Three months after beginning a plan for our new vegetable garden and purchasing seeds, and one month after creating the square foot layout, and making the raised beds, we can finally get the vegetable beds prepared for the square foot method. The tomatoes have been growing for over 8 weeks and are languishing on our deck, so its time to get rolling! We are already two weeks into the growing season for Colorado so we can’t waste any more time or we’ll be harvesting in October.
WEED FREE ZONE
The worst thing about my previous attempts at a vegetable garden were weeds, weeds and more weeds. To keep weeding to a minimum in the new installation weed fabric surrounds all the beds.
All beds are installed with 18″ stakes nailed to each side keeping the sides level.
- Weed Fabric 4′ x 50′
- Fabric staples
- Wooden Stakes 3/4″W x 18″H
- Galvanized ring shank nails 1 3/8″L
- Staples (1/4 to 1/2″)
- Wedges (this can be any material to wedge beneath the bed to bring up to level).
- Sledge hammer
Setting the beds.
To get the best results you should weed and rake the area prior to setting the beds. The area should be relatively flat. In our case the area slopes to the north so the north end of the beds will have to be raised to achieve level.
Once you have the area prepared, set the beds so that you leave at least a foot between each bed to allow room to for maintaining the beds. I left 1.5 to 2 feet between each bed. Note* if you plan to use weed barrier underneath your beds to reduce any chance of weeds growing in the beds you will want to install the weed barrier before laying out your beds.* If you chose to leave the bottom of the beds open, set the beds first. Then you can begin installing the weed fabric for the walkways between each bed. You will want to leave extra length of fabric that will wrap underneath each bed’s sides and be stapled to the inside of the beds to keep weeds from growing under the bed wood. Use fabric staples to keep the fabric in place, and be sure to overlap pieces to keep all areas covered.
Next you will pound in stakes at the center of each side. This will help keep the wood from bowing. Place the extra length of weed fabric between the stake and the board.
Once all sides have a stake, you can level each side. Use the level to measure each side, and put wedges where need to raise a side. Making sure you maintain level will make beds easier to water and add soil. With each side on level, begin nailing the stake to the bed using the galvanized nails. At least two should be used. You can then begin to staple the extra weed fabric to the insides of the beds. Staple the fabric at least 1″ below the top of the board so it will be hidden by soil.
You are ready to add soil!
See my next post for the soil mixture and planting the beds.