This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of The Home Depot. Late Enough and The Home Depot are teaming up to bring a four-part series on building a raised garden.
We went off to The Home Depot to buy our materials because sadly raised gardens don’t sprout out of the ground by themselves.
I would recommend drawing up the plans before heading to the store, but we’ve been building for long enough and are perhaps a little over-confident after we created a small home in our backyard. Our design became more and more complicated as we asked our associate, Will, where the large picket fences were in between debating whether to build it log cabin style from landscaping timber.
I dialed us back a bit when I remembered that I am having surgery next week and maybe we should stick to building one beautiful raised garden now and work on blending it into our front yard after a part of my body is removed.
We went with 4×8 garden with a 6 inch bed and a 12 inch bed. (The simplest raised garden would be a 4×4 garden with a 6 inch deep bed if you wanted to go that route.)
The wood frame:
- We chose 5 3/4x6x8 cedar planks for aesthetics but any non-rotting wood works.
- We bought 1 2x4x96 framing lumber to anchor the corners and to create a multi-level bed.
- Optional: We bought thin cedar planks and used hinges we had at home to build a folding trellis at the far end of our raised garden for our vines. (2 3/4x2x8 to form the sides, 4 3/4x1x8 for the cross-beams) I like the idea of a triangular trellis rather than a vertical one because it seems like less pressure on the plant especially when the fruit is near picking time. However, if you aren’t growing vines like cucumbers, watermelons or cantaloupes then you don’t need this and you can buy trellises as well.
- Another option: Buy a raised garden kit.
- Screws. We used leftover galvanized deck screws that are a bit too long but whatever. Ideally, you would use 1 inch or 1.5 inch non-rusting (outdoor) screws.
- Circular saw or a handsaw and lots of muscles. However, if you are making a simple raised garden, The Home Depot will make the cuts for you since there aren’t many.
- Tape measure.
- Most bags come in cubic feet so get your math on and don’t be surprised at how much you need. We bought 16 bags of organic soil.
I think for toddlers and preschoolers, planting seedlings, more than seeds, is better because seeds are pretty boring at first. I also recommend buying plants you and your family eat so don’t buy 8 tomato plants if your kid hates them. However, my daughter only eats tomatoes we grow so don’t not buy them either.
I try at least one new plant each year, and I have my favorites that I plant every year. Finally, have fun with what you plant but read something on them before you go to the store and then at the store read the tag so you know how much you can plant in your garden (the tags state how far apart each plant should be from another plant). Or buy back up pots like me so when you over-buy, you can still grow everything.
- Tomatoes: This year we’ll be planting cherry and a new yellow tomato that is less acidic so my oldest might be more interested in it. Tomatoes are easy and abundant as long as they have sun and every so often you think: Oh gee I should water those guys. I noticed a lot of tomato plants come with tomato cages now. We have our own from previous years in pretty colors that you’ll see next week. Tomatoes need support as they flourish.
- Peppers: Red and yellow and orange (I don’t like green). I would like to do one hot banana pepper because I love them but I’m scared my kids will accidentally pick and eat it. I think I’ll have to pot the hot ones.
- Cucumbers: These are tricky. I haven’t had a good long season since 2005. I get a few good ones but the minute cucumbers are stressed, they turn sour. I need to ask my pickling friends if I could still pickle those. Anyway, I always plant more than one vine because they are so tough to manage.
- Watermelon: My kids love watermelon but the vines are long so our trellis needs to a good size and able to manage the weight.
- Cantaloupe: My kids also love these but I’ve never tried to grow them probably because I don’t like to eat them. We’ll see how it goes this year.
- Sweet Potatoes: I love potatoes and because we have the deep garden, I’m tempted by them this year even though they are a little boring for kids. I did onions last year and even I got impatient and dug one up way to early. Oops.
- Strawberries: I think one of my strawberry plants came back from last year, but I’m not quite sure what’s going on in that pot so if it doesn’t flower, I may throw one into the garden. Strawberry plants are like tomatoes — abundant and easy — except the birds are so much faster than me at getting the berries.
- Herbs: These days, I put all my herbs in pots now because most of them can survive the winter in Richmond, and our raised gardens are not permanent because of the size of our lawn. I have a sage plant from 2006. Also, some herbs are aggressive. For example, mint should never be put in a garden because it will take over the entire thing, but it’s lovely in a pot. However, I think herbs are great in gardens. I once did a themed tea garden with herbs, and I’ve grown all sorts of things like catnip (you really need to like cats to do that though because they will come from miles). The key with herbs is to plant ones you’ll use or you’ll smell. Like I will hug my rosemary plant all day long even if I rarely cook with it so that was a great choice. Thyme? Not so much for me.
I can’t wait to show you guys our edible raised garden when it’s done, and I look forward to seeing yours!
UPDATE: Check out all my posts on how to build a raised garden and have fun
- Building A Raised Garden Part 1: First Things First
- Building A Raised Garden Part 3: Building The Garden and TADA!
- Building A Raised Garden Part 4: The Good, The Bad And The Dirty Hands Of The Project
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Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of The Home Depot. I was compensated.