I think I will probably do the new ones to the same design as those I built last year, for a variety of reasons, including:
- I know what is involved, and I have worked out a viable building technique (the second one was harder than the first, because it had to match!)
- I know the exact cost of the materials, and where to get them. Those steel angle-brackets are harder to find than you might think.
- The wide wooden sleepers (10cm x 20cm x 240cm), although apparently very sturdy, are not too heavy for me to manage single-handed
- The vendor of the sleepers can deliver them direct to site in my back garden, using a truck with a crane
- The width of the sleepers has added advantages - you can sit on them when you need a rest, and you can stand on them when you want to reach something high up, such as a Runner Bean
I have given some thought to filling the beds. The contents of the existing beds will only be half as much as I need. Furthermore, despite the constant addition of copious quantities of home-made compost, the soil is not as fertile as I would like. The original ("natural") soil in my area is thin, sandy and acidic - as evidenced by the fact that most of the wild trees in our area are either conifers or Birch.
Regular readers will be well aware of the fact that over the last couple of years I have had major problems with weedkiller contamination in bags of compost purchased at my local Garden Centre. Some of this compost has crept into my raised beds, I know, and has had a detrimental effect on some of my crops. I cannot be certain, but I think the weird effects seen in this (last) year's Parsnips may have been a consequence of this:
I have a mind to buy a tonne of "Norfolk Biodress (Raised Bed Mix) Topsoil" from a local company that provides materials to the building and landscaping trade. The product description makes it sound ideal for my purposes, and the price is not bad at £79.95 for a metric tonne (900kg). It might solve the problem at a stroke. Have any of my readers ever made such a purchase? Is it the right thing to do? What do you think?
Good luck with the new beds, wish I had space at home to build similar, Also a metric tonne should be 1000Kg, equivalent to 0.984 imperial tonsReplyDelete
Yes, that's my mistake. To be fair, the trader advertises "Bulk bags - approx. 900kgs", which in my mind is *about* one tonne!Delete
Those raised beds look excellent. We put a couple in the garden of our old house a few years back, very similar size and construction. We ordered 'horticultural grade' topsoil at the time, but it turned out to be quite heavy clay with hardly any organic matter that we could detect. Lots of improvement was needed over the next few growing seasons, but that's no bad thing.ReplyDelete
Purchasing bulk soil (or in my case triple-mix, which is a combination of topsoil, compost & peat) was the way to go as I was starting from scratch and needed a ton of it - literally.ReplyDelete
My only advice would be that, if possible, speak to someone that has ordered it before. I switched suppliers when I ordered my 2nd batch of mix and ended up regretting it as the soil was full of weed seeds and also had a lot of clay that became rock hard after it was wet. It was less expensive, but if I had to do it over, I would have gone for the better mix. In the end, it's worked out ok as I was able to pull most of the weeds and I added add'l peat, compost and manure which has conditioned the soil quite nicely. It won't be too long before it's up to the quality of the original batch.
And writing things in the blog does make you a bit more accountable doesn't it - I often use that to my benefit as I find it gives me that little push to do things that I would otherwise be put on the back burner.
I think you'll be very happy buying soil if you can find the right one. I had my big beds built and filled with imported soil because my native soil is extremely gritty, worse than sand because it is rock hard when dry. I had my contractor bring me a few different buckets of soil before he found one that I liked, so I recommend that you try to get samples before purchasing. The worst sample that I was given was one that he told me would be good for vegetables. I don't think that veggies were his forté.ReplyDelete
Another advantage is that they will all match nicely.ReplyDelete
Thank you! I think my parsnips may have been affected not only by canker, but also Cavity Spot. Ugh!Delete
Forgive me because I came late to the box-building project. I like your boxes. We used the angle brackets, too, but our planks were too thin to sit on (ow!). One question: I guess your are not using pressure treated sleepers? If they were recycled from rail beds they might have creosote and arsenic and things like that in them. Yours look new and raw but I thought I'd ask anyway.ReplyDelete
yes, the sleepers are new. They are pressure-treated, but apparently with a chemical that is OK for horticultural use - certainly not like used railway sleepers!Delete
Wah...having new boxes...look like very though...ReplyDelete
The bed plan looks very smart. When I first converted lawn to perennial (before I got into veg), I had 22 cubic yards of mix provided. A toil I am not keen on repeating.ReplyDelete
That said it was a good investment