The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Inc.

Permanent Raised Bed Gardening: Recycled Auto Tire Bed Assembly

Using the appropiate perimeter stake line, mark off the corners of one end of each bed by driving 5/8-inch by 36-inch-length rebar stakes into the ground next to the string. This means that, using our example of 40-inch beds on 5-foot centers, the stakes would be positioned at 0, 40, 60, 100, 120, 160, 180 and 220 inches and so on the length of the string, depending on the number of beds to be constructed.

If the plot is level, stakes may be driven flush with the string, 8 inches above grade. If the plot is sloped perpendicular to the long axis of the beds, only the first corner stake of each bed (0, 60, 120, etc.) should be driven flush with the line and a carpenter's level used to level the second corner stake with the first. Orienting the stakes at a slight angle leaning away from the bed will help minimize their movement when the rubber boards are stretched.

Use the same procedure to mark off the corners on the other end of the beds, with one exception: drive the stakes into the ground only a few inches, as they will need to be pulled out and repositioned at a later time.

Working across the plot, designate the exact location of the first bed border (rubber board) by stringing a line between the first set of rebar end stakes. Every 3 feet along the string, drive a pair of 3/8-inch rebar stakes 1/2-inch to either side of the string. Drive the stakes into the ground only a few inches, as they will need to be relocated later. These temporary stake "cradles" act to hold the board erectly on edge.

Remove the string lines from the rebar end stakes and the perimeter stake lines as they will be in the way when installing the bed border. Pull up the temporary end stake and lay it aside.

Move a board into place alongside the row of stake cradles. Loop one end of the board over the permanent 5/8-inch stake. Place a portion of the board in each cradle until the entire board is on edge.

Attach the other end to a hand winch by means of a 10-inch piece of 5/8-inch rebar and the wire sling. Anchor the winch to a stationary object such as another stake. Make sure the board is oriented correctly. Pockets should be facing outward (towards the path) and the tread facing inward.

Remove excess slack by stretching the board. Applying too much tension may result in personal injury! With the board under tension, remove the cradle stakes one at a time and insert into the pockets. Drive the stakes to within 3 inches of the top of the board and stop.

The last stake to be driven is the remaining 5/8-inch stake. First, release tension on the winch and remove the sling and rod. Place the stake through the loop and drive it into position.

Replace the perimeter stake lines. String a line across the perimeter stake lines parallel with the bed border. Finish driving the 3/8-inch stakes to their final depth. Use the string line to gauge proper elevation of each stake. The border can be considered level when the top edge is flush with the stakes. Occasionally, because of high spots, soil may need to be removed under a border before it can be leveled.

You have now completed a rubber board border. Repeat the procedure to install additional borders. When borders have all been constructed, fabricate end pieces from single sections of tread. It is now time to fill the beds.

rubber board in cradles
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