Posted 12th Aug 2015
Home improvement specialist Wickes has teamed up with celebrity gardener, Diarmuid Gavin, to introduce a series of hour-long outdoor life ‘hacks’ that will transform your garden or outdoor living space in five easy-to-follow steps. This National Allotment Week (from 10th to 16th August 2015) why not build this simple raised bed for your allotment or outdoor space?
How to build a raised bed
You will need:
Growing herbs is one of the most satisfying garden projects you can do. Not only is it fun, but you’ll have a bounty of tasty and surprising herbs to experiment with in the kitchen this summer.
Step 1: Easy access
First work out where in your garden you want your raised bed to be. Think about if you need to access all four sides and whether your bed will catch the sun – ideally for six hours or more a day.
Step 2: Sleeping beauty
Make your raised bed out of three pre-cut sleepers. Work out exactly the area you want your raised bed to occupy, and place the sleepers into position. Make your bed rectangular – cut one sleeper into two equal halves to make the ends.
Step 3: Dig it
Once you’re happy with your arrangement of sleepers, mark their position on the ground on the outside of the sleepers using a spade. Then move the sleepers aside and dig the turf out. Loosen the soil beneath using the spade to a depth of about six inches.
Step 4: Raise it up
To build your raised bed, carefully place the sleepers back onto the newly dug earth, into the position you have marked. To attach the sleepers to each other, drill two holes through the ends of the long sleepers, and then use two coach screws to fasten to the short sleepers. Be careful to keep the sleepers at a right angle to each other to maintain the shape. Repeat for the other three corners.
Step 5: Plant the seeds
Now fill the raised bed with a mixture of soil and peat-free compost to just below the edge of your bed. To plant your herbs, just pick up a few of your favourite herb seedlings or grown herbs from your garden centre. Work out how you want to position them, remembering that as they grow they will expand. Check on the packets for instructions on how far apart each row of seedlings should be from the next. Ours are about 30cm apart. It’s also an idea to label the rows so you can remember what you have planted.
To plant, first soak the seedlings in water to loosen up the roots. Then dig a hole about the same size and depth as the seedling pot. Gently tease out the seedling from the pot and place carefully in the hole. Pack down the soil around the plant and water again. Then let nature take its course.
Images courtesy of Luke PD Freeman