From lawn to raised veg plot

I need tips and advise on moving my whole veg and fruit patch out from the shade of  trees, grown too huge to let enough light through. The lawn is the only likely spot for a new plot, but it is rather water logged, so I'm thinking I may need to use raised beds.

Any advice would be very much appreciated, as would be stories of similar projects., successful or unsuccessful.

Many thanks in advance of your valued thoughts.


  • Raised beds are reasonably simple to make - there are various packs available using wood or plastic or you could make your own from various types of timber ( pressure treated is a good start ).
    If your lawn is seriously waterlogged, you could either look at a drainage system ( may be better in the long term ) or you could simply construct your raised beds slightly off the lawn.  If you choose the latter option, you would also need to construct a base and ensure you allow for drainage.  If it is not too bad, then a couple of layers of a weed membrane to stop the grass growing through may suffice.
    Lining the sides with impermeable material will help you to conserve water in the planter.
    Depending on the timber you use and your aesthetics, you can either leave the outer wood to weather or you can stain it.
    Depending what veg you want to grow, layers of compost, top soil, green waste, etc. will give you a good start for this coming year. 
  • Is the lawn waterlogged most of the year?  If you go with no dig raised beds you will never regret it.  I use pallet collars for convenience.

    Please don’t use weed membrane, if you want to grow carrots you will need very deep beds if you use membrane.  Cover the area with cardboard (2 or 3 layers will do), then layer up with used coffee grounds, manure, topsoil and MPC ( no manure if you want carrots in the first year ).  Top the beds up each year with the same mix.

    The worms will help improve the soil under the beds and aid the drainage.
  • Smudgerii said:

    Please don’t use weed membrane, if you want to grow carrots you will need very deep beds if you use membrane. 

    The worms will help improve the soil under the beds and aid the drainage.
    You've certainly been very busy - your area looks good.

    Your beds are very shallow compared to mine.  

    The OP didn't mention what depth he/she had in mind nor what type of plant ( other than fruit and veg ) was intended to be grown.

    The weed membrane will not impede growth of root veg provided the depth of the planter is sufficient.  Without knowing the intended layout and space, it can be difficult to be too categoric :)  
  • About 180mm in height, but can be stacked to add depth.  I put the cardboard down over a couple of months to kill of any weeds before setting up the beds ( perennial weeds need digging out first, or chemical attack ).

    Overtime the cardboard gets integrated in to the soil and the roots do the rest of the work.

    Grew great carrots last year in the same set up on a sieved 50/50 mix of MPC and used coffee grounds.
  • DinahDinah Posts: 278
    Thank you both for the great advice, I hadn't even thought of. planing ahead what I was actually going to grow, as I've always just put in seeds that "should be OK" growing in what ever I've got already. It's very exciting to think of and plan for new options! I have scaffold boards left over from other projects, so I could use those. I am slightly worried about how I can raise them above the ground level enough for the wet not to rot them maybe I could use some old concreat lintels I have at the base? The cardboard for suppressing weeds sounds a very good plan I can get plenty of that from the municipal dump.
    The wood chips on the walkway look very good too.
    I have got some good advice now, and practical issues raised to think about,
    Many thanks to both of you - I'm much enthused, :)
  • Damp proof membrane is perfect for scaffolding boards, comes in 50m rolls.  Use roofing nails to attach it, make sure to leave enough to tuck under and around the bottom inch of the outside.
  • DinahDinah Posts: 278
    :) I will do that Smudgerii, much appreciated advice.
  • Happy growing @Dinah - hope you have a good season :)
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