Which materials ensure your raised beds are sturdy, long-lasting and, most importantly, safe to grow food in?
In this video, we explain what you need to know to get the best from raised bed gardening. From how to build the beds, the right size to choose and which soil mix to use, you’ll find invaluable advice with examples from real gardens and a demonstration of how our Garden Planner can help you plan out the perfect spacing for plants within raised beds.
- The perfect spot for a raised bed is sunny and close to the house for easy access for weeding and harvesting. Raised beds can be sited on any surface.
- Our Garden Planner makes planning the layout and location of your beds simple. Use the Rectangle tool or choose one of the Raised Beds from the selection of Garden Objects for a more realistic look. With the beds laid out you can add your crops and even include drip irrigation, if required.
- To avoid the need to step on the soil, make your raised bed no more than four feet wide, of two to three feet wide if it will be sited against a wall or fence. The minimum height for a raised bed is six inches, of up to a foot for root crops such as carrots and potatoes. Don’t forget to leave about two feet between beds for paths.
How to Make a Raised Bed
To make a bed from wood, you have three options:
- Treated Wood. Pressure-treated or dip-treated wood is commonly available. It lasts longer than untreated wood, however many gardeners prefer more environmentally friendly alternatives derived from natural products.
- Durable Woods. Cedar and larch are popular for raised beds, as they are naturally durable and long-lasting. They are relatively expensive, but they will last for many years.
- Thicker Boards. 2-inch thick boards will take longer to rot than thinner alternatives.
To make your raised bed, screw pre-cut planks together using decking screws.
Screwing the boards into wooden corner posts, instead of screwing through one board into the end of another, can make the frame sturdier. Either way, it’s easier if you pre-drill the holes to one size smaller than the screw diameter.
Fill your beds with a nutrient-rich mix of home-made compost or commercially-produced potting soil, and topsoil. With the right mix you shouldn’t need to add fertilizer; just top up with compost once or twice a year.
Find more expert advice and create a garden plan that can be used next year for proper crop rotation!
The Garden Planner is available from The Old Farmer’s Almanac here: http://gardenplanner.almanac.com/