Raised Beds – Grow your own vegetables in the smallest of spaces

by Jack Gardener on September 15, 2009 · 2 comments

in Gardening Essentials,Planters

Do you dream of picking fresh herbs and lettuce in your garden…… Do you want to eat organic but cannot afford to pay the astronomical prices of the supermarkets?

Growing your own fruit and veg is the answer!

Raised beds enable you to produce meaningful crops in even the smallest of gardens. Many of the beds currently on the market come with corner posts and sliding panels so that you can chose how large you wish your bed to be. Sliding new panels into your posts can double or even treble the size of you plot in seconds. If space is an issue you can build up instead of out!

There are currently many raised bed kits available at extremely reasonable prices. They help to create an ideal way of growing your own vegetables. Raised beds are free-draining and easily accessible on all sides.

Choosing the right raised bed for your garden

Raised beds can vary massively in price. This is generally down to the differences in quality of construction and materials they are made from.

The foremost and most important thing to consider when buying your raised bed is space. Measure the area where you want to place the bed in your garden, to ensure the bed you buy will fit. Most kits are either rectangular or triangular however some come with sides that can be slotted together to make any shape you wish.

Make sure that you can reach all areas of the bed without treading on it. If you plan to put your bed against a wall you will have restricted access on that side. You can choose a narrower bed or even a higher raised bed to reduce this problem.

If you are looking for something slightly different, railway sleepers can be used to create a raised bed in your garden and look very stylish.

Remember, even if your garden is filled with ‘bad soil’, clay or builder’s rubble, building a raised bed and filling it with top soil will create a fantastic new plot where your vegetables can flourish!

Raised beds provide their own castle-like defence mechanism against slugs and other ground bugs. A line of organic pellets at the base of your bed will prevent any little critters attacking your prized crops! By being elevated off of the ground your bed is far less likely to be used by the neighbour’s cat as a lavatory as well.

Once you have purchased your raised bed and filled it with top soil (you may need to line the veggie bed also) an efficient method of planting in a small space is ‘square foot gardening’. This is preferable over the more traditional way of sowing rows. Divide your raised bed into squares each 12in x 12in and sow the seeds of a single crop in each square closely together. Make sure if you are planting tall foods, sow these seeds at the back of your raised bed.

If space is an issue, research which vegetables can be growing companions. For instance, climbing french beans and runner beans are more than happy to grown up sweetcorn stems, whilst pumpkins will comfortably make a mound at the base.

Fast growing lettuces can fill space in between slow growing cabbages.

Although a small raised bed will not completely eradicate trips to the supermarket for your fruit and veg it will produce some delicious fresh produce which will be plentiful at different times of the year depending on what you choose to grow.

To read more essential gardening ideas visit my blog now.

Good luck growers :)

Gardener Jack

About The Author

Jack Gardener has been gardening all his life, and is passionate about passing on his experience to the next generation of gardeners.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

meg October 3, 2009 at 4:32 pm

We had an unusable area in our garden behind our garage. The ground was very stony and would have been extremely difficult to bring into cultivation which was annoying as it was about the most sheltered area. So we made some raised beds and now have a very productive veg garden. The beds are surrounded by gravel paths and although we have a rabbit problem in the rest of the garden (I always say it's designed by rabbits!) we have so far had no trouble from them with the vegetables. Just one thing – if you are considering raised beds because you have a bad back, don't make them too wide. Ours are around 4ft and although we can reach to the middle, when weeding you have to maintain quite uncomfortable positions. I think 3ft would be easier from that point of view. Apart from that they are excellent.

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