This was one of my favorite projects, but I have to admit, I was not prepared for the level of work this was going to take. If you already have a spot with no grass, or an existing garden to work with, I envy you. We picked the spot on the side of our house that the dogs cannot reach and started digging. Holy crap was this a lot of work. The digging was fun, but I was thinking ok, this is going to take 30 mins. WRONG. Our garden is 8X4. Which really isn’t even all that big. We were going to do 8×8 because we’re ambitious and I’m a crazy tomato lady. I want hundreds of tomatoes. I want enough tomatoes to create my very own little Italy in our neighborhood. But, I’m glad we scaled it back for our first garden experience because all my digging muscles hurt for two days.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 4×4 pressure treated wood
- Wood rails (you decide the length) pressure treated
- Shovel or tiller
- Deck screws
- Plants to grow!
Here’s the area we started with. We took on piece of wood and placed it on the ground so we could start outlining the area our garden was going to be.
Digging the grass out and turning soil took 2-3 hours. The best advice I can give you is to wait until after it rains to start digging. It rained for almost 3 straight days before we started our garden, making the ground very pliable. We dug about 8 inches down and 16 inches in the corners. SUPER IMPORTANT: Spend the time to remove all the weeds grass, roots, and whatever else you see that can be disruptive to your veggies growth. This will also eliminate a serious amount of weeding that you’ll need to do in the future.
This hand tiller really helped us turn the soil and find things in the ground that needed to be removed.
You’ll need a 4×4 cut down into 4 posts. Ours were just over 12 inches. We used scraps from a previous project. We used pressure treated wood so the frame wouldn’t degrade in the elements over time.
You’ll need wood screws to join the post to the frame for the garden bed. This part took maybe 20 mins and we did it on a flat surface. It was the easiest part of the project. Continue to work around the 4 sides screwing the frame into the 4×4 posts. Remember, the posts will go down into the ground. So when you’re screwing, line them up with the end of the post, not the middle.
Once the frame is finished, place it over the garden. You might need to reshape the corners of your garden if they’re not perfectly square. After the frame is in place, push the dirt around the edges to secure the posts into the ground and close any spaces between the wood and the ground.
A garden rake wil help you accomplish this step with speed. It will also bring to the surface any large rocks, weeds, or roots that you may have missed before.
Once you’re happy with your foundation, you can add the soil! We used an all-purpose garden soil that Home Depot had one sale. We were trying to do this on budget, so sale soil it was! We used 14 bags of soil in total. Take a look at the measurements on the bag. It’ll tell you how many bags you need according the the square footage of your garden.
We put 10 bags of soil down, then we starting spacing out our plants. Pay attention to how far apart each plant needs to be from one another. In all honesty, we cheated a few inches. But it’s important that you give them some space so the roots don’t choke each other.
Once you have all the place in their positions, you can add the remaining bags of soil. Depending on what kind of veggies you got, you’ll need to burry them at different depths. Pay attention to the watering requirements and depth requirements of each plant! Water them right away! They’ll need to adapt to their new environment and the best way to do that is to feed them!
We planted 4 different types of tomatoes, 3 different types of sweet peppers, serrano and jalapeño peppers, eggplant and strawberries! I’ll let you know in 6-8 weeks if this was worth it! 🙂