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  1. #1
    Protea's Avatar
    Protea is offline Tuber
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    Mar 2006

    Default Raised beds on allotment - help??

    Hi, just taken on a fresh allotment (moved house), weeds were cleared in Autum and a full rotovation is planned this weekend. I've been thinking about raised beds or just beds in general with pathways in between to make it easier. I've got some carpet to use as pathways but not nearly enough.

    Is it worth making beds out of planks of wood or just marking them out with pathways - we don't want to spend a fortune (plastic link-a-boards are waaaaay to expensive).

    Any ideas???

  2. #2
    sewer rat's Avatar
    sewer rat is offline Early Fruiter
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    Oct 2005
    Tain, Easter Ross
    Blog Entries

    Default To Raise or not to raise.........

    Hi Protea
    The subject of raised beds is one which has seen a lot of debate on the 'Vine already - some of us in favour, others preferring more traditional approaches, whilst others have raised beds for particular crops. It is all a matter of personal preference.
    If you type "raised beds" into the search tool, you'll be able to view all the threads on the subject.
    I agree that Link-a-bord would be too expensive for an allotment but probably fine for a garden. Scaffolding planks (used) are popular but any timber that is suitable size wise is fine. I made my beds from used roofing joists that were being chucked following a loft conversion - it pays to keep your eyes open on your travels. If you opt for wooden raised beds, make sure that you use screws to hold them together, and to hold the posts in place - timbers may pull apart if only nails are used, after you have filled them with soil.
    Anyway, have a read of the other threads - no doubt others will reply to this thread too - I'm only first 'cause we were sent home from work today - hard to work outside when blizzards sting your eyes and you can't see more than thirty yards in a field

  3. #3
    Protea's Avatar
    Protea is offline Tuber
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    Mar 2006


    Thanks Rat,

    i've had a browse through a few 'raised bed' threads - not sure why i didn't see them before - i did look for some honest!!

    Still undecided, i want to grow quite a lot of brassicas and i know they need space. Would marking the beds out at ground level with carpet be better? (or weed suppressant fabric/black plastic?) The last plot we had ended up with huge weeds in the pathways as we were too busy dealing with the weeds in amongst the crops to worry with the pathways (until they were about to seed then we yanked them up!). we ended up with one big plot with no pathways which meant we were comapcting the soil as we walked which is something i want to avoid.


  4. #4
    Lesley Jay is offline Early Fruiter
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    Sep 2005


    Hi Protea welcome to the forum. I wouldn't use carpets on your allotment as they can contain chemicals that can be washed into the ground with the rain. Weed supressing membrane would be best but it can be pricey.

  5. #5
    andrewo's Avatar
    andrewo is offline Cropper
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    Nov 2005


    The best way to do it, if you are not going for raised beds with boards but are actually going for a no dig bed e.g. humped soil. Mark out your paths, dig down and use the soil to raise the beds. I would then either seed the paths with grass seed to make cheap paths or just leave them and rake them over now again to get rid of weeds. You can mark the beds with corner posts, this helps when using a hose, stops you dragging it across your crops.
    Best wishes
    Harbinger of Rhubarb tales

  6. #6
    nick the grief's Avatar
    nick the grief is offline Gardening Guru
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    Jan 2006
    Sunny Nunny, Warwickshire


    Hi Protea,
    get hold of a copy of growing on a bed system by pauline pears. It will tell you in there the spacings for palnting on a bed. You don't need to have retaining boards, it just looks nicer.

    As too paths, once you've marked out yout beds have a look in your local paper and there are usually loads of adverts for slabs free to collect. If you have 12" wide paths you can hire an angle grinder & cut them in half and they'll go twice as far. Don't make your beds much wider than 4' though as you'll not be able to reach the middle.
    Last edited by nick the grief; 01-03-2006 at 06:48 PM.
    Never be afraid to try something new.
    Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark.
    A large group of professionals built the Titanic


  7. #7
    noshed is offline Seedling
    Join Date
    Feb 2006

    Default raised beds

    I agree with Andrewo but I think it would depend a bit on the soil. Mine seems to be working OK but lighter soil might need planks to keep it all together. The key thing is not walking on the beds.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2006


    Hi Protea, I should have a look at my website and another good one to look at for advice is
    these may give you some more ideas about whether to go for rasised beds or not, hope they help Steve.

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