What Can You Build a Raised Garden Bed With?

Think outside the basic wood box and use other materials such as bricks or railroad ties to build raised beds with.

| July 2018

Organic Gardening Techniques (Companion House Books, 2018) by Nick Hamilton, offers gardeners insight for planting and growing various fruits, vegetable and herbs. Find your gardening niche with help from Hamilton and see how your gardens can blossom. This excerpt can be located in Chapter 3, “Organic Growing Methods.”

There are other materials besides wood that can also be used very effectively as edging for raised beds. Everybody will have something that they prefer, but there are far too many to mention them all.

Railroad Ties

Railroad ties tend to be treated with either tar or creosote and cannot be bought for use in the garden. It is possible to buy new landscape timbers, which are made to the same dimensions from new wood, having never seen a railroad line! These new timbers are very often treated wood; however, inquire before purchasing. They make excellent raised beds, usually having dimensions of 9 inches (23 cm) x 6 inches (15 cm), and can stand directly on the soil surface or at a higher level by stacking one on top of the other. If stacking timbers, you will need to attach wood between them to secure them. When using a very deep bed, it is always worth ensuring there is somewhere for the excess water to pass out of the bed. Do this either by cultivating the soil at the original ground level, so that excess water can filter away in this direction, or by making sure that the bed’s edging is not too tightly sealed, allowing excess water to pass out gradually through the joints in the timbers. You can also create a raised bed with no edging at all, using careful soil placement and string lines to keep it symmetrical. The soil will be naturally raised by the addition of organic matter, with the soil between the beds, used as paths, sinking slightly as it becomes compacted.

Raised Beds without Edging

You can also create a raised bed with no edging at all, using careful soil placement and string lines to keep it symmetrical. The soil will be naturally raised by the addition of organic matter, with the soil between the beds, used as paths, sinking slightly as it becomes compacted.



Round Fence Posts

Round fence posts, with a minimum 2- to 3-inch (5- to 8-cm) diameter, can be cut up into the lengths required. Allow about 18 inches (45 cm) can be buried in the ground to ensure the bed’s edging is secure and does not move under the weight of soil. This depth is adequate for beds up to 24 inches (60 cm) high, but taller beds will need to have the posts buried deeper into the ground. Buy the posts from a lumberyard because that is where you are most likely to find untreated posts.

Synthetic Wood

Synthetic wood is becoming more and more available. It is made from recycled plastic and looks very effective. It can be nailed, cut, and even planed like real wood but obviously lasts much longer. Beds are constructed in the same way as for sawn lumber. Bricks






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