Sunday, April 12, 2009

Raised Beds

You might have noticed in the pictures of the mesh, that I use raised beds and I thought some comment on them might be helpful.
Why have raised beds at all?
The main reason is to allow soil structure to develop naturally without being walked upon or dug unnecessarily (naturally some crops, especially potatoes - unless you use a no-dig method - have to be dug up). I find they make it easier to organise the plot and to manage crop rotation. I am using straw on the paths in-between, so I can walk round the beds whatever the weather. That little bit of height makes access a easier and improves drainage, it also makes it easier to apply crop protection - such as fleece or netting.

Edging
I made the beds about 7 years ago using untreated wooden boards from a builders' merchant. They worked well, but by last year were badly rotted. This winter I replaced them with scaffold boards (scaffold companies will supply retired boards - for a charge). These are also untreated - as I don't want preservatives leaching into the soil.

Fixing them together
Last time I hammered in corner posts and nailed the boards to them. The posts were the first thing to rot. This time I have used no posts, but instead joined the boards with metal brackets. I also laid them on damp proof membrane - no idea if that will help slow rotting, I just thought the membrane would reduce the rising damp.


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