DIY: How to Build Raised Planters

Above Ground Planters

Above Ground Planters

It’s official! We have a real garden this year! It doesn’t look like much, but we’re getting there. And it’s also given Andy a really great reason to build something other than a wooden sign for an order. He was over the moon when I gave him the go ahead to build a set of raised planters. Guess he was so excited that he decided to build TWO above ground planters for the garden at his mom’s house where we’re gardening this year.

I admit, he did a really great job. And I have to say, he did a lot of research on what is the best planter set up for what we are growing this year. The list currently includes lettuce, kale, tomatoes, onions, green peppers, and I think there has been some talk about pumpkins, but we’re still figuring that one out. He said he needs a tons of room for one pumpkin plant and I’m not sure what “tons of room means.” I guess we’ll find out.

Anyway, Andy made two beds: one is 8 feet by 2 feet, and another that is 8 feet by 4 feet. Three Home Depot trips, a delivery of soil, and a lot of patience resulted in two pretty awesome beds. Below you’ll find instructions on how to make the 8 foot by 4 foot bed. Use the sample principles to make the smaller bed, just different measurements for the sides.

DIY Raised Planters

What You’ll Need

DIY Raised Beds

First, measure two of the boards and mark 4 feet from the edge. It should land in the middle of the board. Mark and cut the two boards at the 4-foot mark with your saw. These pieces will be the ends of your planter.

Take your 6-foot 2×4 and measure 14-inch sections. Mark and cut with your saw. These pieces will be your corner braces and help you attach the two levels to your bed.

Next, lay two of your 4-foot planks flush to each other, aligning the shorter ends. Then, place two of your braces at the ends of the wood so it overlaps both pieces, but is flat to the edges. Using your drill, screw through the planks into your braces, four screws per side. You should use 8 screws total for this. Repeat this with your other two 4-foot planks.

For your 8-foot planks, you will place your braces three feet from each end. Screw in your braces. Repeat with your last two 8-foot pieces of wood. These will create your longer sides.

Using your carpenter’s square, make a corner with one of your 8-foot sides and one of your 4-foot sides. Screw the ends, then repeat with each corner, making sure your braces are on the inside of the frame.

After you build the frames, place them in the location you’d like them to finally end up. Use your shovel to create an outline around the bed, digging in enough to know where your frame will be when it’s removed from that space. Then remove the frame and dig out the grass within that rectangle (see picture below). You’ll want to dig down about an inch, so that you remove the layer of grass from the soil.

DIY Raised Beds

Replace the frame over the soil. Make sure the fame is level to the ground, then you may start filling in the frame with soil. As you add the soil, it’s good to have one person use a hoe or rake to help level the soil around the bed. Do not pack down the soil. We used a local farm that provided us with local soil that is mixed with compost. But using any garden soil will do. Your local Home Depot or Lowe’s should have various options for vegetable gardens to choose from if you can’t purchase local soil.

Raised Garden Beds

Now you’re ready to plant! Good luck and let us know how your own beds came out. What did you plant?

Raised Garden Beds

Toddlers With Green Thumbs

 

So I guess I have to eat my words, we’ve found who has the green thumbs in the house. This year, we’re actually growing vegetables. They’re only seedlings right now, but it’s farther than we’ve gotten any year. The little green stalks are starting to peek up from the dirt. We’ve even been able to transplant the starter pods into biodegradable planters to get one step closer to planting in the ground.

We’ve learned that Little Miss Ezra has a knack for growing plants. For the last few years, Andy and I have tried our best at growing vegetables. Between the two of us, we thought we had no green thumbs. We took classes at the local library to learn how to garden better, read blogs online, and even tried planting in our front yard. Turns out, we might just have been overthinking this whole gardening thing.

Like every year, we started plants inside and this year Ezra was old enough to actually help us. So we let her put seeds in the dirt, water the plants and make sure they got enough sun. We even gave her random seeds at one point to let her “play” gardener. I’ll get to that later, but as a spoiler, she has a green thumb, possibly two green thumbs.

So instead of planting our garden at our house this year, we’ve decided to take over the front yard of Andy’s mom’s house. It gives us a chance to go over and visit, but also let us have actual room to grow. At our house, we have to plant above ground only, as we currently rent. So we’re taking a chance this year and trying outdoor gardening again. We have tomatoes, green peppers, even pumpkins are on the list. I’m hoping we actually grow more than just a single cucumber. It would be nice to actually have enough vegetables to cook at least one meal. Maybe even make a salad.

 

Gardening In New Hampshire: Time to Plant!

We don’t have a green thumb. Not a one. We are not what you would call the gardening type. Every year, we try to plant a small garden, full of vegetables. And every year, we find our plants have wilted – despite all the love we give them. Last year, we even took a gardening class at the local library. We both took diligent notes, followed up with questions, and learned all the different ways potted plants need extra attention. It didn’t help.

So this year we took things a little more seriously. We went straight to Wentworth Greenhouses. The are the sweetest people with the most patience. I even overheard them trying to explain to a woman that yes, indeed, all plants need sunlight. Who knew?

After many, many laps of the greenhouse, a few extra circles through the exotic plants, we found a small plant for Ezra’s bedroom window and one for Andy’s office. They even repotted the plants for us. (A good thing, because, honestly, we probably would have killed them in the process.)

Feeling a little overconfident, we started our vegetable garden today as well. Every year we get a little bit closer to actually having plants that survive. Andy’s gardening app told us we had to plant our peppers and tomatoes today. So that’s what we did. I think Ezra might have put a few too many seeds in each tray. We think she was just trying to make sure at least one seed would grow. She’s a little optimist.

For now, the seeds are tucked under the windows in our living room. Andy might try to build an above ground garden box for us. If the plants make it out of stage one, then he’ll get the green light. Until then, please send positive gardening vibes our way.

Little Gardening Tips

It’s spring time…

It’s spring time! You know what that means? Time to plant. I haven’t ever planted my very own vegetable garden before. Growing up, we planted a few tomato plants and probably a few other things, however our primary source of veggies was either the store or my Grandfather. Two years ago, I started some seeds but never ended up planting them due to the move back to Rochester. Last year, I was on the go too much and didn’t feel I had the time to dedicate to taking care of them. This year however, I’m happy to say that with my job schedule and new house, I think I might just be able to pull it off!

A few weeks ago, I picked up some organic seeds from the store. Wasn’t really sure what I was going to plant or how much room I had to dedicate to planting my garden but I bought what I thought we would use. These included, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, green onion, squash, and more. I also picked up some herbs while I was at it. After I had my seeds, the research began.

I started out by planting the herbs first. Little did I know they actually needed semi-warm tempters to grow, so to Roni’s excitement, the heat was now set at 65, instead of 55. To my excitement, the herbs have started to pop up from the soil! That’s always an exciting feeling. So far so good. I’ve remembered to water them daily if they need it, and I keep turning them to rotate the sunlight.

I’m pretty optimistic about my veggie garden so far. That is, if Roni stays far far away from it. We all know how her carrots came out last year.