Ideal size and shape for a veggi bed.

Discussion in 'Edible Gardening' started by BigBaddad, May 28, 2008.

  1. BigBaddad

    BigBaddad Gardener

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    Lucky for me i'll have a good size kitchen garden once my house is built....south facing with a wall on the north side. about 16 ft deep and 50ft wide (not measured just guessed for now).

    I'm a newbie. I was thinking of having several 4ft raised beds (I hear that these are good)with 2-3ft paving in between each. Is this a good idea and how high should I have the beds.
     
  2. moyra

    moyra A knackered Veteran Gardener

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    I would say incredibly lucky for you. Ideal manageable beds with easy access. The world's your oyster. Should be fun setting them up. And there's me have to lay another 5 x 70cl compost bags down to give myself some more veg planting area. Lol. Just as well I am content with my lot.:) Wish I could be just as content with the weather!:(
     
  3. Prastio

    Prastio Gardener

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    Probably stating the obvious....but in planning your raised beds and paving remember to get a slope so that the rain can run off or you might end up with canals between your planting areas! Also, Sods Law dictates that fallen leaves will form piles against your raised beds. However well you plan, you will end up with at least one "leaf trap area". If you have the time and patience, it could be worth first laying out your (empty) beds without mortaring your bricks so you can get an idea of what unforeseen consequences there might be from your design. Sounds as though you have the potential for a superb plot!
     
  4. BigBaddad

    BigBaddad Gardener

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    Just measured my potential veggi plot and it's 52ft long and I'll make it 18ft deep. I was thinking of a number of raised beds 4ft X 12ft with a 2ft path in between. I'll have room for 3 compost heaps, tool/potting shed a small greenhouse and a 52ft bed running along a nice south facing wall for fruit growing. It will have 6ft fencing at either end but on the southern boundry a very low fence as my garden backs on to a field. There are no trees to worry about other than those that I plant.

    I've just started a big compost heap (getting bags and bags of free horse pooh from a woman at work) so that once my house is built I'll have some good stuff to dig in. My house should be built mid autumn, wall at the back of the plot a short time later, then I'm hoping to have my veggi garden pretty much finished for the start of next year, so I can start growing.

    But i've not had my question answered yet, how high should I make my raised beds? I was thinking about 1ft?
     
  5. moyra

    moyra A knackered Veteran Gardener

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    Yes BigBaddad, 1ft would be ideal. While putting in those slightly sloping concrete paths between the beds why not have small gullies either side next to the walls of the plot sections to help carry excess rain away. You have the advantage now of working this all out and making sure you do not end up with any latent defects in your design. So in essence you should end up with the 'perfect' working vegetable garden. I like the provision of the growing wall for fruit - a must in such a scheme.
     
  6. BigBaddad

    BigBaddad Gardener

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    Thanks for the advice. I'll put in some proper drainage gullies and feed them into a soakaway.

    I may end up with the perfect veggi garden, but that doen't mean my veggi's will be perfect.
     
  7. Claire75

    Claire75 Gardener

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    It sounds great! I'm green with envy... I have a picture in my head of your new plot and it's looking great (and the veg are fabulous, don't worry!)

    My two penn'orth, for what it's worth - when planning the beds, to have multiples of four beds to make crop rotation easy. Of course this depends whether you want to be that fussy about rotation, or just move stuff around - and if you do want to do rotation, how many "ways" you want to do it (I use four way, but I've heard of three way and various other combinations). The rotation thing makes sense to me, because it makes it easy to make sure you only get the same crop in each area every fourth (or however many) year, and because you can plant things together that like the same conditions, and the conditions created by growing one set of crops one year provide the right conditions for something else the next year. However, i've not yet been growing crops for long enough in one place to see how well it works!

    My "raised" beds aren't really raised much at all so I don't get all the benefits of warmer soil and better drainage, but I do still get defined areas that never get walked on and have great soil, and are a doddle to tidy over between crops - so I think the ideal height of beds would depend a lot on your local conditions.

    PS - I'm sure you've thought of this - but it's worth thinking about how the sun moves over your plot when planning the orientation of beds, both to try and avoid the crops shading each other and to balance amounts of shade and sun on sets of beds, again if you're rotating crops, and to make suitable use of the brightest and shadiest areas. I slipped up a bit when doing my garden, on this subject...

    Caroline foley's allotment handbook has a section on planning that I found really helpful btw, if you want more advice. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Allotment-H...=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1212143813&sr=1-1
     
  8. BigBaddad

    BigBaddad Gardener

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    18ft east side, 52ft south side, 18ft west side and 52ft north side with wall.

    I was going to arrange my beds 12ft x 4ft with the longest side on the east an west. So they should all get even sunshine.

    I live in Norfolk so the site is flat and the climate quite mild. I was thinking of 6 beds. And I will rotate the crops. Perhaps I may have other small beds for things like rhubarb and horseradish and other perenial herbs and stuff.
     
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