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How To Make Raised Beds with Crates

My husband got quite a few of these crates from work.  They come in handy for so many things!  

I always wanted a little herbal garden by my back door, but my dogs like to hang out there, along with the chickens, ducks, cats, you name it.  My dogs also like to dig.  I have filled in holes just to fill them in again!  Not fun.

I also wanted to plant my perennial herbs somewhere that I could protect them from unusually harsh winters. By planting by the house, I could easily mulch them with straw or put a protective row cover on them and not have to walk to kingdom come to do so.

So, I decided to use these crates to make raised beds.  If I could keep them partially above ground and cover them with chicken wire, I might be able to keep the dogs from digging and taking their naps there and keep the chickens out of it.  Because of the square holes on the crates, the roots will have enough room to keep growing below the crate if they need to.

Here is what I did.

I layered the bottom of the crate with old hay as pictured above(you can use straw or fresh hay too).  I then put a couple of scoops of composted manure on top of that.  When this breaks down later, my herbs will have a constant supply of nutrients and I will not have to supplement them with fertilizer for a couple of years.  I then dug a rectangular hole so that the crate will fit snugly in it.  I did not want it to fit all the way to ground level, so I only dug it deep enough to where the crate fit in about three quarters of the way down.

After it is in place and at the right depth, I filled in the crate with soil and the gaps around the crate.  I waited a couple of days to let the soil settle down.

I transplanted sage, thyme and oregano in the crates.  I planted from seed chives, lemon balm and hyssop in the others.  In between some of the crates, I planted chamomile and wild bergamot.  Then I covered them all with chicken wire.  This will not only keep the chickens out, but it will keep the dogs from digging in the bed.

So far, so good.  I'm hoping that one day, I can walk out my back door and snip some sage for my home grown sausage or some chamomile for an evening cup of tea!

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