Editor's Note: This tip comes from our new "Prepare for Anything Survival Manual."
A raised bed garden can provide you with a surprising amount of food from a very small space, and it works in a variety of climates. This type of versatile garden bed can tackle a number of common problems in gardening, as it can make for good drainage in rainy climates and warmer roots in cold climates. Here’s how you can set up a 32-square-foot (10-square-m) raised bed garden.
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Your local home-improvement store should have everything you need, but you may already have some of these things at home, too. Grab a deer fence and assemble the following supplies:
- Six 2x8x8 boards, 2x8 inches (5x20 cm) and 8 feet (2.5 m) long
- Small box of 16 penny nails (labeled 16d) or 3-inch (8-cm) deck screws
- Chicken wire
- 30 square feet (9 sq m) of garden soil (usually 15 bags)
- Seeds or seedlings for high-calorie crops
Pick a Spot to Build
Pick a site with at least eight hours of uninterrupted direct sunlight per day. Less than that will greatly reduce your production. To build your frames, cut one of your boards in half lengthwise. Nail or screw the ends of your short pieces to two long boards to create a rectangle. Repeat with the second set of boards and stack them for height. Align the long axis on a north-south line so that sunlight hits both sides.
Dig the Sod
Make marks on the ground that match the dimensions of your frame, and remove any grass, weeds, and roots by digging. You’ll need to dig 3–4 inches (8–10 cm) down to get most of the roots, and be diligent. Use the debris in your compost pile.
Fill in Your Garden Bed
Place your wooden frame over some chicken wire (to keep pests from burrowing up) on the ground you have prepared. Fill the frame with your garden soil and plant your seedlings or seeds. Water the bed deeply every couple of days.