A Raised Bed in Twenty Seconds or Less


I am not a builder of raised beds.  Pile up some compost and plant straight into it, that's what I like.  I think straw bales make a perfectly fine raised bed (and leave you with some nice compost at the end of the season for mulch).  When Fine Gardening was in town a couple of years ago, they made a video about my little straw bale garden, which you can watch here if you're not clear on the concept.

But I'm shifting some things around in my garden, and there's a spot by my kitchen door where I thought a raised bed would be nice for growing a few salad greens and herbs.  The garbage cans get dragged past this little area, and we tend to use it as a staging area for any kind of messy home improvement project we might be in the middle of.  So putting some structure around this bed seemed like a better idea than just making a mound and planting into it.

So the people at EarthEasy asked me if they could send me a raised bed to try out, and I said sure, bring it on.  It was time to get going on that little salad garden anyway.  They sent two–one for me and one for Genevieve Schmidt–and we assembled them in my garden.



The video pretty much says it all.  No hardware, just slots and pegs. The wood is untreated cedar.  They are stackable, and while you could screw in some brackets to hold the stacks together, I'm not sure it's necessary–probably the mass of the soil and plant roots, combined with the expansion of the wood as it settles in and gets wet, will be enough to keep the whole thing upright.  (Oh, and if you want to see the full length, unedited version of our assembly process, where it is much more apparent that I stood around and made Gen do all the work, go here.)

And yes!  We have not one, but two, to give away!  If you'd like a 4 x 8 raised bed from EarthEasy, you're going to have to work for it.  Poetry!  I demand poetry! A limerick, a haiku, a rhyming couplet–something!  You can do it.  Or–you could go to Gen's blog, North Coast Gardening, where she's also giving one away, and try your luck over there.)


  1. a new garden project I do not need,
    my list of “to-do’s” is endless.
    but a raised bed would make me
    fix salads a’plenty,
    and healthier I just might be!

    Please pick me!!

  2. Did you say limerick?

    My beds are not raised; they’re on the ground.
    So to garden I must crawl around.
    My back would thank you,
    And I would too,
    If for me a raised bed were found!

  3. Stunted veggies grow
    Roots rejected by hard clay;
    Caliche below.

    Friable soil spread,
    An ineffective blanket.
    Lift the tilthy sheets!

    Lush turgidity
    Chard, tomatoes, Princess peas
    Rest in their raised bed.

  4. at mulching, it seems I am good,

    and lord knows, there is still so much wood,

    at the rate of my forking

    my back is now torqing

    a raised bed helps? it should!

  5. A big change from our urban apartment
    Is living out on this suburban escarpment
    I’ve double-dug so much dirt
    It sure wouldn’t hurt
    To have a big cedar-board soil compartment!

  6. Do Not Plant Your Beans in the Clay

    Do not plant your beans in the clay
    They will wither, falter, and droop,
    Build ye a raised bed before break of day.

    Wise gardeners have no need to spray
    and they amend the soil with worm poop,
    Do not plant your beans in the clay.

    Create a box with boards or with hay,
    preferably close to your front stoop.
    Build ye a raised bed before break of day.

    Masses of blooms will grow for bouquets
    and buckets of beans to make beautiful soup.
    Do not plant your beans in the clay.

  7. I’ve built my beds of stone
    It came with our new home
    But for my new herb bed
    I’d like some wood, Fred
    So the chickens will leave it alone

    (Absolutely nonsensical, but I’m pre-coffee, so it’s the best I can do….)

  8. I’m weeding, weeding, weeding more,
    it never seems to end.
    My knees they ache, my back is sore,
    as my garden I defend.

    But raise it up an inch or two
    and add some nice clean dirt.
    A new raised bed, now that would do,
    then gardening might not hurt!

  9. It takes quite a bit of cojon-es
    To write about my needs in a poem-es
    Constantly pulling mint
    My energy is spent
    A raised bed would stop my malaise!

    …Wow, and now that I know how typepad works, it’s totally out there that I tried to rhyme ma-laise with cojon-es. The things we do in the name of gardening, and free.

  10. Raised beds, raised beds
    whats best for my garden
    Raise them today,
    grow bountiful produce tommorrow.
    Raised beds, raised beds

  11. There once was a gardener in Minneapolis
    whose beds were besieged by Sylvilagus
    “If I had some raised beds,
    my greens would not be in shreds
    because surely rabbits can’t jump over this!”

    (at least I hope they can’t)

  12. A haiku-ish poem:

    raising vegetable beds
    raising connected children
    raising community

    (The Sonoma State University campus garden has a special area for our children’s school students – The Daisies, the Rosebuds, and the Sunflowers. They are all under 5 years old. While our university students are fairly tolerant of gophers, our under-5’s cry when their carrots are eaten! A raised bed would make us very happy!)

  13. OK, here’s a free-form poem describing my annual gardening experience:

    My Garden
    First, the rush of spring:
    digging, weeding, planning,
    mulching, planting, dreaming
    of mountains of perfect tomatoes,
    fragrant basil, gifts of herbs.
    Lovely daydreams unaffected by sore knees
    or a throbbing lower back.

    Then, the warmer blush of summer
    turning to humid mosquito days.
    An extra dose of Advil here and there,
    Dragging out the hose one more time,
    Happily thinking of hard work’s reward
    This year the June beetles will not win and

    High summer, drought, angry sun.
    The weeds dwarf everything.
    The beetles ate the basil.
    My kids adopted the hornworms.
    The peppers protested my intermittent watering and shrunk.
    Time to sit on the deck, have a martini,
    and ponder the power of nature.
    Much easier than pulling weeds.

  14. Amy Stewart needs only to say “jump”
    “How High?” ask the poets who bump
    into each other as they scramble
    and tumble and fumble and ramble
    all for a box over which they can slump.

  15. A raised bed? Sake’s alive!
    My dad is sixty-five!
    He’s retiring next week
    and a garden he will seek!
    If I win this cool raised bed
    I give it to him, instead!

  16. I think that I shall never see
    A job as hard as weeding on knee.
    A job who’s toll on aching back
    Still lingers in the joints that crack.
    Poems are made by fools like me,
    But a bed araised is sheer candy.

  17. Hi Amy,

    It’s happy hour, welcome one welcome all!
    Grab a glass and let’s have a ball!
    Strawberry basil mojitos are ready to go
    Just pinch the garnish from my EarthEasy raised bed on my patio.

    Hahaha! That was horrible. 🙂

  18. We’re eat up with raised beds here, so I don’t have a poem for you. But I’ve used these beds for school gardens and for clients and they are sweet.

    Teachers like the fact that the design is similar to what colonists used in places like Colonial Williamsburg.

    Also, double stacking them the way Amy did, puts the bed at a 16″ height,(same height as most chairs if you measure from the floor to where your butt ends up), so attaching a 1×6 flat on the top edges of the bed–if you’re handy–makes for a nice seating space, either for working the bed from a seating position (or taking a Gin & Tonic break, which we consider to be an important garden activity).

    But do be aware that the higher the bed is, the more watering it will need.

    For those who want to order these beds direct from the folks who came up with this design, check out :


  19. I thought the Haiku challenge was right up my alley,
    but Im impressed (and humbled) by the admissions so far.
    Hats off to you all! Im glad I dont have to choose a winner.
    Im going to work on my limmrick skills before your next offer, Amy!

  20. Waiting for spring to arrive, or
    just waiting to see what has survived
    or waiting for winter to be spent
    or waiting for the lilac’s scent
    or waiting for the leaves to pop
    or just waiting for the rain to stop
    or for the sun to shine,
    or the smell of basil, lavender and thyme
    I am just waiting for a beautiful raised bed to plant a cucumber vine.

  21. Tomatoes are red,
    Potatoes are blue,
    I’m amending the garden
    with worm compost poo.

  22. With deepest apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning …

    How would I plant thee ? Let me count the ways.
    I would plant thee to the depth and breadth and height
    My tomatoes can reach, with cucumbers growing out of sight,
    And melons and peas and berries of sweetest taste.
    I would plant thee to the brim with tiniest seed,
    and watch by moon and sun and flashlight
    for predators munching by day or by night.
    I would protect the produce I need.
    I’d fill thee cleanly with soil and manure.
    I’d tend thy tenants as I would a child.
    Each seed and seedling may run wild,
    But my care for them all would be pure.
    Your walls would hold the soil,
    The roots and mycorrhizae –
    For you and yours, I’d toil.

  23. Don’t enter me in the draw – but I couldn’t resist taking a moment to create a lil poem based on my own gardening experiences!

    A garden bed, wide and tall,
    Built in 20 seconds, just last fall.

    Now comes the spring work,
    Shovelling dirt and picking weeds,
    Praying that plants will sprout from the seeds.

    As the days pass I ask the garden
    “Why is it the weeds grow with vigor,
    But my lettuce won’t get any bigger?!”

    Eating the ripe tomatoes,
    Still warm from the sun,
    Reminds me gardening is as much about hard work
    As it is HAVING FUN!

    Thanks Amy (and Gen!) for doing such a great job 🙂

    Ben Seaman

  24. There once was a gardener named Amy,
    Whose blog brought her fortune and fame-y,
    When she raised up her bed,
    Her hair did turn red
    And her life was ne’er the same-y!

    Rather lame-y, I guess!

  25. Fresh cilantro for her salsa,
    zucchini for a verde?
    Never-ended generosity she hands;
    Effortless as we meet ’round the table in her kitchen.
    Her hard work we admire
    her compassion for all who walk.

    She takes us in and feeds us full and blesses us as we leave.
    She is my Grandmother, my Abuelita.

    A garden I want to build
    in her lost backyard.
    A place to pull from the earth,
    health to give her back.

    Tired are her knees and back,
    sore are her feet,
    She told me the other day.

    Abuelita, no more giving.
    Let me pull for you.
    Let me bless you and feed you full,
    With my small garden.

  26. These poems are fantastic. What glory there is in poetry and gardening…the perfect solution of what to do when you clean the dirt out from under your nails! Here’s my reason to win your raised bed garden (linked senru):

    Spring awakens me,
    meets me at the porch, smiles in
    sunshine adoration.

    Earthworms move slowly,
    sense the soil, the wind, sun
    pause in my shadow.

    Birds peck eager at
    seeds falling from my dry toast
    stone ground wheat bread.

    Buds adorn the trees
    their softened coats losing hold
    dropping to the ground.

    The wind whispers, laughs
    tickles hair across my face
    announcing “It’s Spring!”

  27. There once was a gardener who begged
    for a raised bed held together by pegs
    She made up a rhyme
    (And didn’t have much time)
    So now you are left with her dregs

  28. Salad greens aplenty
    strawberries galore,
    your giving away just one raised bed
    but I need even more…

    Fill one bed with greens
    Another with zucchini
    Crispy crunchy green beans
    Broccoli and rapini.

    (My kids are shaking their heads and groaning. They’re very disappointed in my poetry skillz.)

  29. With neighbor cats galore
    and no potty manners to be found
    A garden plot is only safe
    When several feet off the ground

    The fate of my soil,
    fragrent herbs and healthy plateful
    is in your hands –
    To win, I would be so grateful.

  30. It was last year, 2010
    When the rains came.
    The downpour drowned my garden
    Which was looking pretty swell
    And even with all my hours of hard work,
    Everything looked like HELL!
    I deserve a happier tale to TELL!

  31. (written in 5 minutes – don’t judge too harshly)

    Dear Hubby, I do beg your pardon,
    But I’d like to install a raised garden.
    Soon comes July
    And plants wither and die.
    “Oh wait, I was s’posed to water ’em?”

    Dear Wife, I’m lookin’ at you askance.
    Another go at the gardening “dance”?
    You’ll sweat, fret and flail,
    But, sadly, plants fail.
    With your brown thumb they don’t stand a chance.

  32. There once was a girl from Carolina
    Who’s garden was less than fin’a
    A raised bed she desired
    For the garden she aspired
    Ahhhh… to dine on fresh produce on my china 🙂

    (yeah, well… I never claimed to be a poet!)

  33. Less lawn – more food!!

    Since the food bank is promised half my produce this summer, I need more space to grow my veggies. You’d like to give me one of these fabulous raised bed kits? Yes please!

  34. A shared passion for life
    and all things living,
    a sister without mobility
    directs a brother with garden plans.

    The pansies, tulips and marigolds
    bedded to bring her joy of eye
    while honeysuckle and lilac tickle her nose.
    Bleeding hearts grow tall
    like memories of a mother gone.

    All planted in pots on the porch
    where she can watch them grow
    because the soil is harsh and futile below.

    A raised bed
    brings her to the yard
    and extends her smiling season.

  35. There was a wee lass in the ‘hood
    She thought that raised beds looked so good

    She begged her strapping lad to craft one
    But month after month it was not done

    So she bypassed him and won one of wood.

    She began to put it up for her plants
    Said he, “Doing it YOURSELF? No chance!”

    Alas, the wait for him to dress would be long
    And she found (once again) he was wrong —

    That wee lass finished it ‘fore he was in pants!

  36. A raised bed by Earth Easy You Say?

    If we give you poetry, you’ll give one away?

    But what if poets we’re not, but garden’s under our collar so HOT, that to crawl on our belly to till, sometimes like a pig to swill-it makes us feel?

    But oh, such beauty in the garden, I’m thinking – with lush strawberries feeding my husband, I’ll be winking 😉

    Without having to garden with our bellies on the floor, such senses we could all but adore; the scent of the flower buds enticing, the site of the butterflies pollinating, the sounds of the insects ruminating, the taste of fruits exploding in our mouths; juices flowing, and the feel…oh, the feel….of the bounty… within our grasp.

    Earth Easy, Earth Easy, please do not deny me. Earth Easy, Earth Easy, please sublime me.

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