Raised Beds For Vegetables Explained

David Hall was digging his allotment recently, keeping an eye on an adjacent plot holder who was constructing raised beds. Taking a breather, it crossed my mind whether I should adopt such a system, would it prove more productive and less hard work?

Created by David Hall on Friday, 21st of August, 2015.


Raised Bed

To construct a raised bed for vegetables, you’ll need two boards measuring about 1in x 4ins x 4ft long and two others of the same thickness and height but as long as you like, 6ft or 8ft would be a good choice.

Nail or screw 12in pegs near the end, and flush with the top, of each board. With the pegs facing inward, use a mallet to drive them into the ground, so the boards form a rectangle. A long spirit level is useful to ensure that they are level.

Now fill the bed with well rotted manure, compost and top soil.

If you're unsure about constructing one yourself, several manufacturers have easy to assemble raised beds made from excellent quality timber.

Are They More Productive?

First impressions of a plot using raised beds for vegetables are good. Growing areas are physically separated from paths and everything looks very neat and orderly.

The theory is that, as the bed is deep and the soil not compacted, the roots have lots of room to grow downwards.

Hence vegetables can been sown in blocks instead of rows and grown closer together, significantly increasing yield.

Easy access is also guaranteed since the bed is only 4ft across and can be tended from either side. As you don’t tread on a raised bed, the free draining soil structure should be maintained and only a little forking before planting is required.

You can also control in a much more effective way the soil’s pH. Most vegetables prefer neutral to acidic growing conditions. So if you have naturally alkaline soil, by raising the bed you can create a more acidic environment.

As for maintenance, add a layer of compost or manure every spring and mulch to discourage weeds. A crop of green manure at the end of the season would be useful.

Are There Any Negatives?

There are only a few drawbacks. If you buy the boards, there is the initial expense and effort in creating the beds. You may need a friend to help with the work.

Since the soil should have good drainage, extra watering may be necessary especially for seedlings and young crops.

Not all vegetables can be successfully cultivated. For example, potatoes need earthing up and staking runner beans in soft soil isn’t satisfactory.

However, when all these factors are considered, raised beds certainly do make sense. Increased productivity will soon outweigh the initial expenditure and, unless you enjoy digging, they are very much a labour saving idea.

Related Articles

What To Do In The Garden In December

What To Do In The Garden In December

Whether it's a bleak December or the more mild weather we are becoming used to, you can still spend useful time in the garden. David Coton suggests the jobs that can occupy the shortening days.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Monday, 20th of November, 2017.

What To Do In The Garden In October

What To Do In The Garden In October

In October, David Coton is getting the garden prepared for the onset of colder weather but, at the same time, the arrival of spring bulbs in the garden centre is a reminder that you should also now be planning ahead for next year.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Monday, 2nd of October, 2017.

VegTrug - The Easy Way To Grow Your Own Vegetables

VegTrug - The Easy Way To Grow Your Own Vegetables

At GLEE this year David Coton visited the VegTrug stand to find out how their specially designed space saving planters can encourage us to grow more of our own food without the use of pesticides.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Thursday, 14th of September, 2017.

What To Do In The Garden In September

What To Do In The Garden In September

The record breaking temperatures over August bank holiday will have got many people out into the garden and, although autumn is only just around the corner, David Coton can suggest these September jobs.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Tuesday, 29th of August, 2017.

comments powered by Disqus

Author

David Hall David Hall

View Profile

RSS

View RSS Feed

Follow Us!

Recent Articles

What To Do In The Garden In April

What To Do In The Garden In April

With warmer weather and an early Easter, the garden centre is busy at the moment with customers stocking up on summer bedding plants - snapdragons, cornflowers, cosmos, verbena, phlox, petunia, As well as filling planters, hanging baskets and borders with colour that will last all summer, there are always plenty of jobs to do in the garden during April and David Coton has these suggestions.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Thursday, 29th of March, 2018.

How Can I Help To Save Our Bees?

How Can I Help To Save Our Bees?

Every gardener must have noticed a decline in the bee population over recent years. Intensive farming that demands the use of toxic chemicals, climate change and parasite infestation have all been put forward as potential causes, it's a worrying trend but one that we can all help to reverse.

Author: Martyn Loach

Written by Martyn Loach.
Published on Thursday, 22nd of March, 2018.

Trimetals Launch Two New Guardian Sheds

Trimetals Launch Two New Guardian Sheds

As an excellent alternative to conventional products, Trimetals' storage solutions blend top quality manufacture with contemporary style. Their range has now been extended to include two new maintenance free sheds and Robert Hall has all the details.

Author: Robert Hall

Written by Robert Hall.
Published on Monday, 12th of March, 2018.

GardenSite Visit Zest 4 Leisure Direct New Distribution Centre

GardenSite Visit Zest 4 Leisure Direct New Distribution Centre

Zest 4 Leisure manufactures a large variety of timber garden furniture, fencing and leisure products, David Coton visited their brand new nine acre site near Chester last week to find out more about current development and future plans.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Friday, 9th of March, 2018.