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Help with raised beds for fruit and veg

I hope this is the right section to post in, apologies if not. I'd like some advice on rescuing half finished raised beds. 

We live with my Father in Law and between us try to grow a bit of fruit and veg each year, in a half arsed manner.  A couple of months ago my Father in Law declared that he wanted to install some raised beds, which was great news.  Unfortunately it couldn't have come at a worse time for me as I was finishing an MA and didn't have a spare moment to look at the garden.

Never the less he went ahead and had his builder build two 4'x8' beds out of 6"x8" timber. They were plonked on top of the unprepared vegetable patch. They weigh about half a ton each so aren't going anywhere.

Since then the weeds have taken over and we have two beds full of nettles, forget-me-nots and bind weed.

What is the best way to rescue the beds?  What should I be filling them with?  We have a couple of reasonably well rotted compost heaps, but they aren't going to go that far. I thought a mixture of garden compost, bought in all purpose compost and topsoil would be a start.  My Father in Law has also said that he doesn't want any manure going in them as he is afraid of tetanus (even though he isn't likely to be doing any digging himself).  

Any advice gratefully received.


  • Ladybird4Ladybird4 Posts: 35,800

    Hi simon. I think you have actually solved that query yourself. Everything you mentioned will work. I just filled mine with topsoil but it gets mulched every year with garden compost. Stay on top of the weeding and you're good to go.

    Cacoethes: An irresistible urge to do something inadvisable
  • tigerburnietigerburnie Posts: 75

    I too used railway sleeper sized timber to build my new raised beds, but I stood mine on weed control membrane to deter perennial roots coming up. You will still get un wanted stuff coming in with the wind and your compost(including slugs), so you still need to do some maintenance. It may seem like a pain now, but I would lift them and place in a membrane(mines double thickness) as it will pay dividends in the future.

    I went to our local council refuse site where they had the soil improver made from our recycled garden waste, this was free and I added about 50% of this in to my beds. I haven't filled them to the top as each year I will add compost/manure and spent grow bags on top along with slow release fertilizer(when I can get it). I would post a picture if I knew how to

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