Monday, November 06, 2006

Building raised beds

Being the type of person who likes things neatly organised and in a logical order, I have decided to build raised beds on the allotment.

People have different views on raised beds, some people think they are a waste of space, some feel they create more work, some say they drain too quickly and others think they just make the allotment nicer.

I prefer raised beds for a few reasons, but mainly they help you to organise your planting and therefore help your crop rotation.

Last summer I experimented with a couple of raised beds in the back garden (see the picture) and I found they helped me (the complete beginner) to control the planting and helped keep me orgainsed.

Therefore I decided to build raised beds on my allotment – so far I have built 4, and may squeeze in another 2.

They are really quite straightforward to build – the ones in the garden were built from rough cut timber I bought from a local timber merchants. But the ones at the allotment I have built from old pallets. As with everything once you have done something you start to spot things that you could recycle or re-use etc. If you get pallets then you will have to break them down which can take a bit longer but it is free!

Basically my mate Lukerman emailed me some simple instructions to build the raised beds and I just followed these. This is what he said

4-6' high beds usually enough unless you're disabled - any higher and they drain too quickly

Best to use rough sawn treated timber boards 150 x 25 (or better 32mm) in lengths as required. And make the beds 1.5m wide so you reach the middle from both sides

Secure boards with 600x50x50mm timber pegs and galvanised nails every 1-2 metres. All this should be available from any good fencing/builders merchant (cheap as chips).

Sleepers probably an overkill - new ones expensive, old ones full of creosote which is carcinogenic

To get the extra soil without getting extra stuff brought in dig out 4" deep topsoil from between beds and work in 4" of well rotted pooh every year and it'll look after itself.

1 comment:

PIE said...

Ahh, the raised bed. I switched to raised beds as you saw last year, I have had much better yields and less disease issues since I did. I personally find them less work because the weeding is so much less and easier (provided you arent stepping on your soil in the beds)

A super book for reference, and there is some information on line as well, is Square Foot Gardening- Mel Bartholomew. Good luck, and I am really enjoying watching your allotment grow!