You will need a carpenter to get started, and virtually any handyman type (whether garden expert of not) can build the boxes for the beds, which should be from a rot-resistant lumber of approximate 2 by 12 dimension (or two 2×6’s put together). When I say rot-resistant, many people think pressure-treated lumber, but there is concern on whether it’s safe particularly for edible crops. Too hard to discuss that here…a complex subject, but better be safe than sorry? Because there is both Easter red cedar and locust in out local area, some of the local lumber mills (not building-supply stores but actual local sawmills) can sell you rough-hewn boards of these species, which offer some natural rot resistance without chemicals. Local building centers also sell rot-resistant boards like cedar, but they will probably be more expensive because they are more finished (used for decking and such) and have been trucked in from elsewhere. Boxes wider than about 4 feet are hard to reach across unless you have access from both sides, so keep in mind the issues of access. No point making nice, loose raised beds that you have to step in and compact to get to your plants! Think about whether you will need to get a wheelbarrow in between some or all rows of boxes and other navigability issues. Corners of the boxes need to be reinforced with metal brackets and there needs to be additional cross braces every so often if boxes are very long, so the sides don’t bow. This is a simple project for anyone with basic carpentry skills; I don’t have someone to recommend, so as Miss Chestnuts says you’ll need to do some searching. Local garden centers may also provide a clue of a person who can do this for you, from Phantom Gardener to Callender’s to Northern Dutchess Botanic, etc. Here is one simple design from Sunset magazine: http://www.sunset.com/sunset/garden/article/0,20633,1152183,00.html
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Welcome! I’m Margaret Roach, a leading garden writer for 25 years—at ‘Martha Stewart Living,’ ‘Newsday,’ and in three books. I host a public-radio podcast; I also lecture, plus hold tours at my 2.3-acre Hudson Valley (NY) Zone 5B garden, and always say no to chemicals and yes to great plants.