Weekend Project-How to Build a Raised Garden Bed

Photo by Kyle at suburban dollar

There are several methods that you can use to build your own raised garden bed.  The nice thing is that you can make them as fancy or as simple as you would like.  They really don’t need to be expensive in order to have something that will last you for several years.  You definitely do not need to purchase one of the expensive kits that are sprouting up in stores all over.  You can spend that money if you want, but with the economy being the way it is, we thought you might like to know how to save some of your hard earned money.

We just recently built 9 raised beds for our garden.  We have used raised beds in the past, but when we moved to our current home, we didn’t think it was going to be feasible to bring the ones from our old home with us.  So the new homeowners lucked out and we started over.  After spending last season without them and fighting the weeds of a garden plot left dormant for way too many years, we decided it was time to put into practice what we knew worked so well.  So 9 raised beds are now gracing a section of our garden space.  We may even get crazy and add a few more next season.

So how does one make their own raised garden bed?  It really is a fairly simple process, unless you want a super fancy one.  Since I wasn’t good about taking pictures as we built ours, we thought we would just provide you with some links to our favorite instructions online.  We even found a great video if you are a visual person.

The first site we would like to share is from the DIY Network.  They offer a short and concise page that is reminiscent of what we built and that takes you through the process step by step.  They also offer you a list of materials you will need to complete the project.

Next, if you want a very thorough article on the subject, then you may want to check out this one by Sunset Magazine.

Now while we don’t necessarily recommend Home Depot for gardening instruction, we really do like their instructions for making a raised garden bed.

And if you are wanting to make a fancier raised bed for your flower garden, then you might appreciate this article by This Old House.

Finally, if you just want to watch a short video on the subject, we liked this one:

How to Prune Your Trees

Many people feel that pruning your trees and shrubs is a difficult and confusing process. But it really isn’t as difficult as you might think. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your next pruning session:

Use the Right Tool
It is far easier to use the correct tool for the job. Be sure that your tools are sharp as this will be safer for you and healthier for the plant that you are pruning.

• Hand Pruners-Depending on the size, these can be used for branches up to ¾” in diameter.

• Lopping Shears-These are best used on branches which are ¾” to 1 ¼” in diameter.

• Pruning Saws-This tool should be used on branches which are larger than 1 ¼” in diameter.

Follow the Steps in Chronological Order

• Remove any branches which are dead, broken or diseased.

• Remove any branches that crisscross, any water sprouts and any weak crotches.

• Thin out as needed. This will encourage blossoming and increase the air circulation of the plant.

• If necessary, prune to shape and reduce the size of the tree or shrub.

Other Helpful Tips

• Remember that what you leave is the most important, not what you actually remove.

• You should make all of your cuts above the union of a branch or a bud that grows in the direction you desire.

• Do not ever leave a stub.

• Leave the collar of the branch intact when pruning large branches back to the trunk area.

• You should never “top” a tree. This will result in growth that is rapid and weakened. You will end up with “witches’ brooms”.

• Remember that how much you prune will directly influence the re-growth. Light pruning will equal light re-growth and heavy pruning will equal heavy re-growth.

• Pruning in the spring will produce more breaks and re-growth than pruning in the summer.

• Prune your spring blooming shrubs right after blooming. This will encourage blossoming the next year.

• Prune apple trees and pear trees to the modified central leader. Stone fruit trees should be pruned to open the center.

• Shear your hedges in a slightly pyramidal shape to keep them full to the ground. Do not prune in an inverted pyramid shape.

• Pruning sealers are really not necessary. However, they do help to prevent the entry of borers on roses.

• Remember that pruning and disease control go together. One should not be done without the other.

• Sterilize your pruners between plants, using a 10 % bleach solution. Sterilize your pruners between each cut if fire blight or another disease is suspected. This will aid in not spreading the disease. Rinse your pruners after use to avoid corrosion.

Following these suggestions will help you to have beautiful and healthy trees and shrubs. Please share any other pruning tips that you may have learned over the years.