If you have access to downed hardwood logs and a tractor, this is a super easy raised bed design. At House in the Woods Farm in Maryland, we grow beautiful herb gardens in these raised beds.
Using the tractor, Phil dragged fallen hardwood logs from the woods. They were old, sitting in the woods for a long time already, but the hardwood lasts a really really long time. Phil cut the logs to size, a rectangle six feet by ten feet is nice, or a square. Then he brought a few scoops of compost in the tractor bucket and dumped it into the bed. A little raking and you are good to go!
Phil dumped compost with the front end loader right into the bed, but use what you’ve got. If you are making a soil blend from purchased materials, add 2 to 1 peat to compost or topsoil.
We used black locust and maple hardwood, but white oak would work too. Tulip poplar would rot too quickly.
We didn’t worry about the grass underneath our bed. Our bed was deep enough to keep them from emerging. If your logs do not create a very deep bed and you think weeds could come through, a layer of newspaper could do an ounce of prevention. Layer newspaper on the ground before filling the bed with soil.
Our log has some hollow spots. Our farm volunteer, Denise, filled the holes with soil and planted Creeping Thyme in them. The thyme patches look lovely and add interest to the frame.
Thank you to Denise Corte, who plants and maintains these herb beds on our farm.
Photos by Ilene White Freedman
Ilene White Freedman operates House in the Woods organic CSA farm with her husband, Phil, in Frederick, Maryland. The Freedmans are one of six 2013 Mother Earth News Homesteaders of the Year. Ilene blogs about making things from scratch, putting up the harvest, gardening and farm life at MOTHER EARTH NEWS and the House in the Woods blog, easy to follow from our Facebook Page. For more about the farm, go to House in the Woods website.
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