Building a Raised Bed Garden with Ipe

Gardening, it’s a love of life and the reason some of us countdown to spring and summer. It’s finally when we put to use the stuff we ordered from those seed catalogs that start showing-up in our mailboxes after Christmas.

Unless you’ve had your taste buds surgically removed, there’s nothing like a fresh tomato or a cooked cob of corn right from your backyard. And there are medical benefits for those who are plagued by allergies. If you’re eating veggies that have been grown in your area, the pollen that brings fruit to the table is local. That’s good for you. Especially when you use something you probably wouldn’t do with your green space — raise bees.

Local honey, as explained on the website “”

“Some research supports the theory that local honey– obtained as close as possible to where you live–may help build immunity to some seasonal allergies. Allergies are triggered by continuous exposure to the same allergen over time. Even if a particular plant is not allergenic initially, it can potentially become very allergenic if you spend much time in the same environment as the plant. Honey made by bees in the vicinity of the allergenic plant will contain tiny amounts of pollen from that plant. This honey will act as a sort of vaccine if taken in small amounts–a few teaspoons per day–for several months, and can provide relief from seasonal pollen-related allergies.”

But Let’s Talk About Vegetables

What’s good in the world of local honey may likewise be beneficial to what we eat from our gardens. Hands-down, the best way to grow this healthful food is by using a technique called “Raised Bed” gardening.


What are the advantages of creating these aesthetically pleasing, multi-sized growing spaces?

  • It makes it so much easier to cultivate and maintain what’s planted inside.
  • Raised beds help in development of root growth.
  • If you have a small space, you can actually add more variety to your harvest.
  • By putting a little height in what would be a flat area, you are better able to keep out four-legged small critters.

Building It With Ipe

This is a no brainer. With one of the hardest woods known to humanity, it doesn’t require any pre-treatment. The stuff that gets sprayed on some woods will eventually leech into your plants. Who needs a side order of chemicals with their lettuce?

Raised Garden Bed

Here’s a run-down of considerations before you bring out the tools:

  • Draw up a smaller scale of the area out back that gets a ton of sun.
  • Purchase the right amount of 6-inch high ipe (4 to a bed) if you want a shortie. Double the amount when you’re going for a foot-high (recommended) bed.
  • Purchase carriage screws or lag bolts for assembly. Two bolts per corner should be fine. Try to go stainless steel as they will last as long as the hardwood.
  • Ask us at Timbertown Austin for the best way to fasten the two 6-inch planks atop each other. Better yet, just purchase a bunch of foot-high lumber based on your plans.
  • It’s much easier to sink the corner bolts from the outside than from the inside.

The final matter to take into consideration is the bed’s accessibility. Some tips:

  • Don’t make the raised bed too wide. You never want to have to step into it to clear any unwanted growth.
  • Separate each bed far enough apart so you can easily maneuver a lawn mower between the beds.
  • If you want, yank-out the sod and generously spread some pebble rock over the ex-grass surrounding the beds.

That’s it. Fill the beds with some premium, rich soil, plant and wait. Just be mindful of certain insects. They’re waiting like you for a meal. Talk to your yard and garden store for some organic sprays to keep the pests away. We like a homemade brew. A spray bottle, fill it 3/4 with water, a few tablespoons of cayenne pepper and some earth-friendly detergent. Should keep the bugs at bay.

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