raised beds are great for growing any kind of plant and for any gardener – easily accessible, always well drained, and most important of all: recommended by everybody, from Bill Mollison, through Sepp Holzer (in his Permaculture), and all the way to Toby Hemenway (in his excellent, must-read Gaia’s Garden). building them can be as hard, large-scale and energy consuming as Holzer’s hugelkultur or, luckily, as simple, small-scale and fun as what i’m about to show you. the same method can, of course, be scaled up to whichever size you want (it’s harder to take a method requiring the use of bulldozers and scale it down to a size relevant to, let’s say, a backyard gardener).
well enough with the talking. let’s get on with the pictures :)
what you’ll need:
- 4 wooden boards, at least 2 cm thick, as long as you want the edges of your bed to be, and at least 40 cm wide (their width will be the height of your bed’s frame)
- 8 metal angle joints, screws to secure them to the wooden boards, and tools to screw those with
- a heap of manure (large enough to fill the frame)
- a whole lot of leaves
you start of with some wooden boards. i used the opportunity to repurpose some old window shutters we replaced.
get your angle joints and screw. make sure you have enough screws and a way to screw them in :)
lay one board down with the outer face to the floor. take another board, use it to mark where you’ll screw the angle joints in, and attach them with screws.
once you have one corner, you can flip the half-built frame on its side, so it sits like it once it’s built (bottom down). this way it’s easy to make the other corners.
the finished frame should look something like this.
take your frame to where you want your new bed to be.
put some dead wood, brances etc. on the bottom (à la Sepp Holzer).
fill the frame with juicy manure.
top it all of with a thick layer of leaves.
and there you have it, your new bed is built!
now it’s just a matter of patience, as you’ll need to wait for the manure to decompose and become delicious humus. or, alternatively, you could just fill your raised bed with planting soil or any other substrate.