One Rai$ed bed — 2
The bed: 3m long x 1m wide x 0.4m high.
The sides of the bed will be made of planks of 200x50mm H4 treated pine which I got from my local Mitre 10. Be sure to mention this blog to your local hardware provider and they will cut it to measure for you for free!!!
As the planks are thick and strong I’ll just screw them together and no extra bracing or posts will be required. I got some perfect 100mm galvanised screws from these guys down south.
The bed will be filled according to a slightly modified hugelkultur style system. The long and short of this is that instead of just filling the raised bed with soil/compost you fill the bottom half with tree trunks, limbs (also from trees) and sticks. Then on top of this wood (untreated) you put the soil/compost into which you plant your seeds etc. The modification I will make is having a flat top to my bed rather than a hill (hugel).
The benefits of the hugelkultur system over a regular soil only bed is: a) you can use up old branches etc you have laying around b) you don’t have to buy as much compost or “find” as much soil to fill the bed. c) as the wood breaks down it releases nutrients to the plants growing above d) the decomposing wood becomes spongy and holds onto moisture which reduces the need for watering.
If I didn’t have this untreated wood available I might just make a more shallow raised bed in order to save money on compost etc required to fill it.
Before putting in the wood I threw some cardboard down to act as a bit of a barrier in order to prevent any weeds from making their way up. The depth of the bed itself would probably prevent this from happening anyway but there is nothing wrong with being cautious.
On top of the wood I also put down some mulch as I didn’t have many sticks/twigs that would usually go on top of the logs. The mulch should be an ideal stick replacement at it would break down quickly and do a better job of filling all the gaps.
I know the picture above looks like a raised bed filled with soul but its actually just the mulch on top of the logs.
For the growing medium I planned to use some compost I made over the winter but when push came to shove I decided that 1) it was not ready to be planted into and 2) I have about 1/10th of the volume I would need. So instead I get a nice big trailer load of ‘garden mix’ from my local landscape supplies. I was told it was a mixture of topsoil, compost and pumice sand but I get the feeling a majority was compost. It looked dark and rich and smelled a little like the dump. I am yet to learn if this is good or bad.
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