Filling raised beds


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This topic contains 19 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Lilyholland 6 days, 18 hours ago.

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  • #48800

    Lottie
    Participant

    Hello Charles and other members of the forum,
    I would like your advice on what to fill our new raised beds (about 6 inches deep) with. We will need to order a delivery from local suppliers. We are on heavy clay and we could have either compost (horse,cow,mushroom) or “soil improver” which is a mix of grit, soil and compost.
    I don’t think that they have heard ofNo Dig as the receptionist foretold dire consequences of using pure compost!
    Many thanks.

    #48801

    “E”
    Member

    We are currently building raised beds so this question is very much on our minds too. Looking forward to the response. Thank you for raising this question. K

    #48802

    charles
    Moderator

    Lottie avoid soil-grit at all costs, at all costs. Full of weed seeds and no goodness.
    Compost is what you need, anything decomposed.

    I should like to spend five minutes explaining things to the misinformed receptionist.
    Homeacres garden is planted into compost, it appears to work!

    My FAQs page has answers to these questions no.’s 15.16 on bed filling, & 23,24 for planting into compost.

    #48804

    Lottie
    Participant

    Many thanks for your help, Charles. I will know to stand my ground this time round and insist on ordering compost from the suppliers.
    Annoyingly I caved in to their pressure back in the spring this year when we were filling the first set of beds. You would have thought I was planning something truly outrageous from their response!
    The so-called soil improver isn’t weedy but it is very gritty. I think I will remove some of it from these first beds and replace with a thick layer of compost this Autumn ..and every Autumn!

    #48872

    allotmentdave
    Participant

    Hello Charles and other members in the forum.
    This is my first post on here I am not new to forums, sadly the membership dwindled on my previous forum and there was no one to chat with.
    I have had an allotment for 8 years now and this year is my last due to being overrun with weeds from airborne seeds
    from empty plots around me which were a mass of weeds. Two thirds of the site is now closing and will be built on
    leaving only 30 plots now.
    I have been growing at home now since spring this year, I have 3 large raised beds and they are filled with topsoil
    about 6inches deep with about 4 or 5inches of garden compost mixed with commercial bought compost and leaf mould on the top.
    I have had excellent results I have grown potatoes,onions main and spring,blueberries,raspberries,strawberries,
    courgettes,lettuce,tomatoes and now cabbages.
    I am well and truly convinced that this is the way to grow successfully by not digging the soil beneath the compost.
    I will just put fresh home made compost on top before winter.
    I hope I am correct with what I am doing and welcome all input on this topic.

    #48883

    charles
    Moderator

    Hello Dave, and you clearly did a great job as your harvests are so good.
    You have deeper beds than many of us and some soil as the base payer is a good idea.
    Then always compost as the top layer, nice work.

    #48884

    allotmentdave
    Participant

    Thank you for your comments Charles much appreciated nice to know I am doing it right.
    I would like to post some photo’s but got to figure out how to reduce photo size to stay within the limited size.
    I had a good little prog. that reduced photo’s for you,but sadly when my computer crashed I lost it.

    #48936

    Tony P
    Participant

    Disclaimer – I’m not an expert here, just someone who’s recently done this myself!

    I’ve recently popped some beds into my back garden (about 15m²), I don’t have access to any municipal sources or local farms/stables with a supply of suitable composts/manure so I had to buy in a load of the 50L plastic sacks from the local garden centre.

    I bought a mix of Durstons farmyard manure, westons Jack’s Magic all purpose and Gro-sure veg compost (roughly 20/40/40% ratio). Took a couple of trips, even with the back seat down and it took a week or two to get rid of the smell but pulled it off 🙂

    I chucked it in on top of the grass, manure at the bottom, which so far (1 month on) has seen only a couple of persistent dandelion leaves pop through (easily plucked and fed to the guinea pigs!). I saw evidence of earthworms getting busy after about 3 weeks.

    I’ve moved plants that were in pots into the beds, and I’ve already seen some significant growth on the broccoli and curly kale plants (which have been virtually dormant in their pots), and some lettuces that I planted from the garden centre have been providing a good steady yield, enough to keep two guinea pigs and a vegetarian wife fed.

    Some spuds that I planted as a punt on the 9th to see if they’d be ready for Christmas have also come up with some good growth up to about 1ft already.

    Pest wise, I’ve been struggling with whitefly at the moment, but I’m seeing some improvement after putting some potted pettermint and Thyme plants nearby. I’ve got some French Marigold seeds for next year to help deter them.

    Hope that helps!

    #48947

    charles
    Moderator

    Nice comment Tony.
    Best remedy for whitefly is to water. They like plants that are stressed by dry conditions. Generally not a major pest to worry about, I live with a few and no problems.

    #48963

    allotmentdave
    Participant

    Nice one Tony very good job you have done there. I am sure you will not regret doing what you have done.
    Sounds like your garden is more the size I would like mine to be. It is a bit on the small side and is on a hill
    and did not have any flat level land to work on,so I had walls built and levelled the ground and slabbed it
    and created my raised beds to grow in, also got pots and rectangular troughs on top of the walls.

    #49061

    Tony P
    Participant

    Thanks for the tip Charles, will increase the watering until we get some wet weather to see if that helps.

    Dave – the garden’s not particularly large (about 5m x 6m give or take), and I’ve had to strike a balance between growing space and grass for the family to use. Conscious that this isn’t my thread so I don’t want to steal focus! I’ve attached a couple of pics for Lottie to show what I’ve done.

    Left side bed is the last of this year’s bell peppers, with a couple of plants that I managed to over-winter from last year. I’m not expecting much from them now, but I’ll leave them in just in case we have a mild winter. There’s some curly kale and some spuds further back, with onion sets and garlic right at the back for over wintering too.

    Right side is broccoli and lettuce. Everything was planted in pots at the start of the year and transferred to the beds in early September with the exception of the lettuces which were all garden centre bought at the same time as the compost and now cropping nicely 3-4 weeks later, and the spuds which were surplus spuds from a relative’s allotment.

    Hope this helps 🙂

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    #49089

    allotmentdave
    Participant

    Tony have managed to reduce file sizes to upload some photos of the main growing beds before planting.
    The main rectangular bed is 10feet X 2feet.
    The corner beds 3Feet X 3feet.

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    #49091

    allotmentdave
    Participant

    Oops 2 pics to big to upload.
    Second try.

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    #49182

    Tony P
    Participant

    Very nice 🙂 Wish I had the resources to go with that style in my garden but it would have cost way too much! Settled for wane-edge wood for now, should last a year or two hopefully by which point I’ll likely build a basic brick structure 🙂

    #49183

    allotmentdave
    Participant

    Thanks Tony (PS cannot find emoticons) was going to give you a smile.
    I am sure the wood will be fine as long as it does the job it does not matter what it looks like.
    Mine is the front of the house so had to do something a bit smarter as not got a back garden as only one way in and out in my place.Twas a bit expensive but it should last 10 or 12 years more with luck.

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