In additional preparations for the post-Greenhouse starter plants, assembly for the raised beds became the next equation. Fortunately, there is an local lumber outlet named Mill Outlet Lumber that offers full dimensional planks at brilliant prices.
The planks were purchased at 8′ lengths as there will be several different lengths at the end of the project. Additionally, the fall-off pieces will be used for the corner and middle support strips that are roughly 2″ x 4″ x 16″ in width and length. As a side note, we knew in advance that some universal lengths of “A-Frame” livestock panels will be used, of which is mentioned later in this posting. By making the lengths somewhat standard, this allows for the “A-Frame” to be built once, used anywhere.
When planning the lengths of the beds, we factored into the equation that a generous “wheel-barrows width” is of paramount importance between the greenhouse and the raised beds, not to mention between some of the raised beds themselves. We factored in a 38″ width for the ends as it makes for ease of reaching for not only planting, but for routine soil maintenance.
These raised beds are jolly heavy when fully assembled, so the cutting and the final assembly of these beds were made near to their final destination. We used a chop-saw to fix and square the sides of the end planks, then used a table-saw to make the support strips (2″ x 4″ x 16″) mentioned above. Finally, a cordless drill were successfully employed to firmly screw the planks and supports into their respective positions.
Once assembled, we simply placed them into their measured locations, then tipped them on their sides. With this view in mind, we placed the landscaping fabric into position and gently lowered the bottom of the bed onto the fabric. This will act as a barrier between the 5/8 minus gravel foundation that the beds rest on, and the soil within the beds themselves.
After re-measuring the final positions of the beds, we began to fill the beds firstly with a 2-3″ level of fine sand to aide with drainage. Then secondly, a healthy and generous layer of 50-50% mixture involving compost and earth is added. Lastly, a 2-3″ layer of good quality potting soil were placed on the top of the lot for providing the starter plants with a sporting chance in regards to root development.
On a few select beds that would host plants that climb, such as Zucchini Squash, we incorporated some livestock panels. These panels will be fashioned into a “A-Frame” design within the bed, fastened at the top with some zip-ties or hog-rings preferably. This will allow for the “A-Frames” to be collapsable for storage, or added to a bed as required.
We found that the Alaskan Yellow Cedar planks do well with the needed warmth of soil in the spring, and the cooling of the soil in the hot summer months. Turning the soil post-harvest is easily done as the weight of the beds, along with the volume of soil prevents the beds from moving about. The 3-1/2 in. Star Flat-Head Wood Screws are the magic. These were massively easy to use with securely fastening the planks into the position, and the cordless drill weren’t challenged at all.