GROWING IN RAISED BEDS

Ten basic how-to-do-it tips, by Tidda Dobbs. Photograph shows raised beds built by Rosie Pocock.

Raised beds are more easily controlled than other types; they involve less stooping and straining when you are weeding or harvesting, the drainage can be controlled if you're on heavy or poorly drained land, crops can be grown more intensively as there is space all around to provide light, manure goes where it is needed rather than between the rows.

 

*  Can be made to any height thatís comfortable for you - e.g. to ease backache build up
to waist height.

*  Easy to assemble from water tanks, dustbins, telegraph poles, railway sleepers etc.
(beware of tar oozing out of the last two).  Ensure sufficient holes for drainage where
applicable.

*  To reach across from both sides and for easy weeding and harvesting, build a 3ft to 4ft width.

*  Any material (stones, straw, wood etc.) can build up the level to soil depth and provide added drainage.

*  Excellent use of space as there is no need for gaps between rows for access.

*  You can choose the soil acidity/lime content needed for the crops you want to grow in
that bed.

*  Fantastic for carrots as the height of the bed defeats the carrot fly. Strawberries can hang over the edges and avoid slugs.

*  Soil is easy to handle as there is no compaction from treading on it.

*  Easy to water and conserves water as you only water the plants in the bed, not the
surrounding earth.

*  During the winter the soil sinks, so top up with compost or rotted manure to keep the
bed in good condition.