Sunday, March 22, 2009

How to Build a Raised Bed Vegetable Garden: Step 3 - Building a Grid

In case you've hit this link off of Google, or are just now poppin' by, here's a recap of the previous links:


Step 1: Build a Box
Step 2: Dirt Mix
Step 3: Add a Grid (for Square Foot Gardening only - you're here!)
Step 4: Planning the Plants

Click HERE for all the Year One 2009 Square Foot Vegetable Garden Updates

Now that the beds are laid out and filled with dirt, it's time to lay out the grids for Square Foot Gardening. A 4 x 4 bed will have 16 grids.

Initially I had planned to use some wood slats to lay out my grid. Those would have been attached with screws to the top of the wood, and actually become a permanent, but removable part of the garden box. But because I used the 2" x 8" wood instead of the 2" x 6", the soil in my box fell just slightly under from reaching the top.

I decided to pull out some old window blinds that were stored in the corner of the closet gathering dust and use the slats from those to mark my grids instead. That way I could just lay them out inside the box and not have to worry with building up the soil to the top of the box. Mel's book on Square Foot Gardeningwhich is the model I'm following, swears that we only really need 6 inches of soil to grow anything and my soil in the 8 inch high boxes is just at about 7 inches. The book shows how to build a grid using wood slats that is easily removable and can be folded and stored over the winter and reused next year.

Now one thing that I did learn was that the method suggested in the book for making the boxes that involved staggering the way the corners are aligned, also cut into the internal size of the box slightly - meaning that basically I lost about an inch. Just shift the ruler slightly over and lay your grid a foot apart from each other.

Since these blinds were smaller than 4 feet across and not quite long enough to reach across the box, I just laid one slat on top of another.

Since this time of year that we're prepping our gardens is generally pretty windy, I just used some long nails to help with securing the blinds down into the dirt, until I get some plants in there and they grow!

... and I used the existing shade holes to secure the slats into the dirt a bit.

Add another set of slats at the 2 foot mark.

And at the 3 foot mark.

And continue until the full grid has been laid out.

Wala! You now have your first square foot garden laid out and ready to plant!!

Next: Planning Your Plantings


  1. What an amzaing bed... LOl that sound bad I meant flower bed :). I so would love to do that in the back yard, hubby has been fighting me on it. I would love to have fresh veggies instead of running to the store ;).

    Thank you so much for stopping by I really appreciate you entering my contest.


  3. Thanks for visiting my blog.

    I'm loving this idea of raised garden beds. Thanks!

  4. What a great idea! I've been thinking of getting some of the Earth Boxes. (I think that's what they're called?) You have a fabulous blog!

  5. Thanks everybody! I have really enjoyed venturing into this way of gardening and blogging about it. Hopefully it will inspire someone else. I have had such problems with disease and bugs the past 2 years so I'm hoping this way will work much better. I got most of the 2 boxes planted today and will finish the bigger one tomorrow (hopefully) so wish me luck!!

  6. Thanks for all the detail on the how-to's. I'll need them when I get around to putting mine together. Hopefully that will be the first of April. I love how you give such good instructions with your blogs.

  7. Hey Shaylynn! I just got my plants and seeds finished up today so I'll be posting that segment probably later today. My hope in doing this is that it helps other folks who are lookin' to do something like this. I REALLY love these raised box gardens and can't believe that I didn't just do them before. I "sort of" did one before but it was nothing like these and I was using my own soil and amending it. This soil is fantastic! Now, keep your fingers crossed that I can defeat the bugs and blight and actually have a good crop this year!!

  8. Love the idea of using old blinds.I have plenty and did not know what to do with them. My raised bed is not looking so good. After reading/viewing your post,I am ready to clean it up and get started. thanks.

  9. Hi Auntie E! I am so happy that this has inspired you!!! The blinds worked out perfect and I truly love this square foot gardening grid - I really think it makes a difference in the overall feel of the garden. I wish you a fantastic harvest!!!


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