How to set up a raised garden bed

How to set up a raised garden bed

Crystal, Owner of a small gardening business, Oxford

Guide written by:

Crystal, Owner of a small gardening business, Oxford

51 guides

Raised garden beds offer a dedicated space for growing vegetables or flowers in a controlled environment. Usually made of rot-proof wood, these beds usually contain 4, 9, 12 or 15 squares and come supplied with weed control fabric. A bit like an oversized planter, these beds are ideal for use on balconies and patios.  

Important features

  • Dimensions
  • Number of squares
  • Layout
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If you are thinking about growing your own vegetables, one of the best ways to get started is by installing a raised bed in your garden

raised garden bed is a vegetable patch that is elevated off the ground and is usually divided into squares. Similar in appearance to a planter, these beds are set up in the garden in the hopes of growing vegetables. What's more, these grids can be an attractive addition to your garden decor as they can provide a wide variety of shapes and colours.

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Raised garden bed

1. The vegetables are not planted directly in the ground, which means you can choose the type of soil and compost that will be used inside the vegetable patch. This way, you will know for sure that the soil has never been treated by pesticides, making it an ideal solution for organic vegetable growers keen to look out for their health.

2. Raised garden beds take up very little space.

3. Raised garden beds are extremely basic structures that will allow you to grow a wide variety of crops and save water in the process.

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Vegetable patch

It should be fairly straightforward to choose the right raised bed for you as there are only a couple of features to consider. These beds are made up of wood that has been treated (by autoclave or impregnation). Pay attention to the following features:

  • the size of squares of the bed, depending on your needs and the amount of space you have;
  • the base of the bed (placed on the ground or set up on legs);
  • the number of squares (depending on how many different crops you want to grow);
  • the accessories provided (weed control fabric, stakes, etc.);
  • whether or not the bed can be customised;
  • warranty.

You don't have to be a skilled DIYer to build your own raised bed. Before you get started, you need to keep in mind that you are trying to build a structure that will be easy to work with. You can use materials such as wooden planks, round timbers or even garden edging. If you are using wood, you need to make sure that it has not been pre-treated with unsuitable chemicals. In order to build your own bed, you simply have to:

  • assemble 4 boards using a framing square;
  • space out your squares using string or twine to evenly divide the length and width (if you want exact squares);
  • place the raised bed on the ground;
  • fill the squares of your raised bed with soil;
  • spread out the soil evenly using a rake;
  • sow your seeds and plant your vegetable crops.
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String or twine

  • is easy to access: make sure you can walk easily around the bed to ensure gardening doesn't become a chore;
  • gets a lot of sun exposure to allow your vegetables to grow properly;
  • is near a water source to make watering easier.

  1. Only plant one crop per square: lettuce, peppers, tomatoes, etc. This will give your plants the optimum conditions to grow. Raised beds are particularly effective for growing lettuce, courgettes and tomatoes.
  2. Lay out your bed according to how big your crops will be once mature: remember that larger plants will cast shadow on smaller plants.
  3. Change up your crop types depending on the season to ensure a successful harvest.

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Guide written by:

Crystal, Owner of a small gardening business, Oxford, 51 guides

Crystal, Owner of a small gardening business, Oxford

From a background in waste transportation, I became a farmer specializing in organic market gardening. A graduate of a professional baccalaureate in Agronomy and Horticultural Production, I tried for several years as a young farmer to settle in the beautiful region of Oxford.   After many disappointments, I finally started a small-business in home services, specifically in gardening, assisted by my loving, dear husband. Passionate about nature and wild edible plants, I am very attentive to ecological solutions and respectful of our environment in all aspects of my daily life.   From the vegetable garden to the flower beds, from seed to harvest, I have all kinds of advice up my sleeve. Do not hesitate to ask me your questions.