TaDa! a nice new raised bed

Right at the end of last year, I started building a raised bed out of sticks leftover from pruning our rather unruly lilac. I got half way up, ran out of sticks, and then it was new year, and then it was snowing, and cold, and dark, and the whole project got put on hold for a while.

DSCF5085A couple of weekends ago I got out there and finished it. This wasn’t as straightforward as it sounds – first I had to do some more (drastic but much-needed) pruning, then saw the branches into pieces, find some that were vaguely straight and the right length, then try to make them stay in the right places. But I managed it, and was left with a lovely hole to fill.

DSCF5087What to put in it? I wasn’t about to buy enough compost to go in there (this was meant to be a frugal project after all). I started with a pile of cardboard from an old Approved Foods order. This has been hanging round for ages waiting for me to rip it into small enough pieces to fit in the recycling box. It’ll do nicely to stop the weeds growing up through the soil.

DSCF5088On top of that I put a pile of tiny sticks, cut from the ends of the branches I pruned

DSCF5089I’m not sure they’ll add that much drainage, and they may still be there in six years time, but I didn’t really know what else to do with them, so in they went.

DSCF5090Then I turned to the compost bin, which it seems I never showed you a finished picture of. You can see it in a half-built state here. I’m rather taken with it – it’s sturdy, and has two compartments, and I can remove the front really easily so occasionally I just turf everything from one side into the other, which helps the whole thing rot down more quickly.

I put a strip of weed-surpressing membrane leftover from the willow hedge round the edge of the sticks to stop the compost falling through, then added a layer of the less-composted stuff from the top of the bin. This was half rotted, but still had some stringy herby bits and the occasional stick.

DSCF5091Then I added a layer of the finer compost from the bottom of the bin, which was really rather nice (aside from an occasional teabag of course).

DSCF5094There was still some space, so bought three giant bags of peat free compost from the garden centre (on offer for the price of two).

Since I finished, it’s been either dark or snowing when I’ve been at home, so I’ve not managed to get a decent photograph. You can get the vague idea from this one (slightly fuzzy because I was sensibly staying inside in the warm).

DSCF5149Do you like it? I’ve not decided what to put in it yet. I’d really like a bed of flowers this year, but this is prime sunshiney growing space, so I think it needs vegetables instead. What do you reckon?

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8 Responses to TaDa! a nice new raised bed

  1. Robyn says:

    Compromise – find things that look pretty, but you can eat as well. That wall would take a nice trellis for beans, or maybe nasturtiums, or both to climb up….you could trail nasturtiums over the front too…

  2. cherisong says:

    Can you not do a mixture of flowers and veg a la Alys Foeler style?

  3. Jen says:

    I think it looks fab! I would go veg for what it’s worth 🙂

  4. I would vote for veg too but that’s only because I am not a flower person. The only flowers we have in our garden is a rose bush which we only bought when we found out our tortoise eats rose leaves and we want him to be as self sufficient as possible! 😉

  5. Lula says:

    That is a fab raised bed. I am inundated with birch twigs which I often turn in to brooms, but never thought of using them to make raised beds.

    Thank you – I am now blatantly stealing that idea, can’t wait to get started on some twig weaving.

    PS – fill it with flowers, meant to send you some some of my seed mountain as I have loads, will pack some off to you, with another kitty sticker !

  6. Cassandra says:

    What a clever way of building a bed out of what you had an excess of!! You can have some cheerful flowers in with your vegetables, think marigolds and other companion plantings. Some vegetable and herb flowers can be absolutely stunning!

  7. Ooh, lots of lovely ideas here, thank you! I’ve actually just made another one (much smaller, made of stone) which is reserved entirely for flowers, so I’m thinking a mainly-veg-with-a-few-cheery-flowers combination for this one! Stay tuned!

  8. Helena Romanowska says:

    I think companion planting would fulfil both sides of what you want and will do the veg good as well ie I understand marigolds are excellent for keeping carrot fly away from er… carrots! So it is green gardening as well. What more could you ask for!

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