The Dirt

And the winner of April’s photo challenge is…

Modern Raised Veggie Beds

During the month of April, we asked our readers to share photos illustrating how they’ve gone green in their gardens. This post was a favorite among our editors, but it wasn’t easy to choose.

Here’s what our winner, Curt Slangal, had to say about his garden:

“All of my raised beds are in the front yard. I have lots of sun and this once wasted space has been transformed into a garden of tasty treats all year round.”

“I started gardening at a very young age, about 11 or 12, and it’s been nonstop. I garden for the simple rewards nature gives in return. They are so magical–not just in a visual way but also the spiritual beauty it brings into my soul–it grounds me in a way nothing else can.”

“It is an organic garden and I tend to it daily. Keeping it an all-natural little space has its challenges but it is full of life and it provides me with goodies to eat and to share.”

“Raised bed gardening is a must in South Texas because raised beds require less water and put less stress on our water resources. And that is what makes it so green: it conserves water and still produces delicious food.”

“The biggest mistake beginners make is they try to do too much all at once and then fail. Keep it simple, start off small, enjoy a little success… That will encourage a more successful garden.”

I have a total of 5 raised beds this spring all filled with different vegetables and herbs. And, I also have plans to expand this concept of raised beds into all of my front yard… fresh produce! It’s best way to go!
I have had great results with raised bed gardening. I designed these raised beds using treated 2x4s and corrugated tin. The results have been great. Lots of compliments and a water saver too–that’s important in South Texas. Last fall 6 tomato plants produced over 400 tomatoes.
View Comments


  1. LadyonThelake 05/18/2009

    We are all happy for Curt's winning entry;but not surprised. We've enjoyed his delicious bounty for many years. As an older sister I've often envied his gardening success and designs. Congratulations and bring on those veggies!

  2. Kate_Frank 05/18/2009

    Cute! A comment from big sis... Love it!

  3. bkacker 05/21/2009

    Congrats Curt!

  4. cheeto826 05/24/2009

    can you give details on how you built the raised bed with the tin I would love to try to build one.I used a small plastic swimming pol ,put holes in bottom ,spread some river rock for drainage,soil,and potting soil with viitamins,doing well with cucumbers,tomatoes,cantalope

  5. ocsurfmama 05/25/2009

    I love your raised beds. You have inspired us to build such nice looking containers. We are going to use your idea of 2x4s and corrugated tin. I see you have them set on rocks. We are going to add wheels to ours so that we can easily move them to other locations as we continue to design our space.

    Any suggestions on how you re-enforced the inside of the containers? We are going to have the bottom made with boards running across the bottom but spaced so that any extra water can drain through and use mesh wiring so that we don't lose the dirt.

    Thanks for the pics and congrats!

  6. 4748slangal 05/26/2009

    Thanks all!
    The raised beds are simple to make and take me about 7 hours (one day almost) to make. Materials needed are lumber, tin and deck wood screw. I build a base frame with corner supports. Cut the tin (12" to 15" high) attach the to the inside of the base frame all the way around. Next I build the upper frame ... same size as the base frame but using both the flat side and the upright side of the 2 x 4's next these two frames are attached together ... by combining these two frames you now have a lid type frame with a lip .... place this on top of the tin (which is already attached to the base) have a friend help it makes it easier to handle the frames. Once the top frame is placed on the top portion of the tin and screwed in place I install corner brackets at all corners. My beds are to large for one person to carry so you will need help moving them in place. On the larger beds I put a 2x4 support in the middle to keep the side from bulging out. The rocks at the base are used to level the planters because the ground tilts at a slope.
    I also put grass, leaves, sticks, and other organic material inside the planters before I fill them with soil.
    I am not sure the wheel concept is a good idea .... these beds become very very heavy once filled with soil and moving them about will put stress on the structure... but good luck on your idea!
    Also the raised beds are bottom less ... keep in mind that if it rains for several days you don't want your plants to rot from too much water.
    Hope this helps with all your questons.
    Happy & healthy gardening everyone!

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