Raised beds on wheels

From the very beginning I knew I wanted something modular and moveable for the greenhouse. The extra addition of a lid to each bed made winter gatherings and springtime potting or seedling table possible.

I love the fact that my greenhouse is, and can be, used all year round for growing and living. It really has 4 seasons of its own. In winter they function as benches for gathering like celebrating the winter solstice at dawn, mulled wine & mince pies and sparklers in december, my birthday cocktail night in january and from then on we go into its spring season. The benches will be filled with seedlings and the trays holding them. Come late spring will see the lids go and the greenhouse will be planted up with all heat loving crops like tomatoes (my favourite thing to grow!). From then on it will soon become an absolute jungle of green and this year will be bigger and better with the addition of a watermelon, cucumbers are back inside and I’ve added calendula to all the beds as well as the nasturtium and basil I had last year. Come Autumn and the dying back of all plants means I can do a big clear up and put the lids back on, ready for the winter celebrations.

Very chuffed with my own designs (simple but effective), I am happy to finally be able to share how to build them, should you want to yourself. My collection has now grown to 4 outside in the front yard and 9 in the greenhouse. And I’m sure it won’t stop there!

Supplies

Pallet wood

Wood screws

Castor wheels with locks

Washers (for the wheels

Lining plastic, food safe

Staple gun and staples

Soil/compost

How to

1

First things first, pallet dismantling. Now there are several ways to go about this, personally I prefer to use the sabre saw with a  blade that can cut through both wood and nails for the best result as you’re not in danger of breaking any planks off. My husbands preferred method is the one shown (those are his hands at work), a lump hammer, (small) crowbar and brute force. We’ve still not decided which is actually quicker but in the end, does it really matter?

2

In this example i’m building the latest two beds for the greenhouse and as such they’re a bit different in size to the ‘normal’ ones. They have to fit in the gaps that are left basically.

The size I’m going with is 80cm for the length and 20cm for the width. I calculated the height to match the existing beds with their larger wheels (I chose smaller ones for these 2, more on that when we get to the wheels). The pallet I had in mind for this project was perfect and had enough wood for both beds. Sadly I lost a few planks when we dismantled it so I had to improvise for one bed and match some other bits of wood to make up for the same height.

3

Per plank I managed to get both the 80cm as well as the 20cm bits out.

Laying the planks on top of each other helps to gauge the size needed for the ones that came from a different pallet. It’s definitely a rough guess-timate as the second bed turned out a bit wonky 😆

I have a weird way of making these things and it works for me so I kind of tend to do it without a tonne of measuring. good for me but not when I need to write it out for you!

4

Once I’ve cut my lengths and shorts to size, I put them on the vertical posts that everything will be screwed to. I do it this way so that I always have access to the screws, even when it’s assembled, lined and filled, I’ll still be able to replace a plank of wood should it be needed or do maintenance on the wheels. It also means that if I use screws that are too long (like with these two beds) the pointy bit will be inside the box and not facing out to scratch me.

I line up the ends of my lengths to the length of the vertical support, level it or make it flush with the side and screw in place. Just a single screw per side works fine. Repeat this until all sides are fastened.

5

When you’ve attached the lengths to the vertical posts its time to join the shorts. All previous beds I had those inset in the lengths but for these ones I decided not to. space was limiting and this was easier too. the shorts are on the outsides of the lengths. It’s a bit tricky to get this without an extra pair of hands as things tend to wobble, luckily I had my brother to give me a hand. Be careful where you screw these in.

Once you have assembled all the sides together to form an open box, it’s probably best to double check it will actually fit in the intended space. Luckily it did!

6

Next step it to put the crossbars in, you can measure them but I just marked the wood off and cut it on that. Again, a bit wonky but 🤷‍♀️

I think this part it vital for a few of reasons, it strengthens the structure, it provides a base for the bottom, and it means you have somewhere to attach the wheels to! For these two smaller beds I used 4 each in total. Two for the ends to support the wheels, and two in the center to help support the bottom. Before we get to adding the base board we add the wheels.

7

With these wheel you want to make sure you have washers (the little silver rings that stop the screws from going through the holes of the wheel base) as well as having long enough screws as they’ll be the only thing holding the box and its contents from falling apart (been there, it’s not fun trying to screw wheels back on a very full and heavy box with live plants in)

Screw in place, again make sure you miss all other screws from the rest of the box. I find marking the wheelbase holes before attaching the crossbar so you know where you can screw.

I tend to have the lockable wheels on one long side and the plain wheels on the other, but you can put them wherever you want of course.

8

For the base I’ve used various materials, usually scrap bits of other projects like MDF, plywood or even packaging material like polystyrene (front yard beds). As long as it’s the desired size and rigid enough to hold the weight of damp soil, you’re good.

For these beds I had a sheet of thick plywood lying around so I measured the inside roughly, cut it out and screwed them in place (not always necessary). I made sure to leave gaps all around, this to help aid drainage. Once the liner is in you’ll not be able to get to this easily.

9

Next up is lining the boxes, I do this because the base and planks aren’t without gaps, it also helps the wood to not rot, and for the water to stay that bit longer where it’s needed.

I start on a long side where I fold the edge of the plastic sheet towards the wood so it s bit thicker there and not as prone to tearing once the soil is in.

It’s a bit awkward to do this part because you’re fighting a larger floppy sheet into a tight place whilst trying to hold it with one hand and staple it with the other.

My golden rule to measure the amount of lining needed is twice the height, plus the width of the base, and once the length and twice the short sides height. So for these it would’ve been something like 40+40+20=100cm (twice height + base width) and 80+40+40=160cm(once length + 2 height short sides), Making it a sheet roughly 100x160cm

10

Once you have stapled the long side, flip it over and staple the other length. start in the middle and pick the middle of the middle until you have stapled the whole length (hope that makes sense).

The the short sides are the tricky bit as you’ve got to fold it all in, almost like reverse wrapping a present. Cursing will occur and confusion too. But once it’s done you have a fantastic corner section that you can be proud of!

*boxes also great for growing cats

11

Poke some (a lot) holes in the bottom of the plastic for drainage, fill it up with your favourite peat free compost, plant up with your plants, and you’re  done!!

Now to make the next one ☺️🤩

Let me know how you get on and if there’s any questions or comments, good luck!