What’s the idea?
Build raised vegetable beds and take the strain out of gardening. You’ll grow fabulous crops and your back will love you for it!
What’s the story?
I’m back in the allotment and looking at fresh ideas for my patch.
If you have a vegetable garden you’ll spend a lot of time bending down.
Whether you’re digging, sowing, or planting, it can have a huge impact on your back.
The answer is to build raised vegetable beds, as a way of raising the soil height.
They bring many other benefits too when growing your crops.
It’s also a great method if you’re new to growing your own vegetables.
People should do this because…?
For me, the number one reason is convenience,
because even if you don’t have a lot of time for gardening you can still have a productive vegetable garden.
They can look great and often improve a derelict part of your garden.
By raising the soil level, raised beds can help reduce back strain when bending over to tend the bed.
So if you suffer from a bad back or are an older gardener, they will be especially helpful.
Because you can sit on the edge of the bed to weed as long as you make it strong enough.
Plus you can also make a temporary raised bed so you can move it about to suit you.
Your yields can be 4 times that of a standard vegetable garden because you can set plants closer together.
Raised vegetable beds are great for growing small plots of veggies,
Which should always include favourites such as lettuce, tomatoes, and radishes
You’ll get fewer weeds because tilling the soil in a standard (non-raised) garden actually buries weed seeds so you end up with more of them.
If you cover your raised vegetable bed in mulch or cover it in winter it’s easier to remove weeds once the season begins.
The depth of the soil allows greater drainage which is great if your garden is boggy or damp.
Your soil is less likely to erode in very wet conditions because the sides of the raised bed retain the soil.
Keeping the bugs away is much easier, especially if you cover your beds with fabric.
In some parts of the country, you will be able to plant earlier in the season because they warm up the soil quicker.
How do you do it?
- Pick a spot where there is plenty of sunlight because your plants will need plenty of it to grow.
- Select the material you want your raised vegetable bed to be made of.
- If you want it to be made from wood, decide the size you want it to be.
- The ideal depth is 12 inches or 30 cm as this will allow the roots plenty of room to grow.
- Cut the side boards to the length you choose, then measure and cut.
- Use 2 x 4 timber to make the corner posts and again, measure and cut.
- Set the posts on the wall corner and drill pilot holes and then use screws to hold it together.
- Do this on all four corners and use a strengthening board in the middle.
- Now screw it together to make a box.
- Move it to the position you have chosen.
- Ensure the soil under it is well dug using a garden fork.
- If the wood isn’t rot-resistant you can staple heavy-duty plastic to the internal wood sides.
- Add a mix of soil and well-rotted – compost to the top of the timber sides.
- Now plant out your seeds or seedlings and water well.
- Remember it’s best to water them in the morning because it gives them plenty of water to see them through the heat of the day.
- Watch them grow.
- Enjoy the fruit (and vegetables) of your labours!
Stuff you may need
- Timber planks or sleepers
- 4 x 2 timber
- Measuring tape
- Wood saw
- Plastic sheet
- Garden fork
- Organic material/compost.
- Vegetable seeds/seedlings
- Watering can