DIY Raised Garden Bed
Raised garden beds are a great way to concentrate all your gardening efforts in one spot – watering, mulching and feeding your precious soil. Plus, they make planting and harvesting much easier on your back.
Here’s a step-by-step DIY version built by Blue Mountains Food Co-op Manager, Halin Nieuwenhuyse.
1. Site your raised bed on fairly level ground in a sunny position.
2. Cut sleepers into 8 uprights 670mm long.
3. Make the 4 corner supports by screwing two uprights together at right angles using 3 long baton screws. Repeat for the other 3 corner supports.
4. Attach long length of corrugated iron to two of the uprights with 3 roofing screws each end and repeat for the other long edge.
5. Stand up the long sides of the bed and screw 1200mm top rails across the short ends of the beds with a couple of roofing screws.
6. Level the bed as much as possible – if you’re on sloping ground you may have to dig out a little soil on the high sides or raise up the low sides with bricks.
7. Cut corrugated iron sheet to fit short ends of the bed with an angle grinder and attach with roofing screws.
8. Attach 1 piece of 4 x 2 to the centre of each long side to support the top rail and fix the top rail to them with a couple of decking screws.
9. Attach the top rails to the long sides of the bed. The top rails are designed to cover over the top sharp edge of the corrugated iron so that you don’t cut yourself on it when you’re gardening.
Filling the bed
Filling a deep bed like this would be expensive if you only used vegie mix so you can borrow a technique from German gardeners called hugelkultur. Start with a layer of cardboard to stop the weeds growing through, followed by 5cm of wood chip, then half fill the bed with old logs, branches and twigs, covered in a layer of straw and then top it off with the vegie mix. The logs and branches will slowly rot down over time providing your bed with nutrients. They also provide excellent water holding capacity.
This raised bed cost about $120 for the sleepers and vegie mix. Hopefully you’ll be able to scavenge the rest of the screws and bits and bobs you’ll need from your own shed (or a kindly neighbour’s) like I did. Good luck!
Timber and vegie soil mix for this community verge garden bed donated by Tunks Landscape & Building Supplies.