Let's see your raised beds. I need ideas


Several years ago I built two basic 4x8’ raised beds using red wood planks. It’s worked pretty well and I’ve always used wire tomato cages, plus some of those green garden stakes, to manage the tomato vines. This winter one of the tomato plants didn’t die, but basically took over the equivalent of one whole veggie bed. It became so heavy that it bent over the wire cages… I also like to grow cucumbers and the wire cages and green stakes just didn’t cut it last year.

The original veggie bed design called for 1" pvc pipe pieces screwed into the walls of the bed for use as the foundation for row covers. I’ve never used them, but decided to do so this year and build a PVC trellis system. It’s definitely a bit haphazard, I used what ever bits of 3/4" PVC pipe I had laying around and only bought more when I ran out of pipe.

Monster tomato right in the middle of everything. I’ve had to trim it back as it obstructed the lawn sprinklers and was shading out other parts of the veggie bed. Producing like crazy right now!

Initial planting of another tomato plan (Black Krim) and some cukes. Only one cucumber has survived, I used fish emulsion underneath each one and one of the dogs dug up each one of them.

And the other end showing a part of the drip irrigation system. Also garden twine is coming down from the PVC pipe and is starting to provide support to the snow peas.


Yes. I definitely lack sun. I located my garden in one of the few spots that receives sunlight. Honestly, my biggest problem here is sitting water. Hence, the raised bed. This year, I am putting a ground garden beside it for my squashes and melons, so I’ll see if the water hinders it…


@JustAnne4 Wow, all that is impressive. The sheer size of your beds. So cool!



I hope this PVC works for you. In my experience, PVC supports are OK if kept under about 4 feet. One year I constructed something similar for pole beans. Like your vigorous tomato, those vigorous beans brought that trellis DOWN. I mean I was out there with other additional supports trying to prop the PVC up from the weight…in July and August…during verdant hell. Now I just use EMT 3/4" or 1/2". Just hammer in some rebar wherever you want it then set and connect. It is more a ‘fire and forget’ support than PVC was for me.


I like wood because it gives the beans something to grip! But now I just grow beans and peas along the stock panels. A bit of a pain to remove at the end of the season, but strong and open with good air flow & easy to pick.


I hope it works too! It should be fine for the snow peas at least and probably for the cukes. But those tomato vines do get heavy! And I didn’t use any glue, just friction to hold all the pieces in place as I want to be able to take it down at the end of the season. I’ll have to keep the EMT in mind for next year if the PVC fails.
For us the worst heat is in September and October - I avoid working in the afternoons at that point.


This year I have the option to use part of a parking lot as a garden if I want. I’m wondering if it’s a good idea though, as it is on crushed rock (modified) and below that I believe it’s filled with the debris of the house that was demolished there last year. I imagine it will drain quickly, and lose a lot of the soil to erosion, possibly making a muddy mess around the raised bed. There will also be nothing below the bed for trees to put their roots into. I was thinking to use it for citrus trees, as it’s in a microclimate where hardy citrus should do fairly well.


One of my earliest years of gardening we enclosed the beds in boards but I thought they were rather a bother and took them out when they rotted. Maybe I’m just a messy gardener! but I do like the freedom of just dirt beds without permanent borders. I can easily make them narrow or wide depending on what’s in them that year.

I do have a rather large garden so only the outer edges are next to the “grass”, and we’ve used various mulch materials or tilling to keep mowed area and garden area separate (the garden is all permanent mulched). Recently I decided I wanted something easier. The local Menards (big box hardware type store) had simple 8 x 16 paving blocks on sale off and on so whenever we were in the city we’d get 20 (what we could haul in our car) and eventually had enough to go around (~ 50 x 70 ft), about 6" down, 2" up. It was pretty inexpensive. Most of the borders has mulched perennials (berries or herbs/flowers) so the beds don’t get rearranged much. So far I like it.


Just added pine bark mulch to my raised beds. We have 100% clay here near the Gulf of Mexico. My raised beds have sandy loam and pine bark in them and are edged with square ledge rocks. I’ve got assorted citrus trees, blackberries, a persimmon tree, and cherry of the rio grande in this row. Shortly I’ll be adding 6 peterson pawpaw trees, one of each variety.

barktree by philip sauber, on Flickr


Can you guys discuss what ingredients you are using in your raised bed mix? Are you buying prebagged raised bed soils or making custom blends with peat, coco coir, compost, manure, etc?

As been mentioned, I see the cost of filling an 8x4 bed to be fairly steep assuming 32 sqft of soils.


naturecare soil for raised bed


I filled mine with a mixture of 50/50 soil and leaf grow ( crushed leaves). Our local nursery supply this for $30.00 per cubic yard.


I use a mixture of MiracleGro soil, another raised bed brand, and manure. Mix well!


I use about 50% aged horse manure, 10% sand,10% vermiculite, and 30% native soil. I amend with a few inches of horse manure every year. Everything grows like wild in my raised bed as long as I water enough.


Here are my raised beds last year. My wife’s grandfathers property has a lot of old material, including these old aluminum raised beds or covers from Sears. We have about 25 more sets of them and they work wonderfully. I have some erosion issues and I need more soil to put in to fill them 100% but they pump out some wonderful veggies. If you’re ever able to get your hands on these, I highly encourage it.

They’re protected by a makeshift fence I put up each year and you can see the old apple tree someone knocked over years ago blooming in the background.


We just built these this spring, not really raised beds but deck planters.


Around the time I was contemplating moving my garden closer to the house, a friend was clearing some forrested area to put in a swimming pool and needed a place to put the topsoil. My current garden exists where the dump trailer put that topsoil. I surrounded the piles as described above with pool liners or lannscape timbers, leveled it, moved some around to pots and then put compost on top…pretty much compost goes on top every year, as I’m a ‘no dig’ gardener.

Absent that benevolence, most counties have composting facilities from which you can purchase truckloads of various soils and amendments.


If you have a tractor or know someone who does you can get a subsoiler and put it on the tractor. They are only 150 dollars or so. It will dig a nice clean 1 inch wide slash in the land 18 to 24 inches deep. Do it anywhere the water stands for at least a 6 foot rip or so. I do it on a large garden in clay and my drainage is never a problem. You may have to do it every few years but it works wonders for areas that have standing water… And you just drive back over it with one of the tractor tires and you can hardly tell it was done.


My raised beds and table tops


Costco has this for $69. You can make two 4ft by 4ft or one 4ft by 8ft or one 4ft by 12ft with the kit. Height is 11 inches. Very easy assembly takes just a few minutes.