Tag Archives: Raised beds

Simple explanation of different types of No Dig beds

 


I am often asked “what are the differences between the different types of No Dig beds ?

To begin with lets explore what the use of the term  No dig means

A the one extreme  there is the simple process of covering ground with a layer of compost, and here compost referes to homemade garden compost, greenwaste compost, well rotted animal manure and normally for most people these days this will be produced by horses  or a mixture of the above

Then we have the no dig approach were we cover the ground with a weed suppressing mulch like cardboard  or plastic to kill weeds wait a season or two for weeds to die then remove and plant this is very time intensive

The quicker method is place cardboard layers onto soil and cover this with a layer of compost this is sometimes referred to as sheet mulching or sheet composting and can work really well for potatoes in a NoDig potato bed  and salads especially lettuce so are favoured by micro scale salad growers. the cardboard is essential for suppressing weeds but allowing  roots to grow through into the soil beneath

Raised beds are as the name suggests are growing beds that are raised or higher than the soil level. this is achieved by either wooden sides which can give a neat very pleasing tidy effect and allowing the beds to be worked form the dividing paths.

In a more informal vegetable garden or allotment  by turfs as in ‘Barra’ beds  or deeper bed using hay or straw bales and these also could use “hotbed’ techniques

These raised beds and be filled with either compost as above or a mixture of compost and soil depending what is available. Raised beds warm up quicker and drain better and can be more  intensively cropped,Beans, peas and root vegetables all prefer these conditions

Lasagna beds are simply beds that are made using layers as in a lasagna. These layers can be differentiated from the other two by a greater intricacy of layers and a predetermined focus on varying layers of nitrogen and carbon and can be taylor made for specific vegetables needs

these beds can be as shallow as 4 inches to as deep as 3 feet in the extreme but 4-6 inches can give fantastic growing conditions so then these are raised lasagna beds!

At its simplest you can grow some  vegetables varieties  in the sheet composted bed and they do ok but the time and effort it takes to prepare more specific growing  conditions always is worth the effort

No Dig vegetable gardening

 

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Using Horticultural fleece

One of the  simplest and cheapest ways we can get things growing in our vegetable beds in the Spring is by offering the seedlings and seeds some protection

You can cover your bed with cloches made of either glass or plastic but that can be expensive a far cheaper alternative is Horticultural fleece

Fleece will warn the soil especially in raised beds and keep off a couple of degrees of frost while allowing light and water through while forming a physical barrier to stop birds, rabbits and deer from eating the young seedlings

By excluding the wind it stops delicate seedlings from dying out and allows quicker establishment of roots

Fleece can be left on for the life  of some crops and the fine mesh  types are perfect for stopping carrot rootfly

You can get differing weights of Horticultural fleece the finest is less than 50p  to £2.50 for heaver gauge per metre

 

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Green compost in a No Dig Bed

One of the problems with starting a No Dig bed is that to make one you need either well rotted home made compost or well rotted farmyard manure both of which you may not have if your new to gardening or live in a town or city

Most councils are now obliged to run a “Green waste” recycling scheme and as long as they conform to British Standards Institution’s Publicly Available Specification 100:20  11 there perfect for garden use

Every batch of compost made to this standard is analysed and tested for impurities and contaminants by an independent laboratory, and all procedures are fully documented part of this test is the germination and growing of Tomatoes to test for  contaminants

 

The result is a compost perfect for all gardens, that can also be used as an environmentally-responsible alternative to peat but with a higher PH so also help cut costs by reducing use of artificial fertilizer and lime

 

 

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How to construct a WoodBlocX raised bed

If you want tall raised bed because they would fit in with your garden or because the easy of working in them one of the best systems is made by WoodBlocX.Its a modular system that can be tailored to any shape and size,the one’s we installed in our new garden were deliberately positioned on rough ground as it replicated most new garden

These films show how quickly you can transform your garden into a productive space and how easily the WoodBlocX  are to construct.

You can find links to how to initially fill your new raised beds so they can be utilized as hotbeds and created a perfect longterm growing  environment

 

 

 

Best way to fill your raised beds

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Winter Salads

One of the great pleasures of growing vegetables is to be able to harvest fresh salad in the cooler months,the flavor seems fresher and more welcome through autumn and Winter

its important to use varieties that are adapted to growing in these cooler conditions

The varieties that work for me are Continue reading Winter Salads

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