BUILDING RAISED BEDS
Building a raised bed is a very simple concept and is extremely easily to construct and assemble. No great skills are required and we should look at this project as a labour of love. Bear in mind that a raised bed has many and numerous advantages over the standard or conventional open garden. It will improve and enhance the growing area, it has very little maintenance when complete and if given the right amount of care and attention it can in time, become a standout feature of your back garden. A raised bed can be used as a vegetable patch, as a special flower garden area, for shrubs, it can be utilised as a salad patch or for the growing of herbs. The choices are endless and numerous.
What is a raised bed?
A raised bed is a selected area over ground that is enclosed by wood/timber mostly, sometimes stone and or concrete blocks. The idea of a raised bed is to have top-class soil that will have good drainage and it is a lot more likely to heat up in the spring time thus allowing for earlier sewing and planting. This gives an extra advantage over the traditional open garden patch. We have a longer growing period and the yield is far greater than the open back-garden as we knew it. It also cuts down a lot on maintenance and weeding.
How and where to begin to Build a Raised bed:
Select a sunny spot that is not very shaded. Ensure that you can easily access the area from all sides and also ensure that the area is reasonably level as this will enable moisture to be retained for longer. If your circumstances allow–locate your raised bed in a prominent position when, on entering your back garden it will stand out as a feature and you can show it off to your neighbours family and friends. Another idea is, if at all possible, we could also position our raised bed where it could be seen from a kitchen or sitting room window. From time to time some raised beds are positioned parallel to a garage or boundary wall. This can be beneficial to some people who grow tall plants, as a trellis can be mounted on the wall to tie-in the tall plants.
Decide on dimensions and make a start;
Depending on the size of your back garden and how much space you can allot to the raised bed – ideally raised beds are 8-12ft. long and 4-6ft. wide. This will allow for any part of the bed to be accessible on all sides at all times. Most raised beds are anything from 10″-16″ deep. Knowing what dimensions you are using and where the bed is located, dig the existing surface as this will allow for the two soil types to integrate and also blend together. It will allow for better drainage and aeration of the soil, something that is important to the raised bed ideals. Build a Raised bed with timber/wood to begin with, fix frame into rectangular shape around the area of the bed along the lines which we discussed above. A good idea is to insert four corner posts inside the frame at each corner and two more midway of the frame. This will ensure a strong, sturdy, robust frame to begin with. Nail or screw the planks to the corner posts thus securing it into position. If you could, use planks that are rather sturdy. Scaffolding planks are ideal for this project as these are universally 8 ft in length. Three of these will be sufficient – as this will give you an 8ft by 4ft structure for starters. Infill this raised bed with good topsoil and a good quality compost, this is very important as this will be your foundation bed for going forward. This quality compost can be got at any good garden centre, there you will also get professional advice on what type of mix to apply to your bed. You can ask for ideas on how to start sewing or planting that you may wish to begin with. Therefore to build a raised bed can be a very exciting and rewarding project. The type of soil and soil mixture depends on what we want to plant in our raised beds.
Best wishes and happy gardening to all……..