If your garden soil is poorly-drained, compacted, heavy, or takes a long time to warm up in spring, consider a raised bed - the ideal environment for growing crops.
Buy a kit or make your own. Kits are available from garden centres, via mail-order or from DIY shops in wood, metal or recycled plastic. Typical prices are between £15 - £100 so it is advisable to shop around.
To make your own, choose a size and shape where you can reach all parts without having to step on the soil, then use lengths of tanalised wood from a DIY supplier or sleepers to form the sides.
Alternatively, use pallet extensions filled in with compost and soil as a temporary raised bed.
Finally, plant up and enjoy!
Benefits of raised beds include:
- Basic weed and pest control are easy
- Excess water drains away quickly
- They can be built up with sides as tall or as short as required.
- Frames for covers – polythene, netting, fleece etc – are easy to make and remove
- Soil warms up quickly in spring, allowing planting earlier than usual
- The soil doesn’t compact as easily as in open ground because there is no need to walk on it. Therefore water, air and nutrients are more accessible to plant roots.