To construct a raised garden bed and a cold frame, first decide on location, size, number of raised garden beds, and size and type of pathways. Sketch a garden plan. Consider what plants you want for the raised garden beds. Then choose plant locations based upon the needs of each plant.
Beds that are 3 to 4 feet wide are common to enable reaching from either side without stepping into the bed. They can be as long as you choose. Here are the simple steps:
–Measure and mark the ground to outline the bed. Excavate the soil 6-8 inches deep around the outside.
–Throw the soil into the middle of your raised garden bed.
–Level off the soil with a rake. Level the pathway you created by digging.
Gardening Tip: Improve soil by adding organic matter such as grass clippings, manure, hay, shredded leaves, etc. You can make compost with a backyard compost bin purchased online or at garden supply stores (or simply throw it into a pile, turn it occasionally, and in a year or less, you’ll have good compost!) Alternatively, purchase premixed compost. Adding compost increases yields, retains moisture, and helps prevent pests and diseases. Apply 2-3 inches of compost to the top of your raised garden bed and work it in 6 – 8 inches deep.
Construct a raised garden bed frame
A frame is not required for raised bed gardening, but here is a simple plan:
–To make a 6′ X 4′ wood frame, purchase two 2 X 6’s and two 4 X 4’s. Choose cedar, cypress, black locust, or redwood. Fasten together using spiral nails or galvanized screws. (Other suitable materials to use are concrete blocks, bricks or plastic lumber, or purchase raised bed kits.)
Raised garden beds double as cold frames.
If you want a cold frame to extend your growing season, you can cover a raised garden bed and its frame with a glass sash or plastic.
Tip #1: During cold snaps, cover your cold frame with burlap sacks of leaves or bales of straw to prevent freezing.
Tip #2: When temperatures reach 45 degrees, raise or remove the sash to prevent extreme heat. Before evening, put the sash back to conserve heat for colder nights.
Tip #3: Water plants early mornings so the bed dries out before night.