My raised beds arrive tomorrow

Judith

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Aug 27, 2019
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After watching Mark on YouTube for a few weeks now I’ve decided to take the plunge and order some raised beds. I’m getting on now, my mother who is 85 lives with me and my husband who is 68 and suffering from dementia along with our teenage daughter who, at this stage, has no interest in gardening. We have 4 vegetable patches but they are unproductive. The vegetables grow but don’t do very well. I think the vege patches are not deep enough. I’ve taken some before photos and looking forward to my beds being delivered tomorrow from Birdies. I’ve got 4 coming 2.5 metres x 900 cm x 74 cms high. I’m a bit worried about filling them so I’m going to start off with one and wait until we have that filled before we build the next one. I’m in the western suburbs of Melbourne. Any advice is welcome.
 

ClissAT

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Hi Judith, welcome.

Yes getting new raised beds must be exciting!
As will be putting them together.

However, I doubt your current gardens failed due to being in the ground or too shallow.
More likely to be the soil pH or fertility was incorrect for what you were growing.
Some photos will help.
Of course what you fill your new beds with will have the biggest effect on whether the new system works or not.
What are you planning to fill your beds with?
How deep are they? Vegetables only need 30cm at most. 20cm is usually quite sufficient.
We make them higher because we can't bend down to the ground so we want to bring the plants up to our height.
However that doesn't mean the whole depth of the structure should be filled with growing medium! Quite the opposite actually.
The growing medium should still only be 30cm deep with a non pervious floor to prevent the loss of fertility out through the bottom. Vegie roots can only reach down 15-30cm at best. Carrots and tomatoes go to 30cm, lettuces only go down 10-20cm.
Ever looked at raised beds and noted the lush growth around the bottom edges of the boards? Thats where all the moisture and fertility ends up after the first season. The vegies miss out or its a never ending chore to keep things growing well.
So first thing is to work out why your current garden failed so as not to repeat the same mistakes.
 
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Dean Gallagher

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Mark has a great video on Hugelkultur - Definition: Hügelkultur is a horticultural technique where a mound constructed from decaying wood debris and other compostable biomass plant materials is later planted as a raised bed.


I suggest giving that a watch and researching this method if It applies to you as I've seen some fantastic results.

As ClissAT has said, you dont need to fill the whole thing with soil or growing medium, that can be quite costly and there are better ways!

Keep us updated with photos :)
 
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Mark

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G'day Judith and thanks for joining SSC we have a lot of people becoming members of our forum at the moment so please forgive the time delay in promoting you to Premium but I have to do this manually in order to keep spam under control. Remember to interact via posting or creating threads to get and retain your Gold status and this enables other privileges such as the ability to enter competitions. I hope to interact more myself with you and others in the future. Cheers :)
 

Guy M.

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In addition to what Dean Gallagher said and the video he shared, you can also add pea straw or another straw (lucerene is more expsive but highly nutritious and effective I found... Worms galore), soak it well, and even interspersed layers of wet cardboard (plastic sticky tape removed) and/or wet shredded paper. Worms love using the holes in-between cardboard to make a home in and it'll hold some moisture for a while too once covered if wet when covered.
Mixed manure and compost of course, mushroom compost highly recommended and a great top soil, plus wood ash if you have it.
Now that's a great mix! And trust me, if wet through and covered for 6 weeks, you should uncover it to find worm city! I was very excited to find baby worms in a bed I made like this, especially in a previously barren area of the yard.