the soil mix in place I then added some nails to the top edge at 1ft spacing so that I could tie some string to give me the square foot boxes for the plants. Some pink twine from the garage made a good choice for this.

Finally it is time to start putting some plants and seeds into the squares. I picked up four different pepper plants to start with. Hopefully these won’t be too close to each other as they grow and get larger.

As for seeds I’m starting simple; green beans, beets, green onion and spinach. I have some others, but they will be planted later or in a different location.

The cost of the soil materials for this raised bed was $66.70 which included 4 bags of cow manure, 2 bags of mushroom compost, 1 3CU/FT package of peat moss and 1 partial bag of vermiculite. This part of the project probably took me about another hour to mix up the components. So all in total I have 2 hours of work building and filling the raised beds.

In my next post I’ll got over the plants in the photos above as wells as the seeds that I started straight in this raised bed.


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