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Raised garden beds with veg

There is always a good time to start growing your own fruit & veggies and depending on the space you have, a small planter is a great start. But, if you have a little more space, why not build your own raised garden bed, once you’ve built one, any additional ones are easy.

Why use raised beds?

The main reasons for looking at raised beds are:

  • Improving drainage
  • Increasing soil temperature
  • Improving access – great for the less mobile and children
  • Growing plants in a different soil type

What can you grow in a raised bed?

The list is long but can include:

  • Vegetables
  • Soft fruits
  • Herbaceous perennials
  • Alpines
  • Small trees & shrubs

With all these benefits, we bet you can’t wait to make a start.

Planning your raised garden bed

Firstly, how much space do you comfortably have (remembering it’s best to allow a walking area all the way around to avoid leaning over too much from one side)

Don’t go mad and try to create 3,4 or more in one go, start slowly get the first one built and learn for additional ones.

1.5m wide is good to allow access from both sides.

Allow access by foot or with wheelbarrows/wheelchairs and go for 30cm minimum width for walking and 45cm width for wheeled access.

Materials – treated timber is the best option for look, cost and workability – there are pre-built kits available but these can be very costly so let’s build it ourselves, it’s great to learn new skills.

You can use sleepers or heavy-duty boards – sleepers may last a little longer.

BSW Timeless Smooth Railway Sleepers Heavy Duty T & G Boards 200mm x 47mm Timber Edging/Site Peg

 

Now you know where, how large and what materials you will use, let’s look at the next step;

Building your raised bed

  • Clear your site and stack your timber close but not too close
  • Mark out the beds layout with sting and stakes or marker spray
  • Make sure the area is level
  • Insert your corner stakes sunk 30-40cm into the ground and every 1.5m length of timber
  • Attach the side timbers – timber sleepers, heavy-duty boards or timber joists
  • Add additional side timbers on top to get the desired height – not so high you can’t reach over but not so low it hurts your back (25cm-
  • Add joining brackets if longer length timbers have been used

Filling your raised bed

Your structure is complete and solid, now to fill the bed.

  • Once the sides are in place, use organic matter to enrich the underlying soil
  • Use open textured soil (add sand if needed)  and make sure there are holes to allow water to drain. For most plants, 25cm of topsoil is sufficient with sharp sand below to allow drainage
  • If you’ve chosen to build a deeper bed, greater than 50cm , remove the underlying topsoil (for use later in filling up the bed) and replace with subsoil, rubble or old inverted turves. Then replace the topsoil, enriched with organic matter and fertiliser
  • Once you’ve filled your bed, allow to settle for two weeks before planting (and top up with top soil if needed)

Raised garden beds with veg Raised garden beds ready for planting

And that’s it – you’ve built your first raised bed and can add new ones as you need them or if space allows.

For all the raised bed timber products you’ll ever need, explore our complete collection.

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