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Thread: Preparing the soil of raised beds...

  1. #9
    greenfingers2014 is offline Germinator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigmallly View Post
    Rightly or wrongly, 1st, I would do away with the polythene as this will affect drainage. Instead, I would line the bottom of the bed with cardboard then add layers of material.........straw at the bottom to bulk up the level followed by any home made compost (composted down or not) & finally the top layer would be topsoil mixed with well rotted manure............this obviously is not the way everyone would do it, just giving my personal input.
    Thank you, I will think about the layering that you have suggested. The reason i am lining with polythene is due to the material used for the structure of the raised beds. As they are old railway sleepers i am not sure what chemicals they may contain. I decided not to risk any chemicals leaking into the soil. Would pelleted chicken manure be any good in the top layer you described?

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    greenfingers2014 is offline Germinator
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    Quote Originally Posted by rary View Post
    if you a re just making up your raised beds try and get as much compostable material into the lower levels of your beds as you can if it`s still to decompose get it down about. 30cm.(1ft. I had to find a tape measure to see what 65cm was) if its good compost mix it in with the top 30cm. remember if it has still to rot the soil level will drop as it decomposes which is not a problem, if you are short of soil purchase some concrete sand from a builders merchant (remember one big bag may be a lot cheaper than several small bags ) and mix it in with the soil
    have a look at this site. organicgrowersfairlie.co.uk
    The beds are already filled with soil, but I can empty them again if it helps, and it sounds as though the lower layers need some work. I will have a look at the site too, thanks for the advice!

  3. #11
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    I've used old railway sleepers too and put weedproof membrane between the sleepers and the soil. Is this what you intend or do you intend to line the base of the bed too - as this would, as BM says, affect the drainage.
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    greenfingers2014 is offline Germinator
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    Quote Originally Posted by veggiechicken View Post
    I've used old railway sleepers too and put weedproof membrane between the sleepers and the soil. Is this what you intend or do you intend to line the base of the bed too - as this would, as BM says, affect the drainage.
    Well i am currently half way through the task so i could do either. I read mixed reviews on the net, some people said to line the sides only, some said to line it all. I was worried that any toxins may leak into the bottom of the soil and some how spread to the soil in my bed...is this crazy?! Or....could i punch holes in the bottom of the polythene?

  5. #13
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    It may be a bit late in the day if you have already put the sleepers in place but I would have been tempted to cut polythene pieces 80cm x bed width, lay the polythene from the edge of the bed into the middle, put your sleepers in position on top of the polythene then folding the remainder up the inside wall & fastening it to the top...........either way, you have to deal with the drainage as a prolonged downpour will turn your bed into a swamp.
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    greenfingers2014 is offline Germinator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigmallly View Post
    It may be a bit late in the day if you have already put the sleepers in place but I would have been tempted to cut polythene pieces 80cm x bed width, lay the polythene from the edge of the bed into the middle, put your sleepers in position on top of the polythene then folding the remainder up the inside wall & fastening it to the top...........either way, you have to deal with the drainage as a prolonged downpour will turn your bed into a swamp.
    That would have been the best thing to do...unfortunately they are now in situ and too heavy to move (one sleeper alone took three of us to move safely!). Can I cut drainage holes in the polythene? Weighing it up it sounds like drainage issues are a definite, yet the issue of toxins is unknown...

    There's so much to learn!!!!

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    Ok, option 2..............dig a 1/4" wide channel (the width of your spade) 9" deep all round the inside of the bed and push the polythene into the channel and up the inside walls............we'll get there............
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  8. #16
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    Just found this which may be of help.........they line the inside walls but don't bury the polythene, I would play safe though & bury the polythene a few inches..

    http://www.carryongardening.org.uk/f...inal_Nov08.pdf
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