How To Create Functional Raised Garden Beds
Raised garden beds provide a fantastic area to cultivate the perfect vegetable garden in your home. It’s important to ensure that when building your raised garden bed, to allow for adequate drainage. Drainage is necessary where vegetables are being grown in heavy soil to promote optimum growth.
Raised garden beds (15-20cm) above a pathway are easily constructed, and if you are creating a purpose built pathway surrounding the raised bed – use the soil removed from the path for the bed itself! To construct my raised garden beds I use railway sleepers or treated posts, and create a wall 2-sleepers in height. I have found this to be an ample height, and provides adequate depth of soil and suitable drainage.
For my own garden, I have created a 9ft x 3ft raised garden bed, and divided it into four equal sections. This particular garden bed is only used for growing vegetables througout the summer months, and for the rest of the year the garden bed remains dormant. Each year in September, the soil is dug to the depth of a spade and the weeds are removed. The soil is then treated with Blood & Bone, and thoroughly dug in. The garden bed is then left until November before planting vegetables commences. This year I have decided on growing tomatoes, zuccinis, onions, and gerkhins, and the results have been fantastic.
Of course, it was not always this simple! The raised garden bed as you see it today started out with a matic, shovel and plenty of elbow grease! The idea was to use the matic to break up the soil (which in our case is clay-based), and the shovel was used to crumble the broken soil. Once this was achieved, dead lawn clippings and blood and bone were added and dug in. The garden bed was constructed in April to allow the winter rains to soften the soil, and provide a basis for planting.
After winter (around September) the soil is dug once again, any weeds are removed, and further blood and bone is added. The raised garden bed is then left until November at which point the soil is ready for planting. The raised garden bed you see was created ten years ago, and through careful care and planning, has provided ample vegetables for the family year on year. Take a look through the rest of Gardening Australia Guide for more help hints and how-to advice.