Building raised beds (a little late in the game)

First let me start by saying: The lot this house was built on was the rock pit for the subdivision, and if you dig more than about 2 inches into the dirt, you get rocks. Solid rocks. There's not much dirt to speak of, and tilling the "earth" for planting is a pain in the--well, everything. Plus, when you add dirt, it just filters into the rocks further to fill them in. As you can imagine, the entire yard got VERY dry this past summer!

So, raised beds are the way to go here. Combine this with the old lady with bionic joints, the younger lady (that'd be me) with old lady joints, and kneeling on the ground to plant a garden is simply out of the question. We need raised beds to be at least 18 inches tall (preferably closer to 2 ft) just to be able to reach them from a chair, which means extra wood and dirt expense to build the 4 ft x 48 ft raised garden we want in the side yard. I mean it's literally two to three times what we NEED, since we only NEED a raised bed to be 6-10 inches tall to begin with!

Mr. Moon and I recently saw a link to these raised beds on legs on Pinterest, and thought they were genius. I also thought I could modify the design slightly to have the legs be detachable without dismantling the actual "bed" portion of the box, so that "eventually" when we move we might be able to take these suckers with us! (This is a down side of our situation being so fluid, we could be building a huge vegetable garden just to be moving months or a couple years later.)

My brother and I were discussing this, and he suggested putting the bed-platforms on sawhorses, thereby eliminating the need to try to support half of a garden while dismantling legs--now we'd just need the ability to move the garden onto a rolling cart of some kind to get it into a truck. Of course, now my imagination is going wild about making these planters roll to begin with. But we can screw the wheels on at a later date when we're ready to move them, if we decide they're necessary.

My next hurdle is deciding what to use for the bottom surface of the platform. I don't want plywood glue dissolving over time and leeching into my food. I think my best bet at that point is to use the same cedar wood planks, space them a little apart for drainage, and call it good. But I'm not sure a) how large or small the spaces between my planks need to be; b) whether I should put a layer of something down to reduce soil loss; and if so, c) what would that even be? chicken wire? fabric? something else?

Then we need to determine sawhorse plans. The Family Handyman has sawhorse plans that both the first two look good--though the second one looks easier to stack, I think the first one would be easier to build. Especially if I substituted a 2x6 for the top piece of wood where the platform will be resting, to distribute the weight a little more.

At this point I am thinking: 2'x4'x10" beds built out of 1"x10" cedar planks; 1"x2" cedar plank bottoms placed width-wise with 4 inch gaps; hardware cloth with 1/4 inch holes, just like the interest tutorial says; straw; dirt!; homemade sawhorses.

My next step is to now take these measurements and figure out a wood and soil requirement per-bed and the whole project, and start saving up for the first couple beds. The nice thing about making them all individual, perhaps only sharing a few of the saw horses, is that we can save up for a couple at a time.

Considering we can't even get planting outside for about another 6 weeks, I hope we can have the first couple beds built by then. But I need to order my seeds tomorrow!


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