Monday, 20 January 2014

Raised beds

Many argue that raised beds are the perfect solution to vegetable growing. You can reach all parts of the bed without having to stand on the soil, they are a nice height to work on and they look great too. It also gives you the freedom to locate your beds wherever you want them. It's best to observe the way the sun moves around your garden for a couple of days before you decide on their final position, this will ensure any seedlings get the best possible start.

A disadvantage is that unless you have a large amount of compost to hand already you will have to buy it in. Depending on how many beds you have to fill this can be an expensive initial outlay, so not ideal for those on a tight budget. It does however eliminate having to dig the whole plot over when starting a new veg patch from scratch. If you are prepared to thoroughly dig your plot over then there is no reason why you cannot achieve the same tilth of that of a raised bed filled with sacks of compost.

I've gone for a combination of the two. Raised beds closer to the house and the main veg patch at the bottom of the garden. Along with various fruit trees and bushes dotted around wherever I can fit them. The raised beds are going to be used for any crops that may need a bit more attention or that are handy to have close to the kitchen.

I managed to dig up some leeks that I had planted last September before the house move. These have been sitting in an over crowded pot up to now. They have gone in alongside some lettuces I also managed to save. I'm not expecting much growth for the next few weeks while the roots re-establish but I'm looking forward to early crop of both at some point in April. This will also free up the bed for a summer crop, not sure what yet but I'm sure I'll have plenty of ideas between now and then.

The second bed will soon be planted with shallot sets, leaving enough space in between rows for some Chanternay carrots. the beds aren't quite deep enough for a maincrop of carrots but the smaller Chanternay should do well with the shallots acting as a mask against root fly.

The third and final bed is still undecided. I was thinking about entering some veg in a local show come the summer so this could be an ideal place to keep an eye on them. onions maybe or perhaps beetroot. That's a way off yet though!


  1. I'm a big fan of raised beds too. Mine are sited on top of ordinary garden soil that was dug as deep as possible before the addition of the raised beds, so the depth of growing-medium is quite respectable. Certainly enough for carrots! I like the look of the corner reinforcements on yours, which should make them pretty strong.

  2. Thanks Mark, we'll see how it goes with the carrots this year, I've never had too much luck with growing them. The beds came as one unit already built for free, think I got lucky there.