Knitting ~ Crafting ~ Life ~ With an Eco Twist

Raised Veg Beds from Reclaimed Wood

Raised Veg Beds from Reclaimed Wood

I’ve been looking forward to having some raised vegetable beds in the garden since moving into this house a few years ago. I miss growing fruit and veg, so in my head, I could see raised veg beds, a greenhouse and fruit you could just pick off the plant and eat.

I’m sure this is a dream for many and we’re now blessed with enough space to be able to do it. Don’t get me wrong we’re never going to be self-sufficient, but we have the room to be able to grow enough to have an impact on our diet. Of course, that’s only part of the reason for growing your own veg. There are wellbeing and mindfulness aspects you can’t get any other way. A shift in our outlook towards life and consumerism, provided you’re not one of those gardeners who simply buys everything on sale at the posh garden centre and then pays someone to keep it all neat and tidy. Essentially I believe getting your hands into the soil can be good for your soul as well as your pocket and the planet.

Gifted wooden decking boards ready to be recycled.
Gifted wooden decking boards ready to be recycled.

So this is how I ended up all fired up one morning with a pencil, metal rule, some power tools, a pile of gifted reclaimed wooden decking and a bunch of screws. I probably had a scary look on my face as I was determined that I was going to transform it all into some raised vegs beds. I consulted with my husband about the size beds he thought would work best and then got cracking.

I decided that the main bed was going to be not only reasonably large but quite high. There were a few reasons for the height, a major one was to save aching backs by reducing the amount of bending over. I also had it in mind that at some point carrots might be in there and being higher would help to protect from carrot fly. So this was to be the first one.

Essentially a raised bed is just a box to hold the soil, so that’s what I made. Starting with the longer sides I drilled holes and then screwed the planks onto other pieces of wood acting as batons to make two panels. Next, I cut more lengths to the right size for the ends and my husband helped to hold the panels verticle while I drilled and attached the end pieces before it was manoeuvred into position on the ground. The plastic bags from compost was then used to line the inside of the bed with a staple gun. The idea behind this is to give the wood a bit more protection whilst recycling the bags we had been unable to avoid buying. Turf which had been lifted from the lawn for the new greenhouse base went in the bottom for fill followed by garden compost and topped off with the bought compost.

The smaller bed was essentially a repeat of the larger one, but with slightly less swearing on my part.

The smaller raised veg bed just after I finished making it, it's still on the table.
The smaller raised veg bed just after I finished making it, it’s still on the table.

In an ideal world at this point, I would have either sown directly into the beds or planted out home-grown plants. However, since this is our first year and I’m a great believer in giving yourself encouragement and building up to things, the first plants came from a local nursery. A lovely local business which grows plants for other companies buy does sell some to the public. There is no gift shop, no cafe, no plants bought in from anywhere else. It’s a walk in, pick up what you want, pay and leave type place. Oh, and it’s cash only! So it’s supporting the local economy (they’re locally owned) and minimising the carbon footprint because the plants aren’t travelling far. They do unfortunately come in plastic trays but these have been saved to sow seeds into next year and hence reused. We’ve more planting in containers planned and these will be from seed so we’ve got a succession for crops such as peas.

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The beds themselves combined cost me a total of £4.50, not counting time or electricity for the power tools and the compost. All the wood was reclaimed or recycled and the bulk of the screws used were left over from a previous project. Unfortunately, I ran out of screws and had to buy a few more and that’s what cost the £4.50.

All in all, I’m rather pleased with my ‘rustic’ styled veg beds. They will never win any awards and I’m sure many would turn their noses up at their shabby appearance. I don’t care. I love them and get a sense of achievement and pride when I see them. I told a friend on the phone that they were made by girl power and she promptly told me off, correcting it to ‘Goddess Power’. I kinda like that, so it’s ‘Goddess Power’ from now on.

I have also recorded a video about these concentrating more on the why rather than the how, which you can find here.

take care till next time


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