I recently posted about no dig raised beds on my new allotment and decided to post about how to go about making them. I used wooden scaffold boards because they’re a decent depth but any scrap timber will do.
Measure the area where the bed will go and cut your timber to size, screw each corner together to make a basic frame. Most of my beds are 4ft or 5 ft wide which is perfect for reaching into the middle to weed.
You can use corner posts (2×2 timber hammered into the ground as above) to secure or anchor your raised bed but it’s not usually necessary for smaller beds, however you may wish to do this for beds which are on uneven ground, or use posts to connect lengths of timber together for long beds that are going to receive a large volume of soil.
If your raised bed is being sited on top of lawn there’s no need to dig or remove turf, simply cover the ground inside the raised bed with cardboard to kill lawn or weeds by excluding light, each piece overlapping the other to prevent grass growing through gaps. Tuck it underneath the frame so that it’s just showing on the outside, this prevents lawn coming through on the inside edges of the raised bed. The cardboard will rot down naturally over time.
Then comes the exciting bit, filling it with compost! I used our own homemade compost which has been rotting down for almost 2 years. Dark, earthy and full of worms.
Treading the compost between each barrow load helps to firm it and you’ll get lots more compost in if you do. Compost doesn’t compact so it’s perfectly fine. Go on, have a little dance on your allotment!
Ta da! Here it is finished and ready for planting! Practically no skills needed and low in cost if you have materials and homemade compost to hand, otherwise it can be a tad expensive to set up.
Have a go at making one yourself! It doesn’t need to be as large as mine and you don’t necessarily need to use wood, lengths of plastic or even bricks will work. You can of course have no dig beds without the need to raise them, just cover the ground with cardboard then add a thick layer of compost on top. The key to no dig is keeping on top of weeding, pull weeds by hand when small or use a hoe to prevent them becoming established. Mulch with fresh compost every year if you can to keep the soil clean and revitalised, no need to dig it in just apply to the surface and worms will do the job for you.