Raised beds, i.e., those placed above the existing terrain, have experienced an unusual boom in recent years. And it’s no wonder – they represent a great way to grow plants more conveniently and allow you to grow fruit and vegetables in places where it would otherwise be impossible, for example, due to poor-quality soil. However, it must be established appropriately for the raised bed to fulfil its function. Let’s see how to do it together.
You can place the raised bed anywhere and don’t have to kneel to weed. However, these are not the only advantages. Among the most important is the fact that it ensures better microclimatic conditions, supports the growth of plants and, at the same time, makes it difficult for moles and other pests to access. There is no need for frequent watering, and you do not need to fertilise the soil. So if you want organic food, a raised bed should be in your garden.
What tools you will need?
How to make a base for raised bed?
To establish a raised bed, you will need a suitable place in your garden for it and the proper structure. The location of the raised bed is reasonable; place it where you will have good access to it, a good supply of water and where the sun’s rays will fall on it, at least for part of the day. You can buy the structure or make it from planks, old beams, bricks, or willow wicker.
TIP! If you decide to make a raised bed from boards, we recommend choosing a hard wood, such as oak or larch, which has a longer life.
Get the place ready
At the place where the raised bed will be placed, first, dig up the sod and dig it to a depth of one spade.
Pick out large clumps of grass and weeds.
Then level the subsoil so that the bed is placed straight on it. It is ideal for balancing it using a spirit level. If you want to defend the bed against rodent attacks, placing rabbit mesh on the bottom is advisable.
The most extensive and coarsest material is at the bottom of the raised bed, which serves as drainage. Therefore, stack branches or rotting logs in approximately the lower third of the volume – start with the strongest ones and gradually add smaller and weaker ones. Always use only branches from deciduous fruit trees or other non-poisonous trees, except walnut. Please do not put conifers, which are sour, or acacia, which is poisonous. You can then sprinkle this drainage layer with chopped grass or leaves.
This layer is the most important for cultivation. This is the place where the smouldering process takes place. At the same time, watering accumulates here, and plant roots are heated up to eight degrees compared to the outside temperature. This layer includes manure, immature compost or soil that you removed when preparing the place for the raised bed.
This layer is used for planting plants and should be composed of a mixture of the garden substrate with sifted soil from the garden. You can mix sand into heavy soil, and it is also advisable to add charcoal, which will supply minerals, or perlite, which lightens the soil and binds water well.
What to grow in a raised bed?
In the first year, i.e., the year you established the raised bed, growing plants that do not mind a higher nitrogen content is advisable. It is ideal, for example, for tomatoes, peppers, courgettes or pumpkins.
When the bed is mature in the second year, you can start growing root vegetables, cauliflower, broccoli or cabbage. However, raised beds are also suitable for growing strawberries, herbs, or ornamental flowers.