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Making a Raised Garden Bed

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It’s easy to make a raised garden bed and if you have room it’s a good option.

Ideas to use for your bed edging:

  • you can buy raised garden bed kits made from wood and corrugated iron
  • straw bales
  • bricks like besser blocks or old bricks that you have left over from something else
  • pieces of wood you may have at home already
  • build a more permanent edging from untreated wood

One thing to remember is not to use treated wood as chemicals from these can leach into your soil and the food you grow. Some sleepers are also treated chemically so only use them if you are sure they are untreated.

Put your garden edging in the shape and place that you want it. Now you create layers of different organic materials to fill your bed up. Wet each layer down as you go.

  • Sprinkle the ground with some blood and bone or manure. Cover this with layers of old newspaper (it needs to be layered quite thickly and overlapped, you can use whole newspapers) or cardboard. Don’t use glossy coloured cardboard boxes or glossy brochures, use newsprint and plain corrugated cardboard as some of the inks on the coloured glossies may contain nasty chemicals. Wet this down really well as you go, it will also help keep it in place. This stops the grass and weeds coming through.
  • layer any old fruit and vegies from the fridge or on its way to the compost bin –but not meat, onions or citrus. This is like making a compost bin in the bottom of your garden and will help attact lots of worms who will start breaking everything down.
  • layer leaf litter and small twigs
  • old manure. it needs to be old or partly composted is because if it’s too fresh it can burn the roots on your plants
  • straw
  • compost (you can use your own that you have made, mushroom or you can buy organic composts as well) and
  • good quality topsoil – you can order this in bulk from a garden shop, which is cheaper than buying in bags

The reason we use all these different layers is they break down and act like a big compost bin, providing lots of goodness for your plants. If you can’t get some things like the straw or leaf litter, don’t worry - go ahead with the other ingredients. Just try to add as much organic matter as you can. It all breaks down into your garden bed providing food for your plants, and attracting earth worms who help aerate the bed and leave their worm poo or ‘castings’ behind which are also wonderful goodies for your plants.

After making your garden bed you need to leave it to settle for a week or two, so make sure you have your seedlings ready to go. If you are in a hurry you can plant your seedlings but make sure they are going straight into topsoil or compost (you can create little pockets of it) and not manure as it may be too strong for them.

Use your grow guide from your patch kit to help you decide what vegies, herbs or flowers to start growing!