Raised bed construction ... materials?

Discussion in 'Designing, building, making and powering your life' started by Diggman, Mar 8, 2014.

  1. Diggman

    Diggman Junior Member

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    Hi there,

    I will be building 2-3 raised beds from timber planks, unfortunately a bunch of scrap wood I was hoping to get is actually going to be re-used so that fell through. I will now have to purchase but the only supplier I found in the UK sells in a collectiin only basis so thats a no go (no car).
    I will.need to buy the materials cheaply from a garden / diy centre and unfortunately it looks like they have no good options for redwood amd cedar, I may just have to go for cheap soft timbers that sell in packs of 5 or 6 planks. They will rot quicker but I move a lot unfortunately so thats not a huge problem.
    I have heard linseed oil is a good healthy treatment for timber that helps prolong the life and prevent rot. Is this true and / or the only option? Im aware of the risks in treating the timber with the wrong chemicals.

    Thanks
     
  2. Rick Larson

    Rick Larson Junior Member

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    Another option is to not use any timber.
     
  3. mouseinthehouse

    mouseinthehouse Junior Member

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    There is all sorts of stuff you can use. Old bath tubs. Old metal rainwater tanks cut into rings. Steel droppers used in paddock fencing and corrugated iron or similar. Old bricks or quarried stone. Logs. Tractor tyres. Have you got any old reclaimation yards/junk yards anywhere nearby? If so go for a walk around and put your imagination to use. Or if you live in proximity to farming areas then look for local property clearance sales/auctions where you could pick up all sorts of stuff cheaply. Without a vehicle though I'm not sure how you would get around to picking up any of this stuff. :(
     
  4. Grasshopper

    Grasshopper Senior Member

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    Shovel edge is always an option
     
  5. ramdai

    ramdai Junior Member

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    I think it was the French intensive method that built up raised beds with no hard sides,, and then used the sides to grow other stuff--misc herbs etc

    many times it's the rustic /imperfect look of improvised materials that can give a garden real character over and above the uniformity of planned regular shapes
     
  6. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    in some of the larger gardens i will use raised beds of dirt without any sides. i tamp the dirt down, plant seeds into the edge and then mulch it lightly and water until things are growing. then i may add more mulch as needed.

    i like having this kind of flexibility that having more hard edged gardens doesn't allow without a lot more work.

    i also plant pathways in these larger spaces so that the entire garden gets used and covered. many fewer weeds and much more production. the rows here or there in the garden are my pathways, or if i step on a plant once in a while, well it's still a lot more production than dedicating a lot of space to wide paths.
     
  7. Terra

    Terra Moderator

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    Why do you need raised beds , waterlogging , rock ??? , how deep do you want to have the soil , if your planning on moving spending money on hard materials is probably not worth it . If your renting you may have to take it away as well .

    Lots of options as above we are going to try this at my sisters .

    A couple of laps of chicken wire to stiffen walls with shade cloth or similar between the layers . Circular beds which will be easy to take down roll up and shift if required .
     
  8. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Strawbales work too. Remove them once a year and you'll find they have largely composted - add this to the garden and put in new bales. Also handy if you are still deciding where gardens should go permanently as they are easy to move later.
     
  9. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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  10. satyrandnymph

    satyrandnymph Junior Member

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    could also try keyhole garden beds made from tamped recycled plastic bottles with a cob/adobe render ? It would incorporate a worm composting area as well as a raised growing space for your veggies/herbs/plants.

    an I dea of what they are but with a little local sourcing you should find suitable materials
     
  11. Diggman

    Diggman Junior Member

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    wow some good responses, thanks everyone!

    1: I have a very small garden, and I'm a renter so I will need to re-turf the used space when I leave (no problem, I used to work in the turf industry),
    2: Unfortunately I'm on a contract where anytime I can get 2 month's notice to pack up without any valid reason (praying it won't be in the beginning or middle of the growing season),
    3: I just want to grow as much as possible so adding two raised beds in the middle of the open space will provide quite a lot of extra grow space for me,
    4: I will really need to have solid sides, a thin brick wall could be an option but I'm not keen on keyhole beds in the garden size I have, other option will be timber ... I like what others said but it's too much for the garden size and my lack of own transport, also since I'm growing straight on top of grass, there is the risk of grass shoots coming through if I just have impacted soil as the edges.
    5: strawbale is definitely not an option, my garden minus current beds on the edges is only 7m long by 5m wide and we still want walkways between the beds and a small chill out spot for BBQ-ing etc. (gotta love the UK :think: )
     
  12. Rick Larson

    Rick Larson Junior Member

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    Lots of ideas on that link!
     
  13. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Diggman, given all that, I would go for containers, as it's easy to take your garden with you. Try a recycle centre for old baths and similar, and then find someone who can help deliver them. The cost of that should be outweighed by the amount of work in setting up other methods.
     
  14. epson

    epson Junior Member

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    I am for the keyhole to.I did my first one with willow branches and I consider it the best raised bed ever seen.A few worms will do a great job,all the job.Even more ,in winter with some poly cover, you can have a nice round cold frame with some heat generated by the compost.
     
  15. KiwiInOz

    KiwiInOz Junior Member

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    This might be an option if you need to up and leave in a short space of time, and be able to take your garden with you:
    Make an entire raised bed garden out of FREE plastic crates
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EeKufjx1GZ8
     
  16. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

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    Cinder blocks make great raised beds, and you can plant in the cinder blocks as well. They last forever, you can add on and change the configuration easily. They make a nice insulated edge when filled with soil. I grow strawberries in cinder blocks and they keep the strawberries off the ground and clean. I have to put small-mesh wire under the blocks to keep the gophers out and snails out. They do need to be close together because snails will love to get on the damp or shaded side of any raised bed materials, so you don't want spaces in between them.
     
  17. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    we have cinder blocks here of various types and they aren't all made the same that is for sure. some will not survive our freeze/thaw cycles if they are filled... there are very few materials that won't break down in time. rocks and cement chunks are somewhat stackable. but in the end, the best and simplest edge for a raised be i've found is to pile up the dirt, tamp down the edges and then mulch it so that rains won't wash it away too soon. makes reshaping or redoing gardens much quicker.
     
  18. chook-in-eire

    chook-in-eire Junior Member

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    This is what I've done this year - expanded metal mesh as siding for round beds, 1.3m in diameter, filled 'lasagna-style' with manure, compost, rushes, tree prunings and so on. It only cost about 7 Euro per bed for the mesh. Each bed has a surface area of 2 square meters and produces oodles of food. This would be very easy to dismantle too. The mesh comes in a roll that you wouldn't need a car to transport. I'm in the West of Ireland, so our climate is not dissimilar.

    View attachment 2672
    June (5 beds)

    View attachment 2671
    July (2 more beds)
     

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  19. bazman

    bazman Junior Member

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  20. gaiatechnician

    gaiatechnician Junior Member

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    I tried 18 inch square paving stones and they work. Stand them up instead of on their bellies! You can go about 6 inches into the ground and have a food high showing. Use a stringline along the top to keep them level. You might have to fart around a tiny bit in 6 months time to rejig them but that will not kill anybody. In theory you could use them to terrace ground too. They also come in 2 ft square sizes and in 16 inch square here in Canada.
     

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