Free Spirit Farm mortise and tenon raised garden beds are based on a 17th century design. Made of native Nova Scotia hemlock, these raised beds will last for many years and weather to soft silver grey. Our easy to assemble raised bed kits are perfect for vegetable and flower beds and will complement your landscaping.
Our raised beds have standard sizes of 4×4 feet, 4×8 feet and 2×6 feet interior dimensions to facilitate square foot gardening systems. They are 8 inches deep, allowing plenty of growing space for everything from radishes to heirloom tomatoes. We can make raised beds in any custom size to fit your requirements, but we recommend keeping the width at 4 feet or less so you can easily reach into the beds. Garden beds 12 feet or longer have a third cross piece inserted in the middle for stability.
Strong and Functional
The lumber used in Free Spirit Farm raised beds is custom sawed to a thickness of 1.25 inches for greater strength and longer life. Mortise and tenon joints do not pull apart easily and offer some movement in winter freezing and thawing, unlike beds that are nailed or screwed together.
No Chemical Wood Preservatives
Unlike pressure treated lumber or railroad ties, the native Nova Scotia hemlock used in our raised beds is untreated. There are no harmful chemicals that could leach into your soil and plants. All of the native hemlock lumber used for our raised beds is sustainably grown without pesticides in northern Nova Scotia.
Very Easy Assembly
It takes less than five minutes to assemble Free Spirit Farm’s raised beds. Simply slip the tenon through the mortise opening and secure with the wooden pegs we provide.
In these photos, we first position the boards on the ground. Then fit all boards together by slipping the tenon pieces into the mortise pieces. Start the pegs, then tap the pegs into place with a mallet or hammer.
Raised beds can be placed directly onto lawn, sod, soil, or even a weedy patch. To keep weeds from growing up through the bed, place a thick layer of newspapers on the ground after assembling the bed and before filling it. We lift the boards slightly and slip the edges of the newspaper under the boards to ensure complete coverage. We also generously overlap the pieces of newspaper. Once the bed is filled, the newspaper and the vegetation underneath will slowly decompose. This method works for us even for stubborn perennial weeds such as dandelion and goldenrod.
Fill Your Raised Beds
Once your raised beds are assembled and you have placed a barrier to smother existing vegetation, it is time to fill them with a soil mixture to suit your plants. Here in northern Nova Scotia, for vegetables, we use a mixture that includes about 1/3 rich black soil (from an old barnyard), 1/3 compost or well-composted manure (usually a combination of the two) and 1/3 peat moss or coir. We combine this mixture in a wheelbarrow before dumping into the beds to ensure the components are evenly distributed. Then we add a couple shovels of sand sprinkled over the top of each bed, and some lime. Sand improves drainage because our black soil has clay in it. If you already have sandy soil, skip the sand. Lime counteracts the acidity of the peat moss, the manure and our acid rain. An easy guideline is to add lime at a little less than the rate you add it to your lawn.
The first year we also add some blood meal, bone meal, and kelp meal to boost nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, nutrients which are all vital for bountiful vegetable production. In future years, when this organic soil mix has had a chance to blend and establish good microbial activity, the additional amendments may not be necessary, and you can simply top up the bed with compost. DO NOT fill your raised beds with plain top soil. In that case there would be no advantage to making raised beds, you would still be planting into poor soil and your results would be disappointing.
Easily Add Accessories to Improve Your Yield
We build Free Spirit Farm raised bed kits with sturdy lumber, and it is easy to add gardening accessories. Supports for trellises can be screwed directly to the raised beds and removed at the end of the season for storage. Next season move them to another bed for crop rotation. Wire hoops can be directly inserted into small holes drilled into the top edge of the boards. Use the hoops to support row covers for insect barriers or to support a mini greenhouse for season extension.
Raised Garden Beds
|Custom Dimensions Available Please Inquire|
|4 x 4 Feet||$58.00 plus HST|
|4 x 8 Feet||$88.00 plus HST|
|2 x 4 Feet||$40.00 plus HST|
|2 x 6 Feet||$65.00 plus HST|
We offer delivery of raised garden beds. Please contact us to make arrangements for delivery or pickup.
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