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Raised bed design

Newbie question.........
I have a narrow plot up against a fence. It tapers in width. It is 9m long, 2.5m at widest and 1m at narrowest and I would like to build a raised bed for veggies.  As it is up against a fence, I need paths to allow me to access the beds without stepping on them. 

I can see two options  (a)paths about 0.9/1m apart, between timbers, running across the plot ie from the path to the fence  or (b) a long central path along the centre of the plot, parallel to the path. 

(b) obviously uses less timber and maximises growing area. I would run it 1m from the path so I have a long rectangular bed and a triangular plot. 

Perhaps I have answered my own question - but if anyone sees a problem I woudl welcome views.  Any advantage in breaking up the 9 x 1m bed to form smaller boxes? I think not - wastes growing space. 


  • PS The sub soil is poor - sandy because that is the natural local soil, and sandy as previously the plot had concrete on it for sheds etc.  Concrete is removed and plot will be dug over but the poor quality soil dictates raised beds and new topsoil/compost mix. I dont plan to use a liner at all.
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 19,511
    Build one big box with access from all sides - saves on timber and effort and lets the soil hold moisture and heat more easily.  The usual width is 1m20 so you can reach the middle form both sides to sow, plant, weed, harvest without putting your weight on it.  1m wide would be good too.  You can use you eye or stones or a bit f fencing timber to divide it up into sections if you like but keep the soil/compost as one big unit.

    If the beds are to be deep, say 30cms or more then consider lining the insides of the timber with black plastic as this will protect the wood from moisture and make them last longer.

    If the bed is not in full sun, this will affect what you can grow but there are herbs and veggies that will grow in partial shade.  After that it will all depend on teh quality of the soil and how often you renew its fertility with mulches of compost and pelleted fertiliser.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Thank you -great thoughts.  I can't get access from the far side as it is next doors fence, and balancing on the width of scaffoldboard is beyond my balancing skills. hence I need the central path.  

    great point about partial shade - it is north -south along side of house so limited direct sun. I will plan planting on that basis. 
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 19,511
    If it isn't yet built, bring it in from the fence leaving about 18" for you to get round all sides or else make it narrower and longer.  Much more effective than two long thin beds.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Womble54Womble54 WimbledonPosts: 283
    Nothing wrong with a long thin raised bed. I’ve got a raised bed along one fence of the garden, 8m x 75cm. The rest of the garden is lawn for the kids & dog to play.

    My garden runs east/west and the bed is along the south facing fence, so it gets plenty of sun.

    I’ve broken it up into 3 sections, for crop rotation and to limit pests/disease spreading through all the beds.

    I try to grow vertically as much as possible to make best use of the space and use the fence and bamboo canes to support some of the climbing plants.

    Good luck with your new garden.
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