Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Raised beds  (Read 22368 times)


  • Guest
Re: Raised beds
« Reply #15 on: April 18, 2008, 12:00:24 pm »
Hello Kate,
             when you say rock do you mean literally solid rock or just stone or shale ? If it is solid rock then water won't be able to drain away ...even shale could be compact enough to stop drainage !! was there a lot of standing water on the area you now use for your beds? if so it could be that the water table is higher than the level of the soil. what I mean by that is : you are in an old quarry , so stone/rock has been removed altering the original ground level . Water could be seeping out of higher ground ,or even the ground below your beds? , effectively making a small shallow pond. 
     The gypsum would help the clay , but you still need to expose as much of the clay to it as possible ie dig and break up the clay as small as possible, then add the gypsum . Over time it changes the structure of the clay to a more friable type of soil . The manure should have broken down a bit by now , but I don't like to put it in too big to start with does take longer to break down if left very large. To break down the manure will need plenty of worms to get to work on it first , are there any in the soil ?     If it is very clay like then it will be fairly inert , so therefore not much in the way of microbes and the like . All needed to help break down organic material, and neither of which will survive long in waterlogged soil, as they need air to survive. If it is that waterlogged then you will have what boils down to an anaerobic compost heap. Thats the type that stinks, and tends to be slimey, aso like the stinkey stuff/mud at the bottom of ponds and lakes, which is basically rotting organic material such as leaves and the like.   
        You will have to work out if your veggie bed is acting as a sump for the surrounding area. If it is then you would have to lift it up above the water level , or drain the surrrounding area. If the clay has blue streaks in it then that is a good sign that it is waterlogged.  If it is really wet then it may also smell like methane/sulphur or rotten eggs.
        I would try and compost the manure on its own first . If it doesn't have much straw in it already then get some more and mix in with the manure , let it heat up then turn the heap , let it heat up again and then turn again . Do this 4 or 5 times , you will then have what looks and smells like peat , sort of , good compost . Hope some of that helps a bit anyway....good luck with it ...



  • Joined Mar 2008
Re: Raised beds
« Reply #16 on: April 19, 2008, 12:28:07 am »
i rent a 100 metre sq  plot from our local coucil and we have a very good and enthusiastic allotment manager who is very keen that everyone grows well.
ive been wanting proper raised beds on the allotment ever since i took it on 2 years ago so dispite the extra costs we hired a rotavator yesturday which OH immediately took charge of, i was given the task of doing a walk thru to take out any rubbish and stones. it looked lovely after he had finished and only wish that id had the funds to have done rotavated it in the first place.
then today after sorting out what wood we had and then popping into our local wicks to buy some more boards, between us we have made 11 raised beds 6ft by 3ft (miscalculated and ran out of ends to finish the 12th one :)), still need to finish off with some compost but im feeling very proud of our hard work. also have to sort out where im putting the raspberries as need some posts im on the look out for anything i can reuse for that project
im going to be working on a 4 crop rotation with 3 beds each, this is a much larger project than ive grown before here or in the garden and im expecting it to be alot more time consuming initially.
we built our compost area from pallets and at the moment use large plastic containers to store rain water as no water on tap at our site. i did spend more than i really wanted on wood but having raised beds is going to be so much better  8)


  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Raised beds
« Reply #17 on: April 19, 2008, 06:54:21 am »
Well done, you! Sounds like you had a very busy and productive day. You'll not regret the raised beds.


  • Joined Feb 2008
  • St. Mayeux, Brittany
Re: Raised beds
« Reply #18 on: April 19, 2008, 08:13:10 am »
I totally agree Rosemary.  I was thinning out a couple of rows of turnip seedlings the other day, I just put a folding chair next to the raised bed and there you go.  I cant imagine how painful it would have been for my back let alone my knees if I had had to get down on the ground to do it!


  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Near Stirling, Central Scotland
Re: Raised beds
« Reply #19 on: April 19, 2008, 08:25:37 am »
ihave set up a couple of raised bed  notvery big but managable size they are notvery high but i was thinking that i could add both soil and wood over years, I was lucky and i have been given some wood(via a local freecycle group) to do my project with, as i found that buy would can be costly.

For DIY stores if you have a no frill near you (the onlyone i have found in in newport south wales. They are really cheap for diy stuff and brilliant )


  • Joined Mar 2008
Re: Raised beds
« Reply #20 on: April 26, 2008, 10:04:56 pm »
hi fluffy, wish we had a local freecycle scheme near us, what are you planning to grow?


  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Near Stirling, Central Scotland
Re: Raised beds
« Reply #21 on: April 27, 2008, 09:28:06 am »
tank girl were abouts are you?

it's not that difficult to set on up.


  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Fife
Re: Raised beds
« Reply #22 on: April 27, 2008, 10:02:23 am »
I spent the good part of yesterday making my raised beds spaniel proof.   What did he do this morning? ran head first into one and nearly knocked himself out  ::)


  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Near Stirling, Central Scotland
Re: Raised beds
« Reply #23 on: April 27, 2008, 10:15:31 am »
lol wish you had a video lol,
Yesterday nothing done on the garden front, but did get some plants from the freecycle Auchterarder meet also got some liquid gold in the way of worm peeee brilliant jobbies lol. Am knackered now cos i got home from that to go and do a  house moving for a friend and did nt get home untill about 10.00o'clock at night.


  • Joined Dec 2007
Re: Raised beds
« Reply #24 on: May 07, 2008, 03:24:03 pm »
Gypsum adds calcium to your soil. The calcium replaces the magnesium in the soil. It is the magnesium that gives clay soil the stickiness when the soil is wet and it also gives it its concrete texture when dry. Lime will also add calcium but will also change the ph level of your soil. This is good if your soil is acid but not so if the soil is alkaline.


  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Near Stirling, Central Scotland
Re: Raised beds
« Reply #25 on: May 09, 2008, 06:14:09 pm »
ooooooooohhhhhhh that the sciencific bit lol


  • Joined May 2008
Re: Raised beds
« Reply #26 on: May 16, 2008, 10:11:56 pm »
Hello all, just found this one about raised beds and I have a question.......

Does anyone have any suggestions as to where I could get some very high raised beds ( does such a thing even exist ? ), or are they the sort of thing I will have to make individually to suit ? - i.e. using an enormous stack of rather ugly tar covered railway sleepers !!

My better half has restricted mobility - the price of having two children - and has difficulty bending / lifting etc. We are in the process of buying a smallholding ( in Devon ) and, wanting to be as self sufficient as possible, are looking forward to trying to grow our own edibles.

Growing everything at ground level would prevent her from joining in. I think the bed would have to be completely detached from the ground ( i.e. on legs ) otherwise I would just have rather large floor mounted boxes requiring many tons of soil to fill.

Any suggestions ( other than she spends all day supervising !! ) gratefully received.


  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Near Stirling, Central Scotland
Re: Raised beds
« Reply #27 on: May 17, 2008, 10:22:49 am »
um riased pallet bed ?
I think you       mayhave to make it yourself or possible get a carpanter/joiner to do it.

on googling found this


  • Joined Jan 2008
Re: Raised beds
« Reply #28 on: May 17, 2008, 11:00:44 am »
Anyone see Gardeners World last night? A couple set up an allotment syndicate for people without gardens. They use empty inner city spaces. Anyway,my point,instead of digging vast areas,they use those fabric,cubic metre bags that gravel and sand get delivered in these days. They cut down the tops from 90cm to 70cm,fill with topsoil delivered to site,and hey presto,hundreds of raised beds and no digging.Great for access to wheelchair users too. Just wish I had seen this program a few months ago and saved myself endless hours of digging.
They donít join cliques ó more times than not, they stand alone ó but they recognize and gravitate towards one another. Only warriors understand other warriors.


  • Joined Mar 2008
Re: Raised beds
« Reply #29 on: May 18, 2008, 10:22:05 pm »
i was very impressed with what that couple has acieved especially as alot of the people who now use the 'bag' beds have never had access to a garden before, and a brill idea for a raised bed, im very envious of their water tower too!


Raised beds

Started by Mad Goatwoman of Madeley (13.66)

Replies: 18
Views: 6663
Last post March 04, 2013, 10:33:57 pm
by Mad Goatwoman of Madeley
Raised beds

Started by Crofterloon (13.66)

Replies: 7
Views: 3043
Last post July 01, 2013, 11:29:59 pm
by shygirl
raised beds

Started by Ann and Rob (13.66)

Replies: 10
Views: 4551
Last post June 09, 2014, 10:54:55 am
by Ina
raised beds

Started by eryl (13.66)

Replies: 9
Views: 1025
Last post February 24, 2021, 01:34:14 pm
by Anke
Raised beds.. Any tips?

Started by TomGoodWannabe (13.51)

Replies: 20
Views: 18161
Last post September 17, 2008, 05:37:59 pm
by Pebbles

Forum sponsors

FibreHut Energy Helpline Thomson & Morgan Time for Paws Scottish Smallholder & Grower Festival Ark Farm Livestock Movement Service

© The Accidental Smallholder Ltd 2003-2021. All rights reserved.

Design by Furness Internet

Site developed by Champion IS