This method of gardening is becoming ever more popular for a variety of reasons, ease of access, neatness, poor subsoil and space saving being just a few contributing factors.
Raised vegetable beds can be constructed from a number of materials, timber being the most popular, although brick and concrete block constructions are not uncommon. The size and shape of your beds obviously has to be determined by the space you have available to you and a bit of planning ahead will definitely be worthwhile. Make sure you allow enough space between the beds to allow easy access all around, not just for yourself but also for a wheelbarrow or wheelchair if necessary too and also make sure the beds aren’t so wide that you can’t easily reach the middle of them to weed – and harvest!
The height of your raised bed will make a difference to the materials available to you for construction. If it is only going to be up to 30cm (12”) high then raised bed kits are often available or they can quite easily be built from timber boarding – known as gravel boards, usually 25mm (1”) thick, concrete blocks, or broken down pallets for example.
Once the beds get to 45cm (18”) high and above then a bit more strength is required, railway sleepers have often been used in the past but please be aware of certain regulations that are now in place regarding used sleepers, especially when being used in “containers intended for growing purposes” (see Directive 2001/90/EC for more information). Of course simulated railway sleepers are also available if you have any doubts at all. A huge variety of materials can be used though, old car tyres, bricks, large rocks, in fact anything that can be stacked or constructed in a way that is strong enough to hold the soil and compost in place without it leaking out.
A relatively new innovation is to have the bed completely off the ground, after all, it is unlikely that you are going to use the full depth of soil in a planter that is nearly 3ft deep, so why not have the space underneath as a storage area instead? VegTrug™ supply these in a large range of styles, both decorative as well as practical and these have been successfully used for growing all sorts of vegetables in.
Filling the raised bed correctly is also vital to its success. All beds will need a good mixture of sterilised topsoil and compost, with some farmyard manure incorporated too to help provide nutrients to your plants. As the beds are all above the ground, they will drain quickly so regular watering is even more important than ground grown vegetables, also consider using a fertiliser such as incredicrop® combined with incredicompost® to give your crops the best possible chance.
Whichever design, height and building materials you decide to use, growing your vegetables in raised beds is always rewarding, and probably backache-saving too!
View our full range of raised beds for sale on our website.
I’ve been gardening for as long as I can remember, my first earliest memory being planting
seeds in my Grandfather’s prestige flower bed and having a prize lettuce growing there, which he proudly left to show everyone.
Since then, gaining knowledge and experience from both my Grandfather and my Father, I’ve continued to garden, both as a hobby and later on as a professional gardener and landscaper for 12 years. I love all aspects of it, from the design and build, to the planting out of summer borders with plants you’ve either grown from seed or raised from plugs. Unusual varieties always catch my eye and I’m keen to try growing them, even if sometimes it means learning from my mistakes.