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Simple Raised Garden Beds
Mark Schultz says he spent several years building and rebuilding raised beds before he arrived at what he considers his “ultimate” design. “It’s lightweight, strong, inexpensive to build, attractive, and virtually decay resistant,” Schultz says.
He uses corrugated metal for the sides so there isn’t any wood in contact with the soil to rot and deteriorate. The wood top framing is western red cedar, which also resists decay, although treated lumber also works well. Either is strong enough to walk on, yet light enough to pick up and move.
“I can make an 8-in. high 4 by 8-ft. raised bed using just one 8-ft. sheet of 24-in. wide corrugated metal,” Schultz says. The beds are easy to reach across, easy to cover with hoops for frost protection, and allow excellent control over soil quality. That leads to less watering, less fertilizing, less weeding, and more intensive planting.”
The raised beds he designed are ideal for what Schultz calls the Living Soil method of gardening. That concept includes fertility and mulch provided by chopped leaves, which also produces a thriving home for earthworms.
Schultz says his garden beds can be built for less than $50, depending on current material prices. He offers low-cost plans for the garden beds at his website. He’s adding an innovation in 2021 called “Bed Caps”, which can be clamped to or hinged onto the beds. Covered with 2 by 4-in. wire fencing, they provide deer and rodent protection and can also allow covering for insect control or extending a growing season.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, BackWood Basics, Mark Schultz (ph 218 556-1594; www.backwoodbasics.com; backwoodbasics@gmail.com).

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2021 - Volume #45, Issue #3