Any old board

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Juebob
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Any old board

Post: #242608 Juebob
Thu Sep 01, 2011 1:01 pm

I am planning on raised beds on some hardstanding in the garden. Any ideas where I might be able to get old scaffolding boards/railway sleepers or such like? The teeny ones in DIY stores and garden centres are hugely expensive! I've tried freecycle, nothing going there...

I am re-fitting my kitchen soon, could I re-use some the the units with the doors off and laying on their sides? I could then use the remaining doors to make further beds, perhaps.

Thanks for your help!

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MKG
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Re: Any old board

Post: #242669 MKG
Fri Sep 02, 2011 1:16 am

Think about it. If you chucked a ton of soil onto a hard base (say, concrete) it would sit there in a heap for a long time. In fact, you could grow stuff in that heap. The edges of the heap wouldn't be too useful, but the bit in the middle certainly would. As it happens, that's the origin of a raised bed - they used to be simply a heaping of soil to improve drainage and warming. It's only fairly recently that bits of wood have been used to surround them - and, initially, that was so that you could get your beds to align snugly with your paths and allow a good depth of soil at the edges to enable you to plant right up to that edge.

Basically, then, you could use anything at all which would provide you with an edge - housebricks, planks, metal sheeting, logs, rocks, a gazillion other things which would allow you to pile up soil to a greater depth at the edges. All you're doing is providing a containment. So yes - you can use old kitchen units. But they are probably going to rot down fairly quickly, so be prepared to replace your edgings in the next year or two.

I have a couple of one foot deep beds sitting on concrete and edged with general garden rubbish (bits of rock, broken housebrick - anything really) and they serve exceptionally well for salad crops, which tend to be shallow-rooted. And having said that, I have a couple of beds edged with old scaffolding planks which have been in place for two years - and they're rotting too. I also have a railway sleeper bed - and that's happily rotting away. Of course, the reason for the rotting is watering. Even the best-preserved timber isn't designed to ignore the amount of water you'll be applying to your beds.

In a nutshell, then, make your beds out of anything you like, but I wouldn't go looking especially for the standard raised bed materials - that can cost a lot of money and, to be frank, you're not going to gain anything apart from the way raised beds "should" look nowadays.

Mike
The secret of life is to aim below the head (With thanks to MMM)

Juebob
margo - newbie
margo - newbie
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2011 11:44 am
Location: Bedfordshire

Re: Any old board

Post: #243034 Juebob
Sun Sep 04, 2011 7:01 pm

Thanks Mike, I believe you have given me the confidence to go ahead to use the old kitchen units and save sending them to landfill - I may as well get some use out of them before they rot. I am thinking of 'prettying' the area with some low picket fencing as the hardstanding (the base of an old farm building/s) is within my garden and therefore make it more of a potager so can combine the growing of veg with flowers that will hopefully keep bugs at bay - but that is another part of the forum!
Also, thanks for the history of the raised bed, I had wondered how it came about!

Juebob


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