Making our new raised beds

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Last year I planted potatoes straight into the ground, not a problem initially, but it became a real nightmare of a task to maintain as the grass form the field beside the plot encroached upon the bed The solution, this year I am building a raised bed around the potato patch to help control the weeds. Similarly the bed that housed our onions last year had a real problem with weeds, this was more to do with the lack of preparation I put into the soil.

I have been looking online at various constructions of raised beds from scrap timber so over the last two weekends I set about building the first of my new raised beds. I had some scrap timber at home and bought the rest from DPL in Dundalk. I started with the old onion bed as it was the easier job of the two and also as I needed to have it in operation sooner that the old spud bed.

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I measured out the bed and built the surround first then I laid the bottom of the bed with compost and cardboard to act as a mulch and prevent the weeds growing up through the bed. I then has to fill the bed with top soil which I was able to source locally. I got one tonne which I though was more than enough but I now know I will probably need another 2 tonne to complete the job on both of the new beds.

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When the top soil was placed in the bed I then spilt the bed into two as it was very large. This will give me give me a good deal more capacity to produce veg than last year. Once that was complete I got straight to work sowing some seeds, radish, cut-and-come-again lettuces and spring onions then they were all watered and covered with a little plastic tunnel I had made from old wire coat hangers and plastic sheeting.

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It was a tough weekends’ work. I gave myself far too much labour having to shovel all the soil from my trailer into the veg patch. Added to that I also have a large amount of logs from a tree that was cut down. These all have to first be cut to size and then chopped in half so for the past few weekends I have been working away at these and there is still a lot more to do.

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Had I been more prepared I could have got the soil last Autumn and cut the tree down earlier and then chip-away at the work bit by bit over the Winter, but we live and learn, hopefully as we go on we will get into a routine and the work will be more manageable.

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On the plus side though, the Log House is beginning to fill up after being plundered over the winter. Hopefully I will have a good enough stock of logs this year that I will not need to purchase any…..well that’s the plan.

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7 thoughts on “Making our new raised beds

  1. Great post , going to read it again and see what I can learn , your raised beds look great and this is so what I want to see in my garden , I must get another bale of straw to put down between my no dig beds as this seems to create some semblance of order , any tips you have will be greatly appreciated , the no dig beds I am making are not so deep after the cardboard some compost what amount of compost like how deep would I need them in order to grow some salad etc and could you recommend some things that don’t need the compost to be too deep , just would love to see something growing soon. Kathy.

    • Hey Kathy, sorry for taking so long to reply. It sounds like you have some pretty good beds to begin with. A few inches of soil/compost will be sufficient to grow any of the lettuce varieties, my favorite are the cut and come lettuces as they are ready for use sooner and can give you a regular supply of salad leaves over a number of months.
      If you soil is 4 to 6 inches deep it will be more than enough to support courgettes, spring onions, onions, beetroots, radishes, peas. beans pretty much anything other than deeper rooting vegetables like potatoes, carrots, corn and some of the brassicas, like turnips. Other brassicas like cabbages and broccoli should do well enough in 6 inch soil. The most important thing with soil that is not very deep is to keep it well watered as it can tend to dry out very quickly. The fact you have placed cardboard and some compost on the bottom will greatly aid you in keeping the veg beds most.
      I hope this is of some help 🙂

      • Thank you for this info had a great day today many beds now done with straw instead of cardboard and then soil on top just a short ? how deep for root veg, like turnips , carrots and spuds, really need to get these in as they are bought regularly and cannot wait to have our own, Hope you all had a lovely day today, Really appreciate the reply happy days, Kathy.

  2. Well documented blog,great to share and see your progress. Thankyou. We decided on raised beds this year too, hard work. Hopefully it will pay off, like you we had problems with encroaching weeds and so many slugs last year due to the wet soil. All the best , 💚💛💜👒💙❤️🌻

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