Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Top Tips for raised beds please ...  (Read 4195 times)

Red

  • Joined Mar 2011
  • North Yorkshire
Top Tips for raised beds please ...
« on: March 20, 2011, 09:32:51 pm »
After fighting with chick weed and slugs for the past 3 years i've now decided to go with raised beds - i've been given lots of conflicting advice ... so can anyone please tell me any tried and testing ways, i'm thinking of using scaffolding boards for the walls ... advice gladly recieved  :farmer:
Red

bloomer

  • Joined Aug 2010
  • leslie, fife
  • i have chickens, sheep and opinions!!!
Re: Top Tips for raised beds please ...
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2011, 09:47:38 pm »
scaf boards are ok if you can get them cheap before use though they really need treating inside and out with a non toxic wood preserver!!!

depends on your soil but the deeper the beds the better generally, we build them a minimum of 16inches deep for clients and have built them over 2ft on occasion but that was a bit extreme.

remember they won't solve your weed problem but they can make life a lot easier, the big advantage is you control what goes into them when you first fill them, for veggies i usually fill the bottom half with rotted manure and top off with the best soil the client can afford!!!

although some crops don't like the heavy manure in the first year it gives the beds a fantastic boost for future growing!!!

depends how big the beds you have planned are i would put posts every 6ft or so along both sides of the bed that are sunk about 1ft into the ground and the boards screwed to them to stop the beds bowing out of shape too easily.

(can you tell how i earn a living yet?)

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
  • Qui? Moi?
    • ABERDON GUNDOGS for work and show
    • Facebook
Re: Top Tips for raised beds please ...
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2011, 10:01:22 pm »
I built some in my last garden with boards left over from building my house.  Made them high enough to sit on the edge - very relaxing way to do your gardening believe me!  Filled them with rubble so got rubbish off the garden too, then topped off with a few bags of compost.  New owners love them too.  Just the right height for the toddler to help Mummy and Daddy without getting too mucky.
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

Beewyched

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • South Wales
    • tunkeyherd.co.uk
Re: Top Tips for raised beds please ...
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2011, 10:52:26 pm »
Hiya Red  :wave:

We used some old decking boards to build some beds last year.  As it was part-way through the season & we couldn't wait to get planting, we filled them (rather expensively & not again) with top-soil mixed with rotted manure & 3 for 10 compost from a DIY superstore - lovely veg  :carrot: :brocolli: :peas:

One thing though - make sure you can reach the middle of your beds from outside, so you don't have to tread on the growing medium & compact it too much - one of ours is currently under re-construction!!!

 :pig: :chook: :dog: :bee:
Tunkey Herd - registered Kune Kune & rare breed poultry - www.tunkeyherdkunekune.com

bloomer

  • Joined Aug 2010
  • leslie, fife
  • i have chickens, sheep and opinions!!!
Re: Top Tips for raised beds please ...
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2011, 11:55:29 am »
we find 4ft wide is ideal for ease of working on them, they can be as long as you like though!!!

Red

  • Joined Mar 2011
  • North Yorkshire
Re: Top Tips for raised beds please ...
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2011, 10:53:27 pm »
 Thanks for the advice! this is a great forum! I would not have thought about treating the wood first  ::) the beds will be quite large about 30 ft long but will make sure they are thin enought to be able to reach in to weed! Thanks!  :farmer:
Red

darkbrowneggs

  • Joined Aug 2010
    • The World is My Lobster
Re: Top Tips for raised beds please ...
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2011, 11:33:01 pm »
I started my raised beds over 20 years ago, and as I couldn't afford anything I thought I would do a temporary job, then improve them later.  They are 26 ft long (which I now find too long, and will split with a narrow throughway when I get round to it)  and 4 ft wide - being only 5 ftish myself I find it a bit too wide, and if I was starting again might go for 3 ft, but if you are a usual height I am sure 4 ft will be fine.

I used cheap 1" x 6" tanalized board, and I know some will say the chemicals are bad for the veg, but everything has done ok - in fact done well - then held it in place with 2"x2". Ok some of the first beds are looking a bit tatty, but they are still useable after all this time.  Again if I was starting afresh I would extend these 2" corner posts up to about 18" maybe as it would stop the hose pulling over the beds, and gives something to tie potato haulms etc up out of the way with

The paths are black polythene underlay and scalpings on top.  I measured the wheelbarrow before I set the garden out so everything fit, though you dont need a path wide enough for a wheelbarrow except every other bed.

I am on heavy clay soil with ground springs, and there is no way I could manage the garden without the bed system.  Originally being young and fit (20 odd years ago now) I double dug the bottom spit, and have added loads of compost and my own, (or at least my own animals) FYM, plus Lawrence Hills clay soil conditioner of 1 part dolomitic limestone to 4 parts gypsum.  That and 20 odd years blood sweat and tears (literally that is!!) have made an immense difference.

All the best
Sue
To follow my travel journal see http://www.theworldismylobster.org.uk

For lots of info about Marans and how to breed and look after them see www.darkbrowneggs.info

Red

  • Joined Mar 2011
  • North Yorkshire
Re: Top Tips for raised beds please ...
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2011, 09:34:09 pm »
Great advice thanks Sue! wow 20 years use, they must have been good! we're hoping to make some money from veg by products so I was thinking to go for long beds now rather than having to expand later on, so i'm thinking 3 foot wide (only 5ft2)  and about 30 ft long each so should get plenty of veg from that fingers crossed - interesting what you said about treated timber not affecting the veg as these boards seem to be the cheapest so will be a busy weekend I feel coming on  :farmer:
Red

darkbrowneggs

  • Joined Aug 2010
    • The World is My Lobster
Re: Top Tips for raised beds please ...
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2011, 09:47:06 pm »
Yes - I have been amazed at how long they have lasted.  If you asked me at the start I would have said 4 or 5 years max.

As I said I find the length of the beds very irritating to walk round, and when I get round to it I shall chop them in half with a very narrow path, so I can just walk though.  I don't think there would be a loss of growing area as I assume the plants take goodness from under the paths as well.  Just something for you to bear in mind  ;)

All the best
Sue
To follow my travel journal see http://www.theworldismylobster.org.uk

For lots of info about Marans and how to breed and look after them see www.darkbrowneggs.info

Red

  • Joined Mar 2011
  • North Yorkshire
Re: Top Tips for raised beds please ...
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2011, 01:59:07 pm »
Thanks for the advice, we started to build 4 raised beds this weekend, what a difference already, the soil isn't compacted so it is much easier to plant out into!!!  :farmer:
Red

 

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