Raised gardens - cheap way to contain raised garden bed?

by Dale

What is an inexpensive way to contain a raised garden bed? I want something about 8-10" high. Cedar boards are very expensive. Maybe it's not necessary to contain a raised bed?

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May 15, 2009
Thinking the same about raised gardens
by: Oralia

I, too, am still pondering over how I'm going to start the raised bed or even if I need to border it.I watched a video online on how to create one and untreated wood was used. I don't think it mattered what kind as long as it was untreated. I've yet to go to the lumbar section of my home improvement store to find out which one is best price and size-wise. The lady in the video used 1x6x8, I believe, and had each piece cut in half, then she used brackets and screws (outdoor kind)to fasten each piece creating a 4ft box. She made several. I think the same principle could be applied to longer boxes so I wouldn't be cutting each plank. I would like to make maybe 4x10 size boxes. I would rather not make boxes at all and just start layering the newspaper, hay, etc but worry it would not contain itself. I will most likely be using the untreated wood. Good luck!
I would love to hear how things worked out.

May 15, 2009
Containing Raised Beds
by: dale

I think it's best to have boards that are 10" high, since most vegetables need that depth (and some ornamentals).

Most wood will rot if not sealed and painted, unless you buy cedar. Here in Ga. an 8' long board, 10" high, costs around $36. So, you would need two boards to make a 4'x4' bed. Then, there's the hardware, amendments, etc., so it gets expensive!

I have heard of someone using concrete blocks, but then you have to pay someone to deliver them.

I've just given up and am planting in pots (tomatoes and eggplants).

May 17, 2009
Railway sleepers
by: Stacey

Railyway sleepers last a long time ... they take ages to rot as they are made of hardwork. Ideal for a raised garden, or for borders.

May 17, 2009
Railway Sleepers
by: dale

What in the world are "railway sleepers?????"

May 17, 2009
Railway sleepers for raised gardens
by: Stacey

Hi Dale, railway sleepers are what they lay railway tracks on. Once they get too old, they replace them, and sell off the old ones (well, in Australia anyhow).

There are are number of places in Australia that sell old railway sleepers. I'm guessing it would be the same in America.

I just looked on Wikipedia:
and I see they call them "Railroad Ties" over your way.

They are very rot resistant; so hope you can get hold of some.

May 25, 2009
Containing a raisen garden bed
by: Megan

You can of course, use sweet all nothing... so technically it's not now a raised bed, but a no-dig bed, There's the patch of lawn, weeds or bare ground, and you just start laying down the layers. Water it first if possible, then down goes the wet paper, cardboard or howsomewhatever... and so on with the layers.

Now you've got an above ground mini lasagne dish! Yum, grow something to eat in it now.

The only time this is not so successful is if you have high winds to blow it around, lots of rain to wash it away, bit of a back/movement challenge so you have to stoop lower to garden, or if you find the lawn, weeds, dog, encroaching later. You can then make a bit of a path around it if you like.

You can also dig out some soil first, then do the no-dig layers, and it will all level off to ground level.

I've often used this method to plant flowers or smother weeds or grass around say, a letter box or bush. Just put a thick layer of paper, say 10-20 pages on, then pile up the mulch. Plant any flower seedlings in a good handful of soil through these layers.

May 30, 2009
"railway sleepers"
by: peacenique

I'm going to make a guess that "railway sleepers" are railway ties. However! Railway ties are completely saturated with crap you don't want leaching into your veggies! If I'm not mistaken, "creosote" comes to mind...
I've not done any yet, but, I have been admiring all the things people do with willow. It would cost nothing to make the sides of raised beds by weaving willow "hurdles". When you google that, I'm not referring to the pre-made willow fencing you can buy. You pound some willow branches into the ground in a line, and then weave smaller willow branches through them. I'm not sure if I'm explaining that well. Google it. It looks fabulous! I've come across pictures of compost piles surrounding this way too, and it looks so... ummm... natural. And better than cheap... FREE!

Jun 01, 2009
What to use for edge of raised bed gardens
by: Gavin

Macrocarpa, sometimes called Monterey Cypress from California, and found worldwide now, is a long lasting wood that is used untreated for raised beds. In Australia they use a hardwood Eucalyptus tree called Jarrah for railroad ties and in New Zealand they use a different hardwood called Totara. These hardwoods don't need preservatives as they last for ages. I understand the Oak in UK is similar.

All these woods are excellent for making raised garden beds. Enquire at sawmills, railroad yards, councils and garden centers, or advertise locally or Ebay etc.

Jun 02, 2009
Raised Bed Sides
by: Del

In the past I have used small pine tree logs as an edge. They will rot away eventually, and termites will get into them. If far enough away from the house you should be OK. Any kind of logs will do. Use some nails and put it together or if big enough roll cut them and roll the pieces together.

Jun 02, 2009
Cheaps rased bed
by: Louise

I have used old pallets for my no dig garden, pulled them all apart, then renailed them together. Beware whiteants do like them. I would advise you not to used painted or treated ones.
Cheers & happy gardening.

Jun 03, 2009
Cheap and Comfortable Raised Beds
by: Anonymous

I plant most of my herb seeds directly on raised beds. I also owned one third of a lumberyard 25 years ago and do my own thing when it comes to cheap.
First, treted lumber has for years contained no poison. Therefore, treated wood is OK to use and considerably cheaper than oak.
Second, if you are old or have problems bending or kneeling make your beds as high as you can comfortably work in them. I use surveyor stakes to keep stacked lengths of lumber secured by screwing them to ground driven stakes.
Third, I use old newspapers at the bottom of my raised beds, before adding soil, etc., in order to prevent grass or weeds from coming up. Its organic recycling, allows for drainage, its free and eventually decomposes. Use only 8 layers or more of newsprint paper, the glossy stuff is toxic.
Fourth, lay a soaker hose on your raised bed by snaking it among your rows. This will allow you yo water without wetting the leaves and prevents mold and fongus to occur. Use a quick connect system to attach to your regular hose.
All my beds are 4 foot wide, 16 inches high and 16 feet long. My supporting surveyor stakes rise 6 inches above the beds, so I could raise them another 8 inches, with 2 X 8 boards and screws.


Jun 03, 2009
From Manuredepot.com
by: Adina

I am growing in raised beds. Some are made with 2x10's untreated, and when they rot they rot. I have tried 1x10's but I find that the weight of the filling inside the box is too much for such light weight wood.
I have other raised beds that are simply mounds, that is no sides. during the growing season I use straw sheets off of a bale of straw to help hold the sides in, By sheets I mean how the straw comes off the bale in compressed flat squares, I don't pull them apart. I have also had great raised mound gardens with nothing holding the sides up.
Anything strong will work. I have sandy soil, but I wonder if people with clay soil could use the unamended clay soil for sides to hold in their garden soils.
Concrete blocks would work, but the concrete will leach alkalinity into the garden.

Jun 03, 2009
Raised bed idea
by: Lori

How about old car tyres? Here in Australia we have to pay to get rid of them, as do the service stations and auto repair places. Stack them carefully like bricks, along the edge of the garden you want to raise, filling them with soil. Plant into the centres of the tyres - low plants or herbs that will spill over the edges and hide the tyres, and plant out your garden behind (which has been built up from old newspapers, cardboard, rotted weeds, old hay, seaweed, vegetable scraps if you don't have chooks to feed them to, whatever you can get hold of, with some good soil on top. The bed will sink as the layers underneath compost down, but just keep adding more to feed your plants.
The car tyre edging can look good if you stack carefully, is strong and will last for almost forever.

I've also used car tryes to build terraces in uneven ground in our backyard.

By the way, tyres have also been used for house building in some places, and we have used truck and tractor tyres to build a causeway so we can cross the river which divides one side of our farm from the other.

Jun 03, 2009
by: djohnston@slingshot.co.nz


Jun 03, 2009
Containing raised beds
by: Steve A

I use rough sawn timber sold for shuttering when pouring concrete, this is a lot cheaper than buying planed finished wood.You can treat it first
if you want or just replace when it rots.
Many builders discard this wood when they finish pouring foundations etc and it is sometimes possible to beg it for free. It takes a bit of hard ork to get the cement off, but generally this is on one side of the boards and you can face this side outward.

Jun 03, 2009
Vegetable Root Lengths
by: AJAD

Many Vegetable roots grow to a depth of 50 cm, some to 100 cm.

A no dig bed using common 20cm deep x 5 cm wide timber with a weed prevention mat of newspaper at ground level would inhibit good vegetable growth.

It is recommended earth contained inside the bed is double dug to loosen any compacted soil and provide suitable vegetable root depth with adequate aeration. When you double dig and place the top surface upside down in the place where the 2nd level of dig was made you will make green compost out of any weeds and will not need a newspaper barrier.

Jun 03, 2009
Re:Double Digging
by: Del

Double Digging is not an option for some of us who live on "hard pan". The soil is too hard to double dig. One of the advantages of raised beds is that no digging is required. Just build the bed higher.

As to cheap edging, the suggestion to use hay bales is a good one. You can also rake up leaves, pine straw, grass clippings, etc. to create the edge.

Jun 04, 2009
raised beds
by: gileil

I have just started to build a no dig garden using the raised beds method. For the side walls I used several left over 900mm Colorbond roofing sheets, cut in half down the middle, making 2 beds approx 4000m x 1000m x 450m. The sides are supported by hardwood 2x4 posts in corners and half way down long lengths. I have covered the bottom with alot of newspaper and cardboard, easily soaked in all the Sydney rain we have been having. I have just now located a source of cheap lucerne, straw and pooey compost at a local feed supplier. So far so good!

Does anyone know if slightly mold damaged lucerne is okay for using in veggie gardens?

Jun 05, 2009
Spuds and no dig
by: Les Boucher

G’Day folks,
I’ll start this by answering “gileil” first…You will have no worries with using mold(mould) damaged Lucerne on your veggie garden. If you think about what happens when you add it to your garden or compost and combined it with some manure it starts to break down this is caused by the same process that you are seeing on your already damaged Lucerne. Basically as it breaks down with say cow manure it becomes the Mushroom compost that you pay through the nose for through a garden outlet. It also has one other advantage for the home gardener…..Because it is “Damaged” and can’t be fed to stock and so,it is often cheaper to buy for the gardener.
I have also used old tyres for growing spuds (potatoes). As Lori mentioned it is a matter of stacking the tyres on top of each other. Start with one or two tyre’s placed on a bed of wet paper or cardboard and fill it in the same way that you would build a normal raised garden bed making sure that you fill “INSIDE” of the tyre and not just the centre. In this you plant your “seed” potatoes making sure that you plant some around the inside edge of the tyre. I’ll digress just a little here to warn you to use certified seed potatoes rather than ones from the supermarket as, you just don’t know what has been used on them and what you are importing into your garden. If you can get organically grown potatoes so much the better. Now back to growing. As the shoots appear above the soil in your garden, (Tyre), place the second tyre on top of the first. Once the shoots are showing their tops above the second tyre you can fill that with more compost, straw, manure etc. Just make sure that you leave the top couple of leaves of the plant above the surface of the soil. I know that sounds simple but I have seen them covered completely up and then had people wonder why they weren’t growing. Hmmmmm...I wonder...LOL. From here it is just a matter of repeating the tyre building process as the shoots grow until your stack is at the height that suits you and is stable. Once the tops of the shoots wither and turn brown you can either push the whole bundle over to harvest your crop or remove the tyres one at a time. Make sure that you check inside of the tyres as Potatoes love the dark warmth in there. The left over soil or mulch (compost) can then be put over you other garden beds.


Jun 15, 2009
by: Les Boucher

Just an idea for anyone who has access to a quantity of water damaged straw bales; these could also be used as walls for your no dig garden. Place them on their side and, you can make your garden any length or breadth that you desire and it is a fast way to erect it. They have the advantage of thermal mass (keeping your soil at a constant temperature) as well as allowing you to use them, as you are filling them with your goodies, to support an overnight cover to frost burn and in extreme cases overnight snow damage of your crops. Just remove the cover in the morning to allow the light in.
The only problem that I can see is with stability but, this could be easily overcome by placing a Tomato stake or star (dropper) post through the middle of the bale. One at each end would be even better.
When your straw bale garden has finally reached the stage where the bales no longer support the soil inside (that should take at least a year or two... maybe even three) then the straw, which will be full of worms, can either be spread over your other gardens or, combined with manure and used as fill in the next garden bed that you erect with your next load of bales.
As I said, this is just a thought but, I am always on the lookout for damaged ( read CHEAP) bales all of the time......I’m a cheap skate..wink...LOL

Jun 15, 2009
by: Les Boucher

G'Day Dale, have you thought about using old tyres? The retailers, here in Australia, have to pay to dispose of them after they have fitted new tyres to the family transport.For this reason alone they are more than willing to give you any amount that you want. You would also be doing your bit for the planet by recycling and,they will last a lifetime. You can also paint them any colour that your like so that they don't look out of place.
If you think outside of the square you should be able to get car tyres,truck tyres or even tractor tyres. It all depends on what size would suit the area that you have available and, speaking from personal experience, the worms love them as well.
I hope that this helps to solve your problem in some small way.

Jul 02, 2009
Railway sleepers - What are They
by: Helpful

When you look at a railway line you will see that the rails lay across a "Sleeper" which they are fixed too.

That is a railway sleeper

Jul 03, 2009
Discarded Lucerne or Hay
by: Jona

My local feed store where I buy hay for my horses, allows me to gather lose hay off the floor and bag it to take home, which I then use in my raised garden.

Jul 04, 2009
Besa blocks
by: Anonymous

BESA blocks (also known as cinder or ash blocks) can work well if you have decent enough soil beneath where you are putting it - just surround area with besa blocks, then put down cardboard/paper to kill the grass, then layer with lucerne/mulch/soil etc and instant garden. Plus you can fill in the holes with soil and grow herbs or small plants around the edge (like strawberries)- more growing space plus this can pretty them up a little)

Jul 10, 2009
treating boards in Ga
by: Gaboy

I have a raised garden in Ga and use pine boards that I treated with lint seed oil. This is a natural oil and will keep wood from rotting for a long time. This was the first wood treatment. Cheap wood-cheap treatment. Good Luck

Jul 10, 2009
Linseed oil
by: Anonymous

use linseed oil to treat your lumber

Jul 23, 2009
by: pam

I use treated landscape timbers from menards. I add 40lb bags of compost manure, top soil and peat humas to fill the bed.

Jul 23, 2009
by: Anonymous

I would stay away from the old railroad timbers etc... they can be loaded with toxins. Newer treated landscape timbers from menards, wal-mart etc... are healthy for vegies and you lol. Add good compost after taking out the grass in bed and you should be set to grow.

Aug 28, 2009
by: Anonymous

for the sake of the wildlife that live in it and the people who want to live on this planet after we're dead, please stay away from anything with peat.

Aug 28, 2009
Peat substitute
by: Les Boucher

With Peat being a "non renewable source" it is up to us, as gardeners, to find an alternative product that will do the same job. For those who are wondering who this Peat guy is ;-)....LOL . The following link will allow anyone interested in finding out more about this natural product http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peat

Personally I use "Coconut Fibre" which many nurseries carry in block form as either a mulch or garden conditioner and which is a by product of coconut production. This block is then placed into a container of water where it swells to around three times its compressed size. I have found, through use of this product that if I add a small amount of liquid fertilizer (a combination of Fish and Seaweed emulsions) to the water as the fibre reconstitutes it will impregnate the fibre with these products. I then combine this with either vermiculite or pearlite and use it as a seed raising mix.

While I am on the subject of raising seedlings and for those who only wish to produce a small amount of plants without having to resort to building or purchasing a hot house I have been experimenting lately with resealable storage bags. These can be as small as lunch bags as long as they have the resealable “clip lock” type top on them they seem fine. Being a scavenger I tend to have a collection of pots and seed punnets laying around the place all of the time. I have even been known to buy seedlings from time to time.....but don’t tell anyone will you...LOL.
After I have cleaned a seed punnet I partially fill it with my mixture from above and place seeds on top before covering it lightly with the same mixture. Instead of watering it there and then I place something in the punnet to keep the bag raised away from the top of the punnet and then place it into the bag. At this stage it is looking a little like an open sided tent. It is now that I place a small amount of water into the bag and then seal it completely. This allows the water to form a vapour within the bag and water the plant from the bottom as it absorbs whatever amount of water it requires without compressing the layer of mix that you have placed over your seeds. The whole thing is then placed in a shady / warm place until your seedlings have started to show. After your seedlings start to show their heads above the soil mix you can open the bag a little to allow a small amount of air to enter the bag to reduce the risk of fungal infections and when ready, the plants can either be transplanted to a larger pot or directly to the garden.
Where I live we are a week or so out from spring and, using this method, I currently have rock melons, passionfruit and tomatoes ready to plant out tomorrow. The tomatoes have been in tube stock for about 6 weeks and have long beautiful roots that will give my plants a head start on any plants purchased from a nursery.

Sep 09, 2009
Raised garden beds
by: Connie

Shops now get some fruit and vegetables in large polystyrene boxes. Does anyone know if there is any reason why a combination of these cannot be used as raised garden beds?

Oct 17, 2009
Lawn clippings?
by: Anonymous

Would lawn clippings work in place of hay/lucerne??

May 12, 2010
Plastic Containers from DIY store
by: Donna

We're doing it on the cheap considering the size of our garden space (20'x25' - feeding 7 kids) and lack of time to build from scratch, we purchased 74 containers that are 20"x20"x12 for about $15 each. Even though it adds up, the cost for kits was astronomical for our space.

Jun 04, 2010
Polystyrene boxes for garden
by: Meg

It works well using polystyrene boxes to grow plants in. I grow lots of veg on my decking and I find these foam boxes easy to move around and they are well insulated.
I put the boxes on slats of wood because my decking is concrete and I need to keep the boxes off the ground for drainage, but you could use bricks or jar lids and so on!
The boxes are often tossed out by shops, so it's a free resource - always welcome.

Mar 24, 2011
Raised Garden
by: Anonymous

I have just started a company creating Raised Garden Kits, they fit together with a pin each croner and don;t need screws or nails. Because there modular you can keep adding on and make different shapes and sizes. Have a look at www.homegrow.ie

Mar 27, 2011
raised bed
by: roy willmond


Apr 02, 2011
baby pool
by: Anonymous

You can use an old baby pool. Cut lots of holes in the bottom for roots and drainage.

I haven't tried this from personal experience, but saw it on another site - sounded good to me!

Apr 03, 2011
really cheap but temporary raised bed
by: Kelly

i used free dresser drawers from our recycle yard.
removed bottom of 3 drawers and used the "shell'.Set this shell in garden area ( over dirt area) and filled with compost and planting mix and slow released fertilizer.
The wood lasted 2 planting seasons. I dismantled shells and returned wood to yard waste container.
My reason for this effort--have bad back and access to the raised beds was easier for me...

Apr 06, 2011
Use Garden Soil Bags
by: Annie

You can use the big bags that the soil comes in. Just poke holes in one side of the bag for drainage, lay it on the ground, cut the top out and plant right in the bag. When you're done, just pick up the bag and discard. This works great for herbs, lettuce and other vegetables that are not deep rooted.

Apr 13, 2011
raised beds
by: baglady

straw bales too dear to use alas.We are using fresh manure from our horses, put into a pit and then covered in soil a foot thick. in a polytunnel the heat, co2, and nitrates get crops up very fast. Trying this outdoors too to make hot raised beds, it is a way of biofiltering the ammonia that would otherwise fume off and make acid rain. The same method heats the polytunnel but beware ammonia fumes if the heap is not enclosed in soil.. I use polystyrene Fishboxes, the salmon ones will make good tabletop strawb and tomato containers and they and some others would stack , you could put holes in bottoms and sides and make raised strawberry walls for a raised bed.The fishstink goes fast in rain.

Jul 05, 2011
Don't use tyres or old sleepers when growing food products!
by: Anonymous


I was investigating the safe use of railway sleepers for my new landscaped garden and i noticed people saying that many old sleepers are full of chemicals, so don't use for growing food products or if children/animals etc are around.

But also i noticed comments about people using tyres for growing food products in but that you shouldn't do this as chemicals also leach out of tyres.

So before growing food stuffs in tyres or raised sleeper beds please do some research to see how safe they are to use.

Keep safe!!!

Jul 05, 2011
Unusual container--free
by: Kelly

Recycle yard--old plastic ice chest--(no lid) with little drain opening on bottom.
I put coffee filter over drain hole on inside. mixed planting mix and soil and fertilizer, watered well and planted Bush Beans seedlings.
In six weeks I have had two crops. (enough for two people for dinner.)
We had 2 days of "searing" heat so i just pulled whole chest into
shade area and watered well.

Jul 06, 2011
placing veg in raised bed
by: Pearl

I have a 4X14X12 bed. It ran about $65 not counting the soil. I do not know how far plants should be placed apart.

Jul 09, 2011
Planting in raised beds
by: Anonymous

Pearl, just follow the instructions on seed packets for the distance to plant. If you already have seedlings to plant out, just picture in your mind how big the vege grow and space accordingly. For example, picture a cabbage, and then allow that space between planting your cabbage seedlings. I crowd my vege a bit which helps keep weeds away and stops birds messing up the soil.

Aug 06, 2011
on treated wood
by: Anonymous

If you are concerned about using treated wood you can line (staple) the inside of your bed with thick black bin liners. This has a few benefits like keeping your wooden frame dry(er) and can help insulate the soil - good for those of us with itching green fingers in the colder months. You could take a broom handle (or similar), staple some clear plastic sheeting to it, then staple to the raised bed wooden frame, roll the sheeting up around your broom handle and bingo, you have yourself a cold frame for you seedlings. Just be sure to support the sheet against rain. A few drainage holes and extra supporting sticks across the bed should do it.

Nov 05, 2011
Railway ties/sleepers
by: Anonymous

There appears to be concern about using old railway ties/sleepers as borders for garden beds. The suggestion is that creasote and other nasty chemicals used to treat the timber will leach in to the surrounding soil. HIGLY unlikely! These timbers have been directly exposed to the weather for, in many cases, more than 50 years. Whatever is left in the timber is going to stay there for another 50 years or more! The real problem with these timbers is that, because they were usually cut from hardwoods (teak, mahogany etc.)they are extremely expensive because they make excellent furniture timber, exactly because they have such long weathering and low moisture content, therefore they are extremely dimensionally stable.

Dec 04, 2011
Cinder Blocks
by: Larry

At the end of summer my neighbor had an old well house built out of cinder blocks that was no longer in use. She knew I always saved old bricks and cinder blocks as I have a pile of them on my property. One day she asked me if I wanted the blocks and if so I could have them if I tore it down. I took a crow bar and hammer to test the hardness of the mortar, I was surprised to find the mortar broke away fairly easy! It took me a couple days to tear it down and chip away the old mortar! I ended up with about 70 blocks. I decided to build a raised bed out of them for next summers garden.I ended up just stacking them on top of each other rather than using mortar in case I changed my mind about the location. Ended up stacking them three high,(12 blocks in length and 6 blocks in width) I have started putting lawn clippings and mulched leaves in it, and it is now full....I have been keeping it wet between rains and was wondering if I need to add anything to speed up the composting process for next summer? I have been adding kitchen leftovers all along also.

Dec 05, 2011
Great idea--plus composting advice
by: Kay

Look on this site for composting ideas..DONOT add meat to you "pile'
So what are you going to plant? Spring??
What is you climate like???

Jul 28, 2012
Decking Boards
by: Anonymous

Use Decking Boards to build a raised bed.

Aug 20, 2012
old rain water tanks
by: linda


Dec 01, 2012
Old 1960's Ice Skating Rink
by: Anonymous

Planning on turning my old ice skating rink into a raised garden bed. It's made of steel (I think) and is presently in a roll. It should work out perfectly this coming spring.

Dec 01, 2012
Ice skating rink as raised garden bed
by: Anonymous

Sounds intriging, hope you post a picture here of it when it's done, would like to see it !

Mar 26, 2013
Cheap Raised Bed Borders
by: Anonymous

I've used just about anything to make borders for my raised beds. One of the most abundant borders I've found is also FREE! I pickup furniture (bookshelves, cribs, dressers, etc.) that people have set out for the garbage man. Once I get them home and depending on the specific piece of furniture, I may have to break it apart or, in the case of a dresser or bookshelf, just take out the drawers or shelves and take off the back pieces. Using old furniture is FREE and its preventing the items from taking up space in a landfill. Further, much furniture today is made from "press board," wood chips that are pressed with glue into a solid. In south Florida, these containers rarely last more than two years but that's okay because they waste away to nothing... rather, they mulch themselves back into nature. The rotting press board also makes great fodder for the Lasagna-type beds mentioned elsewhere on this website.

May 17, 2013
Raised beds
by: terbe

I have used cement or cinder blocks for my raised beds. I have been doing it for about ten or more years. You can make it as high or long as you like.

Aug 18, 2013
Shipping Pallets for Raised Beds.
by: Stephen Bullmeat

I have three businesses that send truckloads of busted pallets to the dump. They are more than happy to let me have them. They are mostly hardwood so they are strong and last for years.

I slice up the left and right edges inside the rails so I have 40" +- slats which I gently pry from the center rail. then I use the rails as "studs" and the slats as "siding". I put the rails on the outside and used nails to assemble walls and screws & mending angles (building supply houses knowwhat you need) to secure the corners. I cut steel EMT conduit to 2' lengths and hammered them into the ground a foot to hold the "studs" in place.

My beds are 42" wide x 30' long and I have 20" between beds. The whole of My 6 beds cost me about 20 hours of work (including rolling the pallets 2 blocks from the source) , $20 in nails, screws and hardware and I have 315 SQ FT in each of 6 boxes for 1890 total SQ FT of fresh anything I want.

I used electric fence wire and EMT tube to make rock solid trellises @ $40 and free sawdust from a local mill. Add 20 5 gallon buckts of chicken manure from the local egg producer and it took 6 months over the winter to make the richest loam you ever ran your fingers through.

Counting Gas to travel, I spent a hundred bucks and got a pizza and a six pack as change.

Sep 05, 2013
Ponga Raised Gardens
by: Colleen

I'm a social worker in Schools and am putting together a vege garden project at 2 of my schools and looking for the cheapest options for building raised gardens there. I will be using the old school pool for these and also utilising the fence line (raised garden for climbing veges). This area has horses roaming hence the reason for using the pool area.

Is there anyone out there that can give me suggestions. Ponga, we live in the native bush area why I'm looking at that medium for the gardens but open to any suggestions.


May 30, 2014
worms and compost
by: maggie

Is it viable to have both a compost and a worm garden, I am just learning all of thisand do not want to be doing extra work if I don't need to.

Oct 23, 2014
by: Anonymous

Not sure if it is available everywhere but in Australia we can buy "waxwood" timber.
This is timber treated with wax an no chemicals so it is perfectly safe to use around vegetable gardens. I used waxwood sleepers to build my raised vegetable garden beds.


I would not take a chance with old railway sleepers and certainly not use "treated" pine logs or pallets as these have traditionally been treated with things such as copper or arsenic. Probably goers for tyres too. Why take the chance?

Of course you can used many recycled materials quite safely or just buy the kits of metal containers which will of course eventually rust, but then timber will eventually rot.

Aug 30, 2015
metal roofing
by: Hugh Conway

We have very rocky, inert soil....glacial till.....won't grow anything or hold water.
Raised beds are a must. In the past, we used cedar slabs to make 4 X 8 ft beds around 10 inches deep. The wooden sides eventually rot and become home for root-eating insects, then they fall apart. Our cedar slab supply ran out. We had some old metal roofing panels, about 3 ft wide and 8 ft long.
Folded the panels in half to make an inverted "V". "V" adds strength to the sides too. Cut one panel into 2ea 4 ft bits for the end panels, and used 8 ft pieces for the sides. Some old 3 inch plastic plumbing pipe or hardwood 4 X 4 makes up the corners......panels screwed to the corner pieces. Makes raised beds about 18 inches high. Slugs stay out, dog does not walk into the beds, they have performed very well for several years now, do not rot. Free except for the screws.

Nov 20, 2015
easy peasy pallets
by: Paula

I live on a fixed income. I love and have to garden. My husband picks up pallets, heat treated of course and I do not disassemble them at all, I just plant in between the squares (I don't use the pallets with the slats too close together). I till the ground a little first then lay down cardboard free from the dollar and set pallets down just as they are connecting them to each other in a row. Then I seal the ends with scrap wood and/or a couple of cinder blocks and start lasagna layering and poof! garden done and seeds planted. Done...
In the winter I attach PVC hoops with cheap brackets about $4 for package of 10 at home depot and the plastic cover is also very cheap at home depot. I just cover the hoops with the plastic and hold it down with cinder blocks when a freeze is coming and uncover pulling it
off to just 1 side in the daytime.
Then I remove the PVC and plastic and store them away for the summer. This has lasted me 3 years already and it's still holding up. To me, it just doesn't get any cheaper and easier then this. I have my garden and chicken yards connected with a pallet gate of course and let my chickens go in the garden yard in between season planting to take care of the bugs and and loosen up the soil for me while I clean their coop out. I keep their old bedding and turn some of it into the beds and the rest goes to the compost bin also made from pallets.

Feb 18, 2016
Cement Siding Raised Beds NEW
by: Daler in WA State

I managed to get some 8 inch wide by 10 foot length cement Hardi~Board siding and am trying it out. It is rather cheap to buy at the big stores, like Home Depot, for about $10 or less. It's only about 3/8 inch thick so I drove wooden stakes in along the out sides and that holds it quite well. That stuff is not supposed to rot so it should last for a long time. We live in western Washington and it gets soaked here over the winter months and we're always fighting rot problems. I personally would never use treated wood for growing food cedar sucks the nutrients out of soil and kills plantlife. So we are left with regular white wood that rots. Another idea for cheapness is to gather 8-10 inch diameter rocks from around your area. I have made many good raised beds for free with rocks. All it costs is gas and effort.

Jun 12, 2016
What to use for a raised bed NEW
by: Anonymous

Would old tires be suitable to use for a raised bed garden?

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