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Raised bed newbie advice


I want to buy some raised beds and I'd like to be able to easily grow any veg in them.

I was thinking four 3ftx4ft raised beds but I'm unsure on how deep they should be?

The ground is turfed. I assume I need to remove the turf underneath?

The ground underneath is rocky.

Are those beds made from decking ok or is using decking a bit of a fad?

How long should a tanalised bed frame last?

Do they need lining?

What type of soil should I fill them with? Should I use different types of soil for different veg?

Any recommended national companies to buy soil from?

Sorry for all the questions :-/


  • Ladybird4Ladybird4 Third rock from the sunPosts: 32,225
    Cacoethes: An irresistible urge to do something inadvisable
  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Scariff, County Clare, IrelandPosts: 6,998

    Louise, my sister moved recently and decided to re-design the veg garden entirely with raised beds.  She chose recycled plastic, on the grounds that it looked good (pretty well identical to wood, in fact) and wouldn't need renewing in her lifetime!  (She's in her 60s.)

    My raised beds are 8" deep tanalised timber, unlined.  They've been in place for 8 years and show no sign of rot yet.  Because I add compost every year, I'm considering putting a second layer of timber on to raise them further and give room for more compost (and make it easier for the old lady to reach the plants image).  When constructing the beds I removed all perennial weeds and thoroughly dug the soil underneath.  If you have rock close to the surface I'd suggest you dig the turf up and replace it upside down - maybe using weed killer on it first.  The turf will rot and provide more organic matter in your beds.

    If you want to grow prizewinning root veg (2-foot parsnips etc), you need more depth in your beds.  If it's just for veg to eat, 8" is plenty deep enough.

    You can buy topsoil from garden centres but buying in bulk is cheaper - however, you have to take pot luck to a certain extent unless you use a reputable supplier.  Sometimes the soil comes complete with perennial weed roots...  If you have a local allotment society they might be able to recommend a good local supplier.  My daughter bought topsoil from Rolawn, sold specifically for growing fruit and veg.  It was expensive but she got excellent results from it, and no nasty weeds.  And whatever soil you get, you can always improve it with manure and home-made compost.  image

    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore
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