Gardening is a great way to get kids outside in the summer. My partner, Ann-Elise, and I tried to ensure bountiful harvests by building four raised beds and filling them with nutrient-enriched soil. The raised beds warm up faster in the spring and drain faster when it rains. They're also easier to weed, and it's harder to step on the seedlings. Ann-Elise once had a farm in Burlington's Intervale and worked for Gardener's Supply Company on and off for 11 years. These are her instructions for making one 8-by-4 foot bed. Attention dads: Just got a power drill for Father's Day? Here's a chance to use it.
- three 2-by-8-inch boards, cut to 8-foot lengths — cedar works best. Don't use pressure-treated wood.
- one, 2-by-4-inch board, cut to 4 feet
- measuring tape
- 24 3-inch screws
- power drill
- one yard of soil or raised bed mix
- Choose a flat spot with least four hours of direct sunlight per day for a vegetable garden.
- Measure the length and width of the plot to 8 feet by 4 feet. Dig a hole at least 4 inches deep at each corner.
- Divide the 4-foot-long board into four 12-inch pieces, then use the saw to cut them.
- Find the halfway point on one of the 8-foot boards, then saw the board in half.
- Place one of the 8-foot boards on its 2-inch edge on a flat surface. At one end, position a 4-foot board, also on its 2-inch edge, at a 90 degree angle. Create a leg by standing up one of the 12-inch pieces on the inside of the 90 degree angle. One end of the 12-inch piece will jut 4 inches above the lip of the bed.
- Use the drill to drive six screws into this 12-inch piece. Three should pass through the 8-foot board, the other three through the 4-foot board. Repeat this process in each of the corners with the other three 12-inch pieces.
- Bring the bed to the site and flip it over. Fit the 4-inch legs into the holes at the corners.
- Fill the bed with soil.