How to DIY a mole-proof, raised garden bed, using cedar.
I am a fan of homesteading and since I visited the community gardens where hubby with some friends from work had a plot, I wanted to make a raised bed to garden organically in our yard.
I interneted options and it made the most sense to use cedar lumber for this project and also add some protection to it, as moles really, deeply, love our yard and their tunnels are everywhere.
I opted for a small square, (4 ft x 4 ft) raised bed to try my brown thumb with, thinking that if it doesn’t work well, I can always move the bed to a corner of our yard/aspiring garden and plant flowers instead.
(If all go well with our homesteading produce, then the 4 ft length side will be disassembled and become the short sides of full sized, 4 x 8 beds, next year.)
How To Make a Mole-Proof Raised Garden Bed
Cedar (planks and beams) and 3 in, exterior woodscrews
Electrical screwdriver, a stapler and a saw
Building the mole proof raised garden bed
We used two cedar beams and 6 cedar planks (6 in x 8 ft each).
Hubby cut the beams in half and we had the planks cut (also in half) at the store, when we bought them.
Now we had 4 beams four feet long (1.2 m) and 12 planks of the same 4 ft length. (Are you following or are you like me that faze out when I hear too many numbers?) We used 3 planks on each side, which is rather unusual but the added height not only makes gardening easier on our waists but it also, provides plenty of room for root growth (since we will be adding hardware cloth, we can’t count on the soil underneath the bed).
-> I decided to have a spare foot on each beam that would go into the ground for added stability. That step proved futile, once I tried to dig foot deep holes in the bedrock of a yard that we have. We ended up cutting down the legs and leaving about 4 inches on each leg.
Building the frame
1. We screwed (*insert juvenile snicker*) 3 planks on two of the poles, using 4 galvanized, exterior, woodscrews per plank (2 on each end).
Take care to screw the first plank precisely perpendicular to your beams and the next ones as flush to it as possible. But only, if you are an A type and seeing a lopsided garden bed would annoy you.
2. Then we screwed 3 more planks on the remaining two beams. Now we had two opposing sides ready to connect.
3. This was a little tricky, one of us held one side up, while the other held the opposing side up and we screwed a plank (but if you do this alone, just use a wall as your building “buddy”). Once that plank was in place, screwing the remaining two was easy.
4. Finish by screwing the 4rth and final side’s planks.
(Now it’s the time to make sure your raised garden bed is perfectly square.)
5. Ta- dahhh, the raised garden bed frame is ready!
I tumbled it easily – raised garden beds are bulky but pretty light-weight – and placed it where we wanted it. (This is the time, when we dug four short holes in the ground and ended up cutting the “legs” shorter.)
Once the bed was firmly…grounded, t’was time to add the mole protection.
Adding mole protection
We used hardware cloth and not plain landscape fabric because hardware cloth is metal, fine enough to block mole and wide enough to allow water to drain freely. Chicken wire is not sufficient either, because the holes are big enough for moles to pass through.
I pushed it neatly flat against the ground and well against the walls and stapled away. Staples were about 1 inch apart (though I did not actually measure each distance).
Just make sure the little, cute, flexible, garden monsters called moles, can not squeeze through.
Finishing up: soil and plants
We added organic soil (amended with compost) and planted our – also organic – plants. Mainly tomatoes, a few beans, a pea and some lettuce.
It’s not like we are farmers but, we have to start somewhere. 🙂
We should – hopefully – get at least a few tomatoes. A week in, the plants started yellowing already so I am a little worried. Growing produce is nothing like the brown thumb proof Irises; that’s for sure.
The whole project took us an hour and a half to complete. In that time we screwed, assembled, added the liner and paused many times to take photos and play with The Cute. And we got a bit of a tan. And took even more photos of The Cute pretending she sleeps in the raised bed frame (apparently it is comfortable?).
Pretty fast DIY, wasn’t it?
You may wonder why we have so much beam extending upwards the bed. Well, because we will also make it bunny proof, besides mole proof. Stay tuned for the part 2 where we will construct small doors that double as rabbit protection!
Love it? PIN IT!
Doing any produce gardening of your own?
If yes, any tips concerning raising tomatoes are appreciated!
(One can not have too much information when it comes to tomatoes.)
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