Register with us or sign in
in Fruit & veg
I am about to build some raised veg beds, and am wanting 2.2m by 1.4m. I had thought to simply get some ordinary planks of wood.
But how thick should they be? I do not want really thick ones, just wide enough so a nail won't split the wood.
Also, I was going for 30cm high. I presume it's better to but one plank rather than two on top of each other to get the height unless no option?
And is it best to nail them into each other or to get a post at each corner?
Where have other people got their raised veg wood planks and posts from?
Dear melanie, wood has a tendency to rot when it is outside, so I made my raised beds from 'pressure treated timber' this is unplaned timber suitable for using out of doors. I used 6 or 7inch wide planks (these are called gravel boards) with 2"x2" posts at the corners. So you hammer the posts into the ground, 4 inches or so, then you drill and screw the gravel board into the little post.
If you want the raised beds to be higher then simply attach another layer of gravel board, but please be aware that it will take an awful lot of compost/topsoil/well rotted manure to fill such a high bed.
I will tell you exactly how I built mine. Firstly, I sourced used scaffolding boards, they can be found on Ebay in your area. I then bought some 3 x 3 inch fence posts and sank them in the ground. I then attached the scaffold boards at the corners using large screws (drilled first) and left the posts sticking out above the soil level some way. I also used a spirit level to get the scaffold boards level (can't believe some people spend loads on raised beds only to put them in wonky!!) I then lined the inside of the boards with plastic sheeting (damp proof sheeting from toolstation/screwfix type places) to prevent moisture from rotting them. I will put a picture up tomorrow. The reason for the tall posts at the corner is because I have a theory about making the whole bed into a kind of cold frame with polythene, by making a frame, secured by screws in the top of the posts, and then cover same with netting to prevent carrot flies or wasps from accessing late strawberries, etc. Also to put cats off scratching and poo-ing in the bed, or rabbits nicking stuff. Can explain all this with photos when it is not dark!!
I've built many veg beds and I've always used " 6x1" gravel boards. ( 15cm x 1.5cm ish) in new money. If you want them 30cm, you'd need 2 high, clearly. They're relatively cheap and come in various lengths 6ft 8ft or 10 ft , or their metric equivalents. I usually use a " marking out stake" again, easily obtainable from timber yards / builders' merchants. They're usually 2" ( 5cm ) square and either 18" (45cm) or 24" ( 60cm) long. I'd not recommend nailing, always screw them onto the posts.
I've gone for a cheapish option and just knocked one up using gravel boards, about 19mm thick I think, and stacked two high to get the 30cm depth with a post in each corner made from roughly 5cm by 5cm wood. Quite small bed though overall - about 90cm square - but seems strong enough.
For longer sides I think they might need a strengthening baton or two - but I'm by no means a DIY expert
tee hee Artjak, same advice, you just beat me to it.
Heh many replies much the same
Busybee2 - nice idea with the longer corner posts. I might copy that if I make another one!
Melanie hope you are not too confused now
Please ask us if you need more info.
If you need raised beds because of a disability, it may be that there are other options to explore.
Hi Melanie, just last week I made a raised bed from scaffolding boards available free at Epping forest in east London, through free cycle You can pick up a lot of wood free if it is not too far for you. I made another from pallets also picked up free from some builders. Just don't use wood that has been treated with chemicals if you are planning to grow organic vegetables.
I didn't bother lining the larger bed _just dug over and topped with compost and fertiliser. Stakes in the corners will be useful, like Busy Bee suggested, to put up netting or cloches.
You can sort of see what I mean here. The black plastic ran down the side of one board, underneath, across the path and up the side of the next bed, then gravel put on the path between, to minimize weeds. It was stapled to the sides using a wall stapler to keep it in place while the soil and manure went in. Will photograph the frame arrangement tomorrow. Here you can see the arrangement with the corner posts keeps them away from the damp, to help them last longer.
Oh, meant to say that the beds are placed on soil, so they are infinitely deep for root veg etc.
Can't beat BB's approach but I used two approaches, in the back garden made raised beds with treated decking planks, they've last about 5 yrs and will need replacing next year.
On the alottment I'm making raised beds out of broken down pallets, no cutting they are simply the width of a pallet and some either one length or two pallet lengths, with stakes in the corners and a wood preserve on the wood.
Thanks to BB I now know how to make the paths and use up the plastic originally covering the plot.
Thanks all for your help. I am looking for scaffolding boards but failing that, will go gravel boards as I know where to get them. Not sure where to get the posts from - any suggestion BusyBee? I also like the going for tall posts idea so will do that.
Artjak brings up a good point that if I raise it to 30cm it takes a lot of filling. I had thought to do it higher as we are close to a hedge and I know I need to prevent the hedge roots taking all the moisture. But I'll stay a meter away (as was suggested in a different thread) but keep to the shorter bed I think....
Is there any benefit to using week membrane anywhere - a suggestion had been made to line the beds but I presume that is only good for short rooted veg?
My posts came from a local company who sell sheds, fence panels, trellis and the like. They are buried quite deep - maybe once to twice the depth that you can see above ground. But you should get them anywhere that sells fencing - B & Q, Wickes, garden centres, etc. Not sure why people would line a bed at the bottom, but sure someone will be along to explain in a minute. Maybe to stop deep rooted weeds from coming up. I get thistles trying to come up, but if you stay vigilant about pulling them out it is not a problem. Maybe it is to retain moisture?
I am a carpenter and have a lumber yard I buy from. They sell me 'culls', or lumber that is split, has twisted, or otherwise is not good for construction - at half price and less. That is what I used for my raised beds. I used 2 X 12 treated lumber. The modern pressure treated lumber is treated with copper, not like the old style with arsenic.
There a re lots of youtube videos to show you to do this. Here is one
Here is my frame idea, a day late due to work commitments! The frame is made from tile lats (unsawn pressure treated timber used for roofing). These are available in B & Q, or from builders merchants, timber yards etc. They are screwed together into a rectangle which goes to the outside of the posts.
A large screw is driven downwards into the top of the posts, to prevent the frame from moving around, and left slightly lower than the top of the frame, so as not to tear anything placed on top, like polythene or netting.
And then the protection of choice can be stapled to the frame and weighted with bricks at the bottom.
Will this work? I really don't know. I suspect it will work better with netting than with polythene. This polythene is not very durable (99p a metre from garden centre - annoyingly I know I have squirreled away lots of polythene and couldn't find it.) On reflection, I think bubble wrap would work better. I think that if we get high winds and storms forecast, I will remove this - given it is there to warm the soil and protect against cats and frost, and storms at this time of year will not be combined with low temperatures.
Looks great Busy Bee2.
I would protect the corner of the timber with a half tennis ball or something just to stop it ripping at that point. apart from that i think it will withstand most high winds.