Starting a Raised-Bed Garden

The following is the third in a series of guest posts about gardening from Rene at Budget Saving Mom.

Gardening is such a great way to save money AND still feed your family healthy, organic fresh fruits and vegetables.

Of the four main types of gardening, my favorite is the raised bed gardening. This is how I began gardening.

Although we live on a couple of acres, it is all wooded other than a small area.

Raised bed gardening allows me to grow much more produce per square foot than I could in a traditional tilled garden. You are able to plant in a grid which increases the number of plants per square foot.
119Raised bed gardens are a great way for new gardeners to begin gardening. You can bring in your own soil to begin your garden. This allows you to skip years of building up your soil.

People till traditional gardens to loosen the soil. But in a raised bed, you add the soil, so your soil is already loose and full of air.

One of the main reasons that people give me for not having a garden is lack of time. Raised bed gardening is also a huge time saver. Since these beds are raised above the ground, there are few to no weeds in most gardens.

Basically, you are able to plant your seeds, water for a few minutes on days that you don’t get rain, and enjoy the produce that your garden produces.

When I worked full time, this was the only type of garden that I had. I was able to spend about 5 minutes a day on my garden, and still have enough fruits and vegetables for my family to eat at least two meals a day centered around the fresh, organic produce.
kathy's garden boxesAnother question I have been asked is, “So how can you build raised beds, and still save money? Aren’t they really expensive?

When I first began raised bed gardening, I was skeptical about how well it would work.

My first raised beds were actually made from reused, old furniture that was falling apart. I made a bed from my husband’s used college bookshelf. The back had fallen off, so I just added nails to the shelf to make it more secure, knocked out the shelves, and had a raised bed.

I also made a bed from a thirty-year-old bed-and-trundle, by knocking out the bottom of the trundle and using the wooden bed frame to make a raised bed.

We recently had our old retaining wall collapse, and there were lots of good railroad ties that I plan to use to make additional raised beds next year.

I also have built raised beds. These are actually my favorite raised beds because they are the perfect size. I can reach all areas of the garden easily, since they are 4×4.

These are really simple to build, and do not cost very much. I was even able to build a couple of these when I was pregnant!

When building raised beds, make sure that the wood that you use is not treated wood. You do not want those chemicals leaking into your food! I have had my most recent raised beds made of untreated wood for years, so do not worry about them lasting.

If you are interested in building your own raised beds, you can check out these videos where I show you step by step how to build raised bed gardens.

Have you considered raised-bed gardening?

This post is linked to: WFMW

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About Alyssa Francis

A thirty-something wife and mother of four! Two daughters by birth, one son by marriage, and a sweet baby boy born in April of 2009. Oldest sister of four girls raised by a single mom. California native. Grew up in Hawaii. Somehow ended up in North Texas. Once a single mom. Former agnostic. A survivor of abuse and addiction. Forgiven by a great big God. Married to my best friend.


  1. We were attempting to make a raised bed but realized we didn’t have as much soil as we thought. So it’s more like a border. But just tilling the soil underneath adding cow manure and top soil does minimize weeding.

    I wanted to share a video too. It’s mainly about getting started with gardening in general. Not as in depth as Rene’s, but I hope it might help someone!
    .-= FrugalFriend´s last blog ..CVS Deals June 6-12 =-.

  2. This is also a great way for those with disabilities to garden. The raised bed can be built to any particular height for easy reach from wheel chairs. I myself have severe back issues, not wheel chair bound, but can not bend for any length off time. When we get moved to our new location I am doing lots of raised beds.

  3. I have been thinking about doing this after this garndening season is done with. I have a small plot in my backyard now, but our soil here is simply horrible so the plants dont get good roots down, so i wanted to build it up a little higher, maybe like a foot or 2 and fill with loose soil. Buy some worms to let loose in it. I even had the idea to cover the plot with some plywood with holes in the fall and winter and toss some compost materials right into the garden plot. I’ve never heard of anyone doing this, but I don’t really see why it wouldn’t work? Any thoughts about that?
    .-= Amanda´s last blog ..Update on Tom Thumb Mix and Match Sale =-.

  4. Rene @ Budget Saving Mom says:


    I have actually done that before, and it worked great. My husband chopped up the leaves that he had collected and we put them into the box to compost until spring. You will need to turn the compost a couple of times, but it does work really well. Hope that helps! Rene

  5. @Rene @ Budget Saving Mom,

    Awsome! Thanks.
    .-= Amanda´s last blog ..Update on Tom Thumb Mix and Match Sale =-.

  6. Jessica says:

    I tried to do a raised bed garden this year but everything died. I have the worst brown thumb. I was trying to do tomatos and bell peppers even after i grew them for weeks inside once I put them out they all died. I have no idea what i’m doing wrong but I have to say I’m very discouraged now that I’ll ever be able to do a garden.

  7. We’ve had raised bed gardens for the last few years now, and I just love them! We still have some issues with weeds, but it’s not horrible. (Especially if we would just spend a few minutes each day working on it, instead of waiting until we have to spend a lot of time with them.)
    .-= Angie @ Many Little Blessings´s last blog ..Tools To Manage Your Online Time Better =-.

  8. @Jessica,

    I would take your soil and get it tested. You can do that at a lot of home stores, as well as maybe at your county extension office.
    .-= Angie @ Many Little Blessings´s last blog ..Tools To Manage Your Online Time Better =-.

  9. Jenny 867-5309 says:

    We’re doing raised bed gardens this year for a change…we also used some crazy, suped up soil and I have a jungle in there! I’m really enjoying it this year.

  10. We did raised beds this year too and it’s wonderful :)

    I found you on WFMW

  11. Gerald Landis says:

    Have been looking at raised gardens/square foot gardening ideas!

    Do you know anything about vertical gardening with these

    Blessings, Gerald Landis, Apopka, Fl

  12. Rose Gold says:

    Raised bed gardening is the proper way to do your gardening. Aside from saving space and controlling weeds as you stated on your post, you defend your plants from over watering. I have my raised bed without wood for stoppers. I made a three feet by 15 feet bed for my eggplants and the same size for my tomatoes. Its just wonderful seeing those veggies grow as they must. :)

  13. My biggest problem is knowing what to plant! There are so many varieties of everything. Are there any “standards”? Thanks!

  14. @Gerald Landis,
    We have a raised garden & are doing vertical growing for tomatos, cucumbers & squash. My daughter planted some casper small pumpkins & we’ll be adding the vertical holders for her. It’s an awesome use of space!

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