Building Raised Beds For Your Peppers
Living in Ohio can be great, but sometimes the soil is not so great. We found that out in our current location and decided to build some raised beds. It’s easy to do and doesn’t take too much know how.
In our first farm (a backyard) the soil was some sweet sweet topsoil and then clay. Regardless of your experience as a pepper grower to this point, you can probably assume how good clay is for growing literally anything. It’s not good. We grew a carrot once that was an inch long and four inches wide. NOT GOOD. If you’re like us and your soil is less than desirable, you can build raised beds to grow literally anything and have it be happy.
First, You Plan
The saying goes “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail” and that was from Ben Franklin, so you know there’s some wisdom there. Planning out your boxes is not all that complicated. Measure the area that you have and determine how much you’d like to sacrifice to your raised beds. We had several iterations and the above iteration was the latest upgrade to our gardening area.
One note, it’s okay to do it incorrectly initially. That’s the whole point. Draw it out, see what makes the most sense, then build it. We were going to build 4 separate boxes and instead went with one really long box. Easier on the builders, easier on the area. No need for graph paper (although it helps) but drawing it out initially will help for what parts you need. In the bottom right corner of the above image you can see the breakdown of boards we were going to go buy. Essentially we have one 3 foot by 12 foot box instead of a bunch of weirdly sized boxes. In the top left there’s a design for a split of what we already had, but broken down even further.
Then, You Dig
Clear the area as much as possible in preparation. In the above photo you can see our bed that was at the base level of our dirt. Our dirt sucks. That’s why we moved to raised beds.
For us, we like to dig a hole every three feet or so to add a vertical. We go one to two feet into the ground to make sure we have a decent amount of stability when building the rest of the box. To do this you’ll need some post hole diggers. Nothing too complicated, but some people have never even heard of a post hole digger. It’s a great tool. Highly suggested.
And Then You Build!
As you can see in the photo above, once you have your holes, you can add 2x4s as vertical supports. Once those were in we stacked 3 2x6s on top of each other, screwed them in to the vertical 2x4s and made sure they were securely fastened. As you can see, the box takes shape pretty quickly once the top layer of ground is removed and the holes are dug. In this particular box, you can plant anywhere from 12-24 plants. Pretty awesome!
We turned the bad bed against the clay into 3 raised boxes, one that is 36″ by five feet and the other two that are 18″ by five feet. Exciting stuff and enough room to add a lot more pepper plants this year. All in all we were pretty excited with our upgrade. We went from two boxes to six boxes, one of which was gigantic and will grow our finest peppers this season.
Don’t worry if it doesn’t look great, again this is not an exact science. You can screw up and remove the tainted piece of wood, or keep the mistake and still have a great experience.
The full view of the boxes we installed in the 2019 season are above. You can see for the smaller boxes we used decking boards (again totally acceptable) but for the larger boxes we used 2x6x12′ boards fore simplicity and big ol’ areas to plant peppers.
4,000 pounds of dirt/compost later, these beds got some pepper plants slapped in and are growing great! Remember, even if your soil sucks, you can grow anything with raised beds. It’s a controlled environment and one that is easy to manipulate.
We wish you the best in your growing season and hope that our above message on raised beds helps! Honestly, you can grow anything in these raised beds. Don’t feel tied to peppers alone, but peppers are pretty awesome, so why wouldn’t you?
Hello spicy traveler, try our sauces!
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