Building a Raised Bed and Seed Starting

We’ve had some nice weather lately and a long weekend, so it’s time to get out in the yard and get some things done!

First on the list – prepare the ground where the raised bed is going.  I’m adapting a method I learned from Jack Spirko and incorporating wood into the ground under the bed.  The idea is that the wood provides several benefits:

  • it absorbs water and slowly releases it back to the plants, reducing the need to water.
  • as it breaks down, it improves the soil by adding organic matter.
  • it provides a place for helpful fungus to grow underground which aids the plants in the bed.


Since I’m moving up from a container garden, I’m keeping this raised bed at 6ft by 2ft.  I dug about eight inches down where the bed is going in an area that once held an 50ft tall elm tree.  The elm was dead when we moved in three years ago so we had it cut down and there’s still a lot of trunk and roots in this area.  So I’m building a woody bed on top of a woody bed in a sense.


This is where I stopped this week.  The rest of the bed will be filled by re-using the soil from last year’s containers and probably adding a couple bags of soil from the garden store.  On to the seed starting!

It’s too cold to start my seeds outside, so I’ve got to start them inside the house.  However, there’s not enough sunlight coming in any one window in our house due to the layout.  Solution?  Build a grow light system!  In keeping with the theme of doing-it-myself, I dug back in my memory archives and pulled up those mad electrician skills I learned twenty years ago.  Twenty dollars of parts from Lowes and I’m ready to begin.  Here’s the basic layout-


The octagonal boxes are where the lights will be mounted.  The rectangular box is for a switch.


Wiring up the light receptacles.  Not shown is the plug end I put on the end of the cable.  The next part of the project will be to hang the light system on a height adjustable system.  This will allow me to keep the CFL bulbs close to the seedlings as they grow.


According to the calendar I put together, it’s time to get the Dell Early Celery in seedling pots.  The wooden PotMaker makes great little seedling pots from newspaper.  The nice thing is the newspaper breaks down and adds organic matter to the soil, so transplanting is a breeze.  I’m planning to put nine celery plants in the square foot allotted for them, so I started 18 seeds and will plant the strongest ones in May.

That’s all for this week.  Thanks for stopping by!


One thought on “Building a Raised Bed and Seed Starting

  1. Pingback: Two Weeks Later – High School Chemistry Comes In Handy | improvingeddie

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