A Guide to Creating Raised Beds for Vegetables in Your Garden

April is a great time to make changes to your garden and create new beds to grow some of your own vegetables. Creating raised beds is a good solution if you have mobility issues, if the ground beneath the beds is hard-standing or the soil is less than ideal. There are a number of different ways to create raised beds and which methods you decide to use should depend on the materials that you can easily get your hands on.

Creating a frame for a raised bed:

Size: The size of your bed or beds will of course be dictated in part by the space you have to spare. When deciding how much space to give over to growing, consider how much time you will have for gardening and how much of your diet you would like to be able to grow – the more the better! Always remember, however, that you must always be able to reach the middle of your beds.

By AllispossibleShape: Shape is also important when it comes to planning a raised bed. The importance of edge habitat means that you should always plan to maximise edge as much as possible. A circular, irregularly shaped, wavy or keyhole bed can help you achieve this aim, or you might opt for more, smaller, rectangular beds rather than fewer larger and broader ones.

Depth: The depth you will need to make your bed will alter depending on the surface you are building upon. It will have to be a little deeper if there is concrete or some other hard surface beneath that roots will not really be able to penetrate. Of course the depth will also be determined by what you plan to grow. Leafy salad crops will need only a shallow depth while of course things like carrots will need the bed to be a lot deeper. As a rule of thumb, 6 inches is a minimum depth and 12 inches is ideal to grow most crops. Of course they can also be much deeper than that. Making them higher will make them easier to work on.

By hardworkinghippyMaterial: When it comes to creating the framing material for your raised bed, you can use your imagination. Think creatively about materials than can be bought for low cost of salvaged for free. If you have an abundance of cut wood then logs can be perfect as sides for your bed, either log cabin style or side by side on end. Perhaps you will find that you have an abundance of stone that can be used, or reclaimed bricks. Raised beds can also be made from rubbish – think outside the box and you are sure to be able to create beautiful and functional raised beds for very little outlay. Straw bales can be used as the raised bed and the planting medium in one.

Planting medium for a raised bed:

Topsoil and compost is not the only option for a medium in which to grow your crops. You might wish to consider straw as a growing medium, or creating a hügelkultur bed using wood in the base of a raised mound. To save money on filling a traditional raised bed and to create a bed full of nutrients for the use of the plants you grow, consider building up your beds with layers of food scraps and garden waste, green and brown clippings, cardboard etc. before topping off with a soil and compost mix into which you can easily plant.