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Raised beds

New to gardening, last year I put up 5 raised beds with mixed success, onions/shallots were small, runner/broad beans much better but not great. In the Autumn I dug the beds and found them full of roots from my nearby Sycamore tree. I have now raised the beds using pallets and covering the bases with compost bags pearced for drainage, I know I have made containers! I would like advise on soil, compost etc as I want to avoid compaction. Sand, soil, grit, compost?


  • BLTBLT Posts: 525

    I'm kind of new to raised beds too, but there is another thread and it tells you various posters experiences with types of top soil n' compost, manure mixes etc. So I have two, one with, one without. to grow carrots and brassicas..  Good luck..

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 83,922

    Hello and welcome Duncan image

    I use a mix of good topsoil and well-rotted farmyard manure for my raised beds which works well.

    You might find this thread helpful

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • I moved house last year and built some new raised beds.  I used a mix of top soil, well rotted farmyard manure and garden compost.  The best way to avoid compaction is to avoid treading on the soil - you should ideally be able to reach the middle of the bed from each side.  If you can't, use a board.

  • Our raised bed is ornamental, not for growing vegetables, but we used top soil, multipurpose compost, John Innes and farmyard manure.  We didn't use any particular ratio, we just went by what it looked and felt like.  The bed is 18 inches deep and runs the whole length of our patio - it took a lot of filling, and we did it gradually over the course of the summer, ready to plant dwarf shrubs in early autumn.  It's been going for three years now and is doing really well.  I can just about reach the middle from either side, so I never need to stand on it.  One thing we did do, was add a bag of horticultural grit for every four bags of growing medium, also a few bags of sharp sand.  I also added quite a few earthworms, collected from the border - essential as far as I'm concerned for healthy soil. Ours was built straight on to the earth, and we put quite a lot of rubble in the bottom to ensure good drainage.  You do seem to have a problem with tree roots, and I can't see what you could have done, other than what you have, but it's a shame you can't have it directly on the earth.  Hope you have some success with whatever you decide to use.  

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