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How to build a raised vegetable bed

Overview

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.


How to do it

1Remove the metal banding from the ends of the planks with pliers.


2Using a hand saw, cut each board in two to give one 2.3m and one 1.6m length. This is about the maximum width of bed that can be easily tended, but the dimensions can be altered to fit your site.


Marking out vertical slots on a scaffolding plank

3Mark 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.


Cutting out slots on a scaffolding plank with a hand saw

4Using 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.


Slotting planks together

5Slot 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.


Adam's tip

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



Discuss this project

Talkback: How to build a raised vegetable bed
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oldchippy 31/12/2011 at 19:11

If you haven't got a jigsaw you could fix 2"x2" to the inside corners leaving them long make a point on the end fix together with nails or screws then drive the pointed end in the ground to hold in place.

Shorty2 23/01/2012 at 13:08

What are the best fillers for my raised bed? Should I have different layers of materials ie Fertilizer, sand whatever as well as good compost.

Sue Wallace2 28/02/2012 at 21:53

I intend to build a raised vegetable bed and notice that many people have placed a black membrane at the base and coming up the sides. Is this a weed inhibitor or for water retention? I have good drainage almost too good London alluvialsoil and therefore wonder if I should put down polythene to conserve the rainfall? I look forward to hearing from you, thanks Sue Wallace

Cynthia Marshall 26/03/2012 at 23:27

is it okay to use presssure treated wopod for a vege garden raised bed?

Emma Crawforth 27/03/2012 at 18:01

Hello Cynthia,

Pressure treated timber is ideal for raised beds, as it withstands rot better than timber that hasn't been treated. Have a look at our wooden planter project.

Good luck,

Emma

gardenersworld.com team

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