18 September 2010

Building and filling a raised bed

We got up early today to pick up compost and to purchase cedar planks and nails. Cedar, which is supposed to be one of the best types of wood for raised beds, is mighty expensive, even though we went to a lumber yard that gave us a decent discount. I decided to avoid Lowe's, but may need to hit them up next time if I can get the lumber substantially cheaper. The money that we'll end up putting into this whole garden project could cause a pretty considerable hit on our small wallets, which is why it makes me so angry that people are still throwing garbage into the lot. I really hope that people will be a little more respectful now that we have constructed our first raised bed.

Yep, I built a raised bed. Well, ok, technically my husband did, but I cleaned out the garbage from the lot, which was once again littered with junk food wrappers, cigarette butts, and empty bottles. (Sometimes I hate Philadelphia.) But the garden is slowly beginning to take shape, and it could be a really amazing addition to the neighborhood.

Our costs (so far):
  • 8 cedar planks, 6' and 4' long, and supports to create one 4' x 6' raised bed - $105
  • 2 40lb bags of top soil - $2.50
  • 1 package of galvanized nails - $4
  • 30 gallons of compost - Free (from Fairmount recycling center)
We only had enough compost and soil to fill 1/3 of the bed, which is about 11" deep. The city recycling center allows you to take 30 gallons of free compost per visit, so I'll need to make a few more trips. Luckily, they also provide free wood mulch, which will come in handy.

The project is progressing--slowly, but surely.

(The raised bed is 6' x 4' and 11" deep. Since the cedar planks were only about 5 1/2" wide, we doubled them up. We added 2" square cedar posts to the corners to serve as supports.)


  1. I'll totally have to stop by! Good for you guys.

  2. Please do! Right now there is one lonely bed there -- hopefully it hasn't been vandalized (it's been a few days since I've set it up). It's sloooowly progressing. :)

  3. I am so excited to find this! I found you through your comment on Non-consumer advocate and my goal this year is to start my first garden, and I totally wanted to do a raised bed. I wasn't going to start on it until spring... is this actually the best time to begin?

  4. Ms. Oomph - I'm so glad you found me! :)
    I imagine that this is probably not the ideal time to start a bed, but I'm doing it anyway. There are several cold-weather veggies that I can grow, especially if I utilize a cold frame. Stay tuned... In the next couple of weeks, I'll be posting about a garden bed I've excavated in my back patio and a cold frame I built.