How to build a raised vegetable bed

Do it:

Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb

Takes just:

15 minutes

Raised beds are ideal for vegetable growing - maintenance is easier, as you don't need to dig, and the soil doesn't get walked on and compacted.

A robust raised bed can be constructed from interlocking scaffolding boards, which look attractive and are inexpensive. Simply remove the metal banding from each end of the planks and cut them to size using a hand saw – a good rule of thumb is to cut two planks to 2.3m and two to 1.6m length, to make a good rectangular shape, but the dimensions can be altered to fit your site.

You will need

  • 3.9m scaffolding planks, 3.7cm thick, x 2
  • Soil
  • Organic matter
  • Pliers
  • Hand saw
  • Jigsaw
  • Tape measure
  • Ruler

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Mark out the vertical slots. On the long edge, measure 8cm from the end and draw a line down to the exact centre of the plank, parallel to the short edge. Draw a second parallel line a further 3.7cm (the thickness of the board) from the first, and join up the two lines. Repeat this step at the opposite end, along the same edge, on each plank.

Using a hand saw, cut along the two parallel lines the centre line. Then get the jigsaw and position it two-thirds of the way along the first cut and saw diagonally towards the centre line, turning the jigsaw as you go. Once the main portion of wood has been removed, go back and straighten up the shorter line.

Slot the planks together to form the bed. This is easier to do with two pairs of hands, as you need to keep the boards level so that they drop into place. Fill the bed with soil and organic matter, ready for early-spring planting.

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You can buy scaffolding planks from a builders' merchant or a timber yard.

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