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Organic Gardening With Raised Beds

* Reclaim problem areas, hard surfaces & small spaces,
* Make your garden more accessible,
* Produce bigger crops from your plot.

Raised beds came to prominence when community gardens were created to improve access for disabled people. These were commonly constructed from railway sleeper timbers.

However gardeners recognised the potential of deep beds for growing more crops in a small area and the concept of Square Foot Gardening and the No-Dig approach was developed.

And now for convenience gardening, simple light kits are available in polymer or traditional timber for you to construct or extend raised beds at your home garden on any hard surface or over difficult ground.

Advantages Of Gardening With Raised Grow Beds

  • Add height and depth with attractive tiered designs,
  • a grandstand for your smaller flowers,
  • a 3 dimensional landscape around lawns and water,
  • Grow within arms reach,
  • less bending when sowing, planting, weeding or harvesting,
  • no digging when you build up a layer of mulch,
  • Take control of difficult soils and green up hard landscape,
  • grow on stiff clays and poorly drained or shallow soils,
  • reclaim hard surfaces,
  • manage sloping ground by terracing,
  • Grow more from a small area using the Square Foot Gardening methods - see below.

You can build raised beds in many shapes and depths, from simple to construct wood or polymer kits available on this link, and
good earth for grow beds is available here.
Note: the polymer kits are now well-used at flower shows as they are so simple to set up.

This link has information on situating grow beds.

Is Raised Bed Gardening Suitable For You?

If none of the above advantages apply to your organic garden then, like me, traditional organic methods may be your best approach.

Grow beds are fashionable but a somewhat intensive gardening method. For example they are unlikely to make sufficient garden compost to recycle and you may use adjacent areas to supplement this.

But remember that over small areas grow beds add soil volume in depth. So you can grow your plants closer together so you end up with a more productive area. They are especially useful when your existing ground is too shallow.

Where I do have these beds, the sides are made from natural logs or log roll. They slope south east to warm up early and provide good rooting depth. Later I will green up my concrete yard with diverse mixed plantings in a multi-tiered raised bed kit.

While polymer kits are light and versatile, low cost FSC approved traditional timber is down-to-earth looking and readily available in raised bed kits.

Plan For Managing Organic Raised Beds

  • Get direct all-over access to your beds from one side or another by restricting the width,
  • Use a no-walk-over, no-dig approach and build up surface layers with organic mulch, such as chopped weed tops,
  • Save lawn trimmings for mulch. You may also find a rough patch to cut down for mulch,
  • Supplement with sheet mulch where necessary e.g. growing potatoes,
  • Check out Square Foot Gardening methods to get the maximum yeild,
  • Always fill beds with a moisture retentive organic earth,
  • A Seep Hose laid near the bottom of the bed will conserve water usage and reduce leaching,
  • When constructing beds over poorly drained land, lay a 3" base layer of gravel to ensure free drainage,
  • Don't put down a non-permeable base layer (or any base layer - weedy ground excepted) unless you are building over hard landscape,
  • When constructing on hard landscape gravel, paving or concrete, do use a base layer available here to reduce leaching and protect your hard surface,
  • You can terrace slopes by drawing soil down or link bed construction to pond excavation,
  • You may need to lay weed barriers down around the outside of your raised bed,
  • When situating within lawns consider how you will mow and edge around the bed.

Raised Grow Beds Are Easily Made.

Raised Bed Kits For Growing Potatoes Are Here For You.
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More On How To Use Raised Grow Beds

Typical grow bed kits available to home gardeners may come with 10" or (in the U.K.) lower 6"/15cm high boards. They occupy 1 square yard (1 sq Metre) and are expandable and stackable with link on pieces. Note that joins for the boards may add a small additional size.

For root crops such as potatoes, carrots, parsnips... you would want them to be at least 30 to 45cm high when over hard surfaces. Well prepared beds will enjoy fewer problems, and a good crop that's easy to maintain and harvest will be your reward.
Use a moisture retentive soil mix. Before filling the bed you could lay down seep hose - but that won't make up for a dry soil mix.

Soil Mix For Raised Bed Potatoes

To fill an area of 1 square metre 2 units deep (about 30cm) you will need 300 Litres of soil mix.
To fill an area of 1 square yard 2 units deep (20 inches) you will need about 460 dry Quarts of soil mix.

You can use good earth from your own garden or buy in good sterilized top soil, or use a moisture retentive rich organic compost. The last two options are good because they start clean - after that you only need to top up.

Soil and Compost For Growing Raised Potatoes Is Here For You.
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Don't forget that you can dilute compost with your own soil if necessary.


the-organic-gardener.com has lot's more information...
you'll find out about Potato Grow Beds here.

Garden Gate

  • The main plot for information on growing organic potatoes is on this link including:- potato growing methods to suite your garden needs, chitting potatoes, planting potatoes, hilling or earthing up, no-dig potatoes, certified seed potatoes, potato varieties, the potato season, potato blight and how the potato plant grows, harvesting and storing potatoes. ... ... ...

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