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How to build a raised bed (without spending any money)

I'm so excited to start gardening this spring at Pomegranate Alley Community Garden. Combined with the raised beds in my backyard, this community garden plot effectively doubles my vegetable growing capacity.

Of course, I had already jumped in and started pulling weeds when my husband reminded me to take a "before" photo. Here is a still weed-filled segment of the 4-foot by 20-foot plot:

Luckily, most of the weeds were small with shallow roots, so they came up easily.

As you can see, the edge of the plot is marked with bricks, but they're not exactly walls to hold soil above ground for a raised bed. Given current events, I'm feeling like I don't need any walls.

Instead, after weeding, we raked the native soil to the edges of the bed, mounding it to about 6-inches tall and wide.

Then we filled the interior of the bed with free compost from the community garden's compost pile. This makes the interior planting space only 3-feet by 19-feet, but I'm totally fine with that.

With just the two of us, the entire process took only 4 hours. As a final step to prevent any new weeds from taking over in the meantime before planting begins, we covered the entire soil surface with a thick layer of straw. I'll be checking soil temperature and keeping an eye on the weather in order to decide when to begin planting. Even with yesterday's snow, I have a feeling that the time for first spring planting is just around the corner.

#spring #howto #compost