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Well, the plan was to make one smallish raised bed at home and one at the Dutch House, and to grow as much veg as possible in a small space using the square foot gardening approach.

Somewhere along the line this plan changed a little, the bed at the Dutch House became bigger, got a bit of a design makeover and one became two.  Last week I spent a couple of days helping to build these super-sized raised beds.  We’ve used timber recycled from an old herb garden to make the frames of the new beds.  The timber is quite chunky, so the beds needed to be a decent size to keep them in proportion with the edging.  And now I have two raised beds to work with, they’re big but not huge – still a size that would fit in a home garden, and they look good too.

Today though, as I went to and fro with the wheelbarrow, I realised the downside to bigger raised beds – it takes that much more soil to fill them.  I don’t know how much soil each bed holds, but it took a long time and a lot of barrow loads to fill just one.  It does look good though, and I can’t wait to start planting.  Once both beds are filled with soil and compost, I’m going to use some thin strips of wood to make a grid of equal sized squares.  By then the weather should be warm enough to start sowing seed and planting out the lettuce and herbs I’ve started off in modules in the greenhouse. …just another few days of moving soil and it will all be ready.


Back at home – the raised bed is smaller, smaller than planned in fact.  It’s made from an old compost bin, cut down to give a 3’x3′ (about 90cm) square.  It really is a small space for growing vegetables, and I want to see which do well (and which don’t).  The area where the bed is sited has pretty good soil already, and it’s been filled with a mixture of topsoil and home made compost.  To make the ‘patchwork’ squares in the bed I’ve put nails in the frame at 1′ (30cm) intervals, and made a grid with garden twine stretched between opposite nails.  That gives me nine squares to plant.  The bed may be small, but it was also quick to make and already has seed sown in some of the squares – rocket, ‘Little Gem’ lettuce and a salad leaf mix.  Through the summer, I’ll be growing peas, French beans and cucumber as well, along with anything else I can fit in.