As a lot of people have enquired as to where the raised beds came from, i thought i’d develop that into a post about raised beds, and how to create them. It was quite a long process which we went through, when we first decided to make the beds, and even purchased the house based on the fact we could fit four in. If that’s not dedication to ‘growing your own,’ i don’t know what is!
We started looking at these raised beds but decided they were too expensive for what they were, didn’t look amazingly nice and didn’t look like they’d take the battering we were probably going to give them! We then thought about old railway sleepers like these but were concerned about chemicals such as tannins affecting the veg as we wanted to be completely organic. We finally decided on oak boards which are actually only available within a certain distance of Herefordshire but if you live in Kent you can also buy them. These were a hundred times better than any scaffold planks we found. Email me and i’ll send you the link.
The cost was quite a lot but i think the initial investment was important as we intend to be in the house for a good few years. The beds were delivered on a large lorry, and took me and my best man (this is 12 days before our wedding!) two days to put together, using a very big drill bit, but a drill that really wasn’t fit for purpose!
The size of the beds are: 1.2m by 2.4m (the area in the middle being slightly smaller). The height is 250mm and the thickness is 60mm. They were very heavy, but untreated, from a sustainable source and organic. The bolts supplied were 4” long.
Once it all got together, it looked nice, but needed something putting in it. For the filling (i’m making this sound like making a sandwich!) we put about five 120 Litre bags of Westland Multipurpose compost in each bed, on top off a layer of cardboard to stop the weeds, and then the cardboard eventually rots down. Mixed in with this we put 2 big 20kg bags of sharp sand to help drainage and dug in some slow release organic fertiliser. The thinking behind this was that garden topsoil, which we could have got free from freecycle would have suited, but the quality wouldn’t have been as good as bagged compost and it would more than likely have been littered with weed seeds…which would have needed weedkiller etc!
After being on the ground for almost a year, the beds have held up very well. They are slightly damp at the moment but are beginning to dry out nicely with all this sun we’ve been having.
The picture below shows what the beds looked like back in April.