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Raised bed advice

(12 Posts)
Coconutfeet Sat 06-Jul-13 20:53:48

We've inherited a garden that is very plain lawn with a crazy paving path along the outer edge. We were thinking about making a raised bed where the path is by laying sleepers. Dp thinks (hopes) we can do it without taking up the path below. I would have thought we need to remove the path to get a decent depth of planting, better drainage etc.

I'm envisaging the the bed will be a couple of sleepers high, so not really deep. If we do lift the paving, what is the best way to prepare the ground?

WestieMamma Sat 06-Jul-13 23:33:45

We have raised beds which my husband built for growing veg in. The only ground preparation needed was breaking up the turf as otherwise it would die and form an inpenetrable layer. If there's no turf, which there won't be if you take up the path, all you need to do if fill the beds.

funnyperson Sun 07-Jul-13 03:20:18

You could also make the raised beds inside the path, I'm thinking, which would make it easier to garden the beds from both sides

Coconutfeet Sun 07-Jul-13 09:32:10

Thanks Funnyperson and westimamma. I woll break the news to dp! good that we don't need to do much else though. I think we may need to lose a tiny bit of lawn as well or the beds will look a bit narrow and mea so will make sure the turf is removed properly. The paths run alongside the fence so we would only be able to access from one side unfortunately.

I'm very excited about doing some proper planting (and learning from mistakes I made in my old garden), as everything is currently in pots and needs constant watering.

WestieMamma Sun 07-Jul-13 09:46:32

You don't need to remove the turf completely.

wonkylegs Sun 07-Jul-13 09:56:57

We built raised beds on our concrete back yard about 5yrs ago. They are still going strong. We built them straight onto the concrete and filled them with a shallow layer of pebbles/stones, topped with a mix of compost & topsoil.
We successfully grow potatoes & salad, mint, various flowers from bulbs & seed, various clematis/Jasmine & a mixture shrubs. They all drain well.
There was no question of digging up the concrete as it would have been a huge job. Ours beds vary between 40-75cm high.

purplewithred Sun 07-Jul-13 10:07:02

If the path is against the fence will the back of the raised beds be against the fence? If so in time it will rot - you will need to put something up to protect the fence. No need to remove the turf - I made fab veg beds by laying newspaper over turf (not nice turf but rough field), then topsoil on top of that just the depth of an old scaffolding plank. Planted into the new topsoil and by the end of the year the whole lot had rotted through as if there had never been any turf.

Coconutfeet Sun 07-Jul-13 19:31:56

No, not against the fence purple. We were planning on sleepers all the way round.

That's interesting wonkylegs. You don't have snt drainage issues? Also do you top-dress the soil to enrich it more than usual?

lostinindia Sun 07-Jul-13 19:42:39

Remember to line the beds so the tar from the sleepers doesn't contaminate soil.

Coconutfeet Sun 07-Jul-13 21:52:24

Ah yes, good point. Thanks lostinindia. I failed to do that in our old garden as I hadn't realised I needed to.

wonkylegs Sun 07-Jul-13 22:55:37

I've never had drainage issues with them and we've had quite a few wet years. Last year when most of the NE was sodden I had my best potato crop yet.
In spring I work in some new compost and some plants I actively feed in spring/summer (clematis) but I've generally been a low effort gardener.

Coconutfeet Mon 08-Jul-13 08:04:29

I'm all for low effort too! This is all really good to know, thanks. In fact dp knocked up a raised bed out of pallet wood for the (completely paved) front garden this weekend. Good to know I can just stick it out there and hopefully it'll do for a couple of years until we can afford to sort it properly.

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