Since we took on the plot a year ago, I’ve been wanting to get some raised beds installed. After a year, I’ve finally got started.
There are so many reasons for using raised beds:
- Our soil is heavy, and raised beds will improve the drainage.
- Our plot slopes, and with raised beds we’ll be able to terrace it, to some degree.
- We’re fighting to liberate our plot from weeds, and raised beds will make access to the beds for weeding easier.
- As well as making weeding the beds easier, installing raised beds will create good solid borders for paths covered with weed membrane and wood chippings, helping us to beat the weeds there too.
- Well maintained paths should be better barriers to slugs and snails migrating between beds than the bare earth we’ve had so far has been.
- When we get around to it, we’ll be able to attach to the edges of the beds sturdier supports for netting or plastic sheeting than those we’ve been sticking in the ground so far.
- We’ll be able to move the plastic sheeting from bed to bed as crops rotate around the beds, letting us grow crops like tomatoes under cover without problems related to the build-up of soil-borne diseases.
So why’s it taken so long? Well, the way I want to do it will take something like 175m of wood, which was never going to be cheap. Knowing how many people take on allotments and then give them up soon afterwards, before investing that much money (and time too, of course), it seemed sensible to be see how we got on as gardeners. After a year, I’m pretty convinced we’ll be sticking with it.
To get the wood, I emailed various local scaffolding companies, and found one that was offering used boards, including delivery, at a pretty good price. I was going to just order a few at first, to build a couple of beds and check that I was happy with them, but changed my mind at the last minute and ordered enough for ten 1m x 4m raised beds.
Having got the boards delivered to the plot, I roped my step-dad into helping measure them up, saw them to the right lengths, and screw them together. We got the measuring and sawing done, but a lot of the assembly has had to wait, as most of the places I want to put them have vegetables growing in them at the moment.