Imagine for a moment that you have finally got your tomatoes growing so well that the keen gardener up the street saw them and just had to call in and check them out. However after a couple of days of heavy rain your garden becomes water logged and your precious tomato bushes just curl over and die from too much water. Scratching your head you can not believe that too much water was the cause. However you soon realize that unless you can find a solution to your drainage problem then you are wasting your time growing tomatoes and most other vegetables as well.
After some research you decide that a Raised garden beds would solve your problem because as the garden is above the ground level it would allow for free drainage. So you retire for the night to dream about your next crop of big juicy tomatoes.
Next morning it dawns on you that you have no idea how to build a raised garden bed but consider yourself a bit of a handyman so it should not be too difficult. After further research you come up with the following requirements for a successful crop of tomatoes grown in a raised garden bed.
Site Selection And Size of Raised Garden Beds
Site selection is very important for your raised bed so you should pick an area that will get full sun most of the day as most vegetables including tomatoes grow best in full sun. A few vegetables however grow better in areas with a bit of shade so read the label on the seed packet or do a bit of research into what vegetables you wish to plant in your new garden beds. Bare in mind that you will also need access to all sides of your garden so be sure not to build it up against a fence unless you build a narrow bed that you can reach across with ease.
Remember that if you have to continually step on your garden to access it then this compacts the soil but with planning this can be minimized. So make your beds so that you can access them from the sides. Long and narrow beds are ideal. The depth of your vegetable bed is also worth considering as it will be determined by the type of vegetables you wish to grow. Some vegetables like carrots need deeper soil than others but a basic rule is the deeper you build it the better.
Next you will need to decide if you need to dig up the soil already in your garden bed or if it will deep enough when finished so you can just the cover the existing soil with cardboard or layers of newspaper to control the existing weeds.
Building Your Garden Beds
Now you have decided the size and depth of your raised garden beds it is time to decide what you are going to use to build them and how you are going to construct them. When I constructed mine I went the the timber yard and found out what size timbers were available and then planned everything around what was available to save cutting and wastage. If you use used timber you will need to make sure that it is rot-resistant because you do not want to have to do it all again in a couple of growing seasons.
What I did was create a simple frame and drove some stakes into the ground on the inside and bolted the frame to the stakes with the nuts on the outside so I could tighten them if they become loose. I have noticed that roofing companies are now building nice looking garden beds out of colored roofing iron which look quite impressive. It is important that you make sure you new garden bed is as level as possible in all directions so that water does not sit in the hollows or runs off other parts of the bed.