Garden Bed Assembly
Select appropriate location in your yard for your garden bed. If it’s for vegetables, most plants like FULL SUN. In CT this is 8+ hours of direct sun each day, starting at 10 AM.
Select the shape of the garden bed; square, rectangle, octagon, and decide on the dimensions. Keep in mind that you only need one 4 foot X 4 foot section, per person, to feed that person through the growing season. Larger beds, or more square footage, mean you’ll have “extra” food to share with framily or to “put up” for winter and spring.
Cut boards to appropriate lengths. If you’re super-anal about dimensions, remember a bed that’s built with 4’x8’ boards will be 3-4 inches smaller for the inside dimension. You’ll have to add two inches to two side boards to maintain the desired interior dimension. It’s really not that important.
Fasten boards to one another. There are three basic ways to assemble your beds.
1. Fasten board ends to one another.
2. Fasten boards to a corner wedge. Corner wedges can be made from whatever scrap you have. the chunkier, the sturdier though!
3. Fasten boards to a corner wedge that has been sunk into the ground. Chunky, sunky corner wedges are usually 4”x4”.
Any way you do it, pre-drill holes in older lumber to help prevent splitting.
Acquire 1 cubic yard of compost per 32 square feet of garden bed. Compost is available at Common Ground, 358 Springside Avenue, New Haven, Connecticut 06515, 203-389-4333, ext. 217. Or arrange a delivery with Duck Truck Composting (DTC).
Purchase prices for various amounts are:
- Unscreened tractor loaded: $10 per bucket full (2-3 buckets fill a mid-sized pick-up)
- Load your own pickup: $15
- Bagged screened compost – $6/bag or 2 for $10
- Load your own bags or buckets (unscreened) – $5 bag/bucket
Two ways to fill your bed…
1. Till existing soil. Add compost, till in with existing soil. Add compost, till in with existing soil/compost. Add compost, till in with existing soil/compost/compost, until all the compost is tilled in with the existing soil. You may hire DTC to till and fill! (Fall, Spring, or Summer)
2. Put down a thick layer of pizza and other cardboard boxes and/or black and white newspaper and put your compost directly on top of that! (Fall or Super Early Spring) The thickness layer depends on how late in spring you’re doing this.
The newspaper will keep down weeds, add organic matter to your soil, and draw earthworms to your garden bed. They really dig this stuff! Ba-dum-bah!
Now is also a good time to START MAKING YOUR OWN COMPOST!!! See other handouts that Alexis has!