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Raised beds advice

edited 30 November -1 at 12:00AM in Greenfingered MoneySaving
6 replies 2.2K views
dai_bachdai_bach Forumite
21 posts
edited 30 November -1 at 12:00AM in Greenfingered MoneySaving
Hello all,

Recently moved house and I am planning to build some raised beds for growing some fruit and veg next year. I'm still fairly new to growing my own so just wanted to check if there is anything I need to in terms of prepping the beds? I'm planning on having them made up and filled within the next month or so.
I did a bit of googling and one article mentioned putting mulch on the beds over the winter to protect the soil. Is this necessary? I am in North Yorkshire if that makes a difference.
My other concern would be the local cat population using them. Any tips? Cover with some netting?

Thanks for any advice!

Replies

  • edited 13 November 2019 at 12:57PM
    Ebe_ScroogeEbe_Scrooge Forumite
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    edited 13 November 2019 at 12:57PM
    The main thing is to get some decent soil in there. This can be anything really, but the best - if you can get hold of it - is some ordinary soil from the garden, mixed with plenty of well-rotted compost. My local council has it available free from the local tip (sorry, "recycling centre"), which is made from all the waste collected in the compostable-waste bins. Some councils sell it off quite cheaply if it's not available for free. Add in some well-rotted manure. Add some sharp sand if your soil is very heavy and clay-ey. Chuck it all in together, and let the worms do their stuff over winter.

    The idea of a mulch is to stop weeds from seeding in there over winter while it's not in use. You can use anything - polythene, cardboard, old carpet. We've just done exactly this in our garden - it's covered in an offcut of carpet for now, but it does mean that come Spring, we can just remove it and have nice weed-free soil to plant into (hopefully!!). I did hear a brilliant tip on GQT some time back - cover the bed with old cardboard, then cover that with grass clippings. When the time comes to plant, the cardboard will have near enough rotted away, and you can just plant straight through the grass and what's left of the cardboard. I've not tried it, but it sounds a great idea.

    Cats - yep, they can be a pest. Netting or chicken wire will keep them off while you're not using it, but I'm not sure how to stop them when the bed is planted and you want to get to it. I've heard that orange peel can deter them, but no idea if this works or not.
    I may not know much about art, but I know what I like.
  • Thanks for the response!

    Unfortunately our council don't provide it for free. They are charging £10 for 120 litres which while is pretty cheap, it doesn't work our much cheaper than getting a bulk delivery... plus I would have the hassle of collecting 40+ bags to fill the beds.

    I like the sound of the cardboard and grass idea, might give that a go!

    I am toying with the idea of making DIY cloches with blue pipe and polythene/netting which will keep the cats off when we come to actually grow some stuff. The mulch/cover in winter should keep them out until then!

    Thanks again.
  • unrecordingsunrecordings Forumite
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    In terms of cats, that expanding trellis works for me, then I tend to either remove it or add canes depending on the crop / determination of the pooper(s)

    The soil level of my beds is a couple of inches below the scaff board edges so they (whoever they are) can't dig so easily and generally give up

    Why am I in this handcart and where are we going ?
  • madjackslammadjackslam Forumite
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    For cats, laying prunings of anything prickly (holly, roses, etc) works well for me. You'll find it's particularly important when you're sowing seeds - they like that freshly tilled ground. I did try using horticultural fleece once, but that almost seemed to attract them!
  • unrecordingsunrecordings Forumite
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    For cats, laying prunings of anything prickly (holly, roses, etc) works well for me. You'll find it's particularly important when you're sowing seeds - they like that freshly tilled ground. I did try using horticultural fleece once, but that almost seemed to attract them!

    Yep - seconding this advice. If you have a 'mature' garden then bramble runners are brilliant. When we were plagued by the phantom pooper a year or so back bramble runners laid like barbed wire were the only thing that worked

    Why am I in this handcart and where are we going ?
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  • -taff-taff Forumite
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    I kept the cuttings from a rosemary bush and used those in the front garden. Worked OK.
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