How to Install a Raised Vegetable Garden with Arbors – This Old House

Posted by in Home Improvement Tips, on October 6, 2015

In this video, This Old House landscaping contractor Roger Cook helps an elementary school build and plant a raised-bed vegetable garden.

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Shopping List for How to Install a Raised Vegetable Garden with Arbors:
– 2×10 rough-sawn spruce, for building raised-bed frames
– 4×4 cedar, for arbor posts
– 2×6 cedar, for making the horizontal frame
– 1×4 cedar, to make ground stakes
– Cedar diagonal-lattice panels, to make a trellis
– 1×2 pine, for diagonal braces
– 3-inch galvanized screws, to assemble the raised-bed frame
– 1 5/8-inch galvanized screws, to secure the stakes and lattice
– 50/50 mix of loam and compost, used as planting soil
– Wood chips, for pathway groundcover
– Leaf mulch, for mulching the planting bed
– Assorted vegetable plants

Tools for How to Install a Raised Vegetable Garden with Arbors:
– Circular saw, to cut lumber
– Cordless drill, for driving screws
– Framing square, to check for square alignment
– 3-pound sledgehammer, to pound in 1×4 stakes
– Posthole digger, for digging postholes
– 2-foot level, for plumbing arbor posts
– Wheelbarrow, for transporting material
– Garden rake, to smooth soil
– Garden trowel and three-tine cultivator, for excavating planting holes
– Shovel

Steps for How to Install a Raised Vegetable Garden with Arbors:
1. Use a circular saw to cut to length 2×10 rough-sawn spruce boards for the frame of the raised bed.
2. Screw the boards together using 3-inch galvanized screws.
3. Square up the frame by measuring the opposing diagonals from corner to corner. When the two dimensions are equal, the frame is square.
4. Temporarily screw a diagonal 1×2 brace across the four corners to hold the raised-bed frame square.
5. Use a small sledgehammer to pound a 20-inch-long 1×4 cedar stake against each of the long sides of the raised-bed frame.
6. Tap the stakes flush with the top of the 2×10 frame, the secure each stake to the side of the frame using two 1 5/8-inch galvanized screws.
7. Fill the raised-bed frames with a 50/50 mix of loam and compost. Unscrew and remove the 1×2 braces.
8. Use the posthole digger to dig 20-inch-deep holes in the corners at one end of the raised-bed frame. Dig two more holes outside the frame, 4 feet from the first two holes.
9. Stand an 8-foot-tall 4×4 cedar post in each hole inside the frame.
10. Check the posts for plumb with a level, then drive 3-inch screws through the frame and into the posts.
11. Install 4×4 posts into the remaining two holes outside the frame. Check each post for plumb, then backfill around them with the excavated soil.
12. Screw a horizontal cedar 2×6 across the posts, connecting the outer pair of posts to the inner pair.
13. Next, use 1 5/8-inch galvanized screws to fasten cedar lattice panels to the 4×4 posts.
14. Spread wood chips between the beds to create pathways.
15. Rake the planting beds smooth and flat.
16. Plant the vegetable seedlings into the raised beds.
17. Water thoroughly, then spread 1 to 2 inches of leaf mulch over the entire bed.

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