Building a raised bed square foot garden...

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Topic by MT_Stringer posted 07-29-2013 12:50 PM 4250 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 1674 days
hardiness zone 8b

07-29-2013 12:50 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question raised beds

Hello. Although I have been lurking for months, this is my first official post.

I live in a typical subdivision just east of Houston, Tx. I am thinking about building a square foot vegetable garden…bout 2×6 foot. I have bad knees so I am thinking about raising it to about 30 inches above ground so it can be worked easily.

Do y’all think this is doable? Drawbacks?

If I build a frame and use cedar fence pickets for the sides and plywood for the bottom, I thought I could attach two layers of rigid foam insulation underneath and drill drain holes through the plywood and insulation at the same time. Winter temps aren’t too bad – low thirties with occasional dips into the upper 20’s every so often.

My goal is to grow salad stuff and maybe some beans and/or peas.

Your thoughts appreciated.

View daltxguy's profile


882 posts in 2971 days
hardiness zone 4a

07-29-2013 05:29 PM

Welcome Mike!

Yes, it’s certainly doable and will make your gardening easier.
I have bad knees as well, but garden on the ground. I don’t find a lot of need to get down on my knees but if I have to work close to the ground, I get out my trusty little stool and sit while I work – mainly planting.
Other things can be done with tools with long handles.

I lived in the Dallas area for 10 years (hence daltxguy) and with the winters there, I believe there is absolutely no need to insulate your raised garden. You can easily get a 10 month season – and that’s enough – or grow cold tolerant plants in winter, like kale etc.

You could try just piling up bales of hay or straw as your base and put earth right on top of it. It’ll drain, insulate and raise your bed at the same time. Eventually it will break down but you can keep adding straw to your bed and you’ll have great soil to grow in. The main problem in most areas of Tx is the alkaline, clay soil, which doesn’t drain well and which needs to be amended with compost to neutralize it and release the nutrients.

All the best in your endeavours!

-- Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves. - Thoreau

View nitepagan's profile


93 posts in 1688 days
hardiness zone 5a

08-03-2013 06:14 AM

It gets wicked hot in Houston, so I would water every day and maybe provide some shade for the plants. Grow stuff in early spring and then again into the fall. When my Mom was in Florida, she would grow stuff before and after the heat of the summer.

-- Steve, Carmel, Maine, USA (near Bangor) (Hardiness Zone 5a)

View JamesHou's profile


4 posts in 1650 days

08-15-2013 07:12 AM

Your idea is doable.
BUt 20inch off ground, it will take too much wood panels, unless you have enough material. And you also need much soil to fill the bed. If some hay first on the bottom, it will rot when temp higher, the soil will “sink”.
following pic is a kind of raised garden bed, it is a little complicated, but you can make it a little simple.

if you have interesting, the link below has some garden raised beds, you can have a visit.


View Tim's profile


16 posts in 1804 days
hardiness zone 6a

09-04-2013 05:26 PM

It’s definitely doable. I made mine 4 feet across by 12 feet wide and 36 inches high. Benefits are that it drains really well, the plants have so much room for the roots to grow that they grow really well and healthy, weeding is easy, and it keeps my garden plants up away from the pesticides and such that drain into my yard from my neighbors’ yards.

Downsides are it takes a lot of wood to build and a lot of soil to fill it. It took 5 cubic yards of soil to fill mine which was a lot of wheelbarrow loads. The plants also grow so high I need to climb up on the garden sides to harvest. A ladder would work too, but I don’t like to drag one out so I climb the sides.

Raised beds already warm up faster so I don’t think you’ll need the insulation either. I’d also stay away from plywood since it can have some nasty stuff in the glue that I wouldn’t want to eat. As Daltxguy mentioned a stool can avoid most any knee issues and no till gardening techniques can keep the weeds out so you don’t have to weed much at all anyway. Because of that, I’m not sure I’d do it again, and I’m not sure what I’m going to do when mine rots apart.

View arun's profile


2 posts in 1532 days

12-09-2013 10:49 PM

You can use old pallets or take a unused “Wooden Pallets” from industry and make use of it in your garden or outdoor living space. It is good supporting material for planting trees.

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