Raised Garden Beds offer a wide range of benefits, from increasing your garden’s productivity to overcoming challenging health issues.
Now is the time to prepare for the new growing season.
Benefits of Raised Beds
As there is less bending involved you are being kind to your back. You can also sit on the sides of the bed whilst sowing, maintaining and harvesting your flowers and vegetables.
A raised bed could be the ideal solution if you have limited space. The optimum width for your bed is 3 to 4 feet, which enables you to reach the plants without treading on the soil.
Plagued by poor soil? Why not create a raised bed and fill it with nutrient rich soil? High quality soil is easily worked and also drains rapidly.
You will undoubtedly achieve higher yields as your plants will relish the loose, rich soil.
Longer Growing Season
A cold frame can be added to the top of the bed to prolong the growing season.
You have a better chance of keeping slugs and snails at bay. Laying a weed suppressant fabric under the bed will reduce the damage caused by root eating pests and deter rodents from burrowing underneath.
What Is The Ideal Size For Your Bed?
A number of factors dictate the size of your raised bed……
Make sure you can walk right round the bed.
You must be able to reach the centre of the bed with ease, which normally limits the width to 4 feet.
The length of the bed is only constrained by the size of your plot, the cost of materials and what you plan to plant.
The height can vary from 6 inches to 36 inches. Generally speaking a deeper bed will reward you with better results, as the roots are longer and therefore they have a better chance to absorb nutrients.
36 inches is a comfortable height if you want to sit on the side of the bed to carry out your gardening
Building Your Raised Bed
You can build the sides of your raised bed with a variety of materials……Stone, brick, cinder blocks or paving slabs on edge do require footings, which adds to the expense and the work involved.
We recommend pressure treated (tanalised) timber, which can be laid onto prepared ground. Old railway sleepers are no longer acceptable as harmful preservatives can leach into the soil.
Use 3 inch square timber posts at the corners to provide extra strength and stability.
Black polythene can be fixed to the inside of the timber to stop the wood from decaying and any preservative leaching into the soil.
A company called WoodBlocX offer a modular, wood block system, which can be installed extremely quickly…..even on sloping ground.
They provide a 15 year guarantee against structural failure.
Filling Your Raised Bed
Now that you have finished constructing your raised bed, the bottom 3 inches is filled with a layer of coarse gravel, stones or hardcore.
Fill the remainder of the bed with a general soil mix comprising 3 parts organic matter, 2 parts sharp sand to 7 parts of topsoil.
What to Grow in Your Bed
The beauty of raised beds is that you can grow almost anything in them, as you control the type of soil which is put into the bed.
Here are a few suggestions……..
Soft fruits Raspberries, currants, strawberries and blackberries
Vegetables Practically any vegetable will grow in your raised bed
Herbaceous perennials Your bed is ideal for growing plants which have nice flowers for cutting
Alpines If you provide good drainage, alpines will grow extremely well
Ericaceous or lime hating plants If you fill your bed with acid soil, lime hating plants like rhododendrons and heathers will thrive, even though you may live in an area with alkaline soil.
You might also like to read Carry On Gardening…..Enjoy The Benefits Of Being Outside and
We hope you enjoy creating your raised garden bed and benefit from the flowers and produce you grow.