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Cheap Version of the Ultimate Raised Bed

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Posted on : 9:19 AM | By : Nic | In :


I found this very, very lovely cedar raised bed plan on Sunset, and for a second I was really tempted to build it exactly that way, but I would only be able to afford one. And we need four. Not a very good plan. So basically I am budgeting out what we have to spend, and how to replace the expensive stuff with decent stuff.

I'm happy with pine or fir for my raised beds... I'm not really building for longevity. This cuts my wood prices down by about a third, since that plan calls for cedar. They spent $90 on wood, and so that means my cost will be about $30.

$30 - wood
$10 - PVC piping for hoop frames
$30 - screws
$4 - tube straps for piping
TOTAL PER BOX: $75

I can leave out the mesh hardware cloth... we are double digging under the box a little bit as well because we actually have some good soil down there and we don't seem to have a mole problem. The soil is another question. I really wanted Sea Soil but it is double the price of garden soil, so since I have pretty good soil and a composter going that will eventually give me all the fertilizer I need, I don't really need it. It's about $35 per tractor scoop, which equals about 60-70% of a yard. Since I need a little more than a yard per box, I will need 2 per box - $70 per box is a good estimate.

So total, the article spent $187 on their cedar box (which is about $270 Canadian right now), and I can spend about $140 Canadian per box (which is about $96 US). So I've estimated it to about half the price. Lets round it to $150 per box for taxes and things, which means total about $600.

Will this pay for itself in one year? Well... considering that we can get all our veggies from June to perhaps September, plus a little bit left over, and supposing we spend about $100 a month on vegetables only, we will be getting $400 back plus a little bit. If I extend the season and utilize my hoop covers and plant some extra cold-weather plants like lettuce, I believe it could definitely pay for itself by the end of the year.

Comments (4)

If you can get your hands on some old wooden railroad ties, those are durable, cheap (sometimes free) and I've heard they work really well too. :)

I have always wanted to make one of these! It looks simple enough, but yeah, the price of the wood, and transporting them back to my house, always throws me off.

Hi Nicole: Go to the local lumber mill and buy a load of slabwood. (It takes me 3 trips in my pickup to get $15Cnd worth of slabwood cedar home). This is the wood that's shaved off the outside of the logs that can't be made into lumber. One side is usually flat, the other rounded, sometimes with bark still on. Cedar lasts for a long time (even slabwood) and I got enough to make about 8 rustic looking raised beds. My under layer was cardboard that I'd flattened and saved from the move (several layers of it wetted down will block weeds for a number of years.... so no cloth needed). So then it's really only the soil that's going to cost much of anything. Best of luck!!

Glad to see you're still hanging in there... won't be long now!

Hi, I built a raised bed garden using an old patio deck that a friend tore down. I ended up with 8 raised beds plus walkways between them, only cost was paying someone with a truck to haul the wood to my house (I'm suburban, and without pickup-truck). Total cost: $50, plus the cost of the nails to assemble. The only issue is, the deck has a lot of nails in it, they have to be pulled out, hammered flat, or cut off.