I started by finding all the scrap lumber that could . I had some old railroad tie type lumber in odd pieces around the yard and a stack of mix matched 2 x 10's. Plus my dad owns a lumber yard so I went there and scrounged for twisted and warped pieces of lumber that they couldn't sell. Once I had my stack of lumber, I cut it into pieces and made the most uniformed sized boxes that I could. I had to get a little creative on the sizes to make best use of the lumber. Then I just screwed the boards together and painted them black with some outdoor paint. Most of my lumber was not treated because white lumber is cheaper and easier to come by. Here's what I had when I was done:
After filling the boxes with top soil I decided I did not want to have to weed or mow between the boxes. So I had some gravel delivered, laid down black weed guard and the topped it with the gravel.
Now all I needed was irrigation. I read a bunch of articles on line and had lots of ideas for drip irrigation made from pvc pipe. I ultimately decided that was too much work. I decided to go with soaker hoses....since they were cheap and I already had a couple. In the past, I have never had much luck getting them to stay in place. This time I fastened them down with some very inexpensive hose stakes I found at the hardware store. I have 4 hoses connected and it covers all my boxes and has been working like a charm.
You may also notice in the pictures that I have built my own hot box. This was built out of a storm window that I got from a local Habitat Restore for just $5.
After planting I also decided to use cocoa mulch this year. I love the great chocolate aroma in the garden and it is supposed to help cut down on insects. My garden is completely fenced so I am not worried about our dogs getting into the mulch.
I also have a large area in my garden that is just regular dirt that isn't in raised beds. I have tilled this area and will use it for Pumpkins and other large squash. It just didn't seem practical to put pumpkins in raised beds.
Be sure to check back in on my blog as the summer progresses. I will keep you posted as things grow and let you know how every thing worked out.