Gardening · GYO · Problems

Raised Beds… Should I?

So, again, I was outside looking at the veg plot and making some gentle, not ‘etched in stone’ plans for next season. As you do on chilly cold mornings!

I must have been stood for quite a while, lost in thought and planning because the postie managed to creep up on me. Be nice… I was only on my 2nd cup of tea of the day, the neurons weren’t firing yet. B-)

Not My Garden

I have been reading up on small space veg plots and a lot of them suggest raised beds, because then you don’t have to suffer the problems that I did last year with:

  • Bad foot placement on my part
  • Bending
  • Less than straight lines
  • Possible Flooding
  • Slug infestation
  • Carrot fly ?
  • Bending
  • Weeds
  • More bending

Now… What I’m actually thinking of is to build about 5, maybe 6 beds. The reason is that if I do it this way I can reuse the bag idea for potatoes, because it worked rather well. After that I can use each bed to hold different things and between them I can just tramp on the ground and not worry about standing on or damaging anything.

Weeds were also quite a bit of an issue. But only because I had difficulties getting to them. With a raised bed I may be able to just pluck them out more easily because I’ll not have to break my back standing over other plants, I can just crouch by the side and save my back. Everything will be much better positioned. Not only that but it will be so much easier to work out crop rotations.

My only 2 issues with this is that I’m going to have to buy some wood and topsoil.

The Topsoil is going to put me back about £30 for a ton sack of good quality stuff and the wood… I have no idea. Although if I’m lucky I may find some pallets around the place that I could rip apart. We can only hope on that one though!

Are raised beds going to actually give me any benefits? I’m going with ‘Yes’. If only to help me not have as much back pain and weed invasion.



12 thoughts on “Raised Beds… Should I?

  1. Sounds like you’ve convinced yourself already – apart from maybe the cost aspect.

    I’ve discounted raised beds for myself but a definite advantage seems to be quality of soil (i.e. you can control for pH and size of particles, so you can grow stuff which might not thrive in your ground.

    Out of interest, where does one get a tonne of top soil for £30?

    Have you thought about asking on Freegle (the Leeds branch is a good one) etc for pallets?

    1. I was going to look on the wakefield freecycle page… I was also going to keep an eye out locally. They are sometimes dumped around here on the verges.

      As to topsoil…
      It probably isn’t the best in the world… But it looks good enough to be mixed in with the stuff I already have.

      And, to be honest I’m still in two minds about it. I would *like* to… But if I have to spend serious cash then… No. B-)

  2. Raised beds are easier to make no-dig, so less effort all round. I have 3 that are 8×4 feet and about a foot high. I got the top soil in Freegle front guy round the corner who was putting a patio in. I doubt it was very good topsoil but I’ve improved it over the years. If memory serves I bought wood from B&B but you could find wood good enough for this purpose at a timber recycling centre, or a demolition yard, or possibly an architectural salvage yard. Old scaffold boards would do the trick too. I think I used 2in fence posts for the corners and to brace the sides about half way along. I screwed the planks to the post – the first time I used nails and they eventually pulled away from the posts. The postswere cut to 2ft and “spiked” so I could bang them in to the ground for stability. I think you could build the structure pretty cheaply if you hunt around for the wood. Good luck! JJ

    1. Thanks!
      I don’t know if there are any reclamation yards near me. I’ll google in a bit and find out.
      I don’t think I need the greatest soil in the world as I can, as you did, improve it myself. I have my own composter and the soil in the ground is still fairly good, if a little clay-y.
      If it really comes down to it I could just gather wood over the year and only have basic stuff in my veg plot and add raised beds as I find the materials to do it.
      I’m not in any rush or anything… I’m just working on tiny projects! B-)

      The idea of spiking them is a good one.. Didn’t think of that.

      Thank you for the comment!

      1. No prob. You can use pallets, they are just a bit of a pain to take apart. I’ve used them to make several planters so have got it down to something of an art now. With a crowbar, prise the boards away from the rails just enough to get a hacksaw in there and cut the nails. This avoids prying too hard and splitting the wood. If your beds aren’t too big , a square metre say, pallets will do the job and you can use the rails to make the corner posts. JJ

        1. I have ripped apart enough pallets in my time. It got to the point, when I was younger that I could kick them apart!
          I managed to find a reclamation yard though… And it’s not too far away so I will pop over during the week and see what kind of money I am looking at.

  3. Good luck – I made mine from wood left over from another project, so free. I filled them with upturned turfs, garden compost and bought ‘soil conditioner’ which I got from a local supplier – add a bit each year and they slowly fill up. They have all the advantages you note, except the slug deterrents. Unfortunately I think the wood just gives the little beasts somewhere to hid and breed.

    1. Generally I’ve managed to re-use materials like wood over and over but I seem to have managed to clear out my stores now so if I want to do anything I will have to go out and get it.
      There is a reclamation just off J30 on the 62 so I’m going to go over and have a look at it, see what they have.
      As to the slugs… I don’t know. The birds get loads… And my frog population is good, judging from today’s vid! I’m hoping this will just do the last to get on top of them.

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