Alice, Garden Design, Gardening, Gardens, Grow Your Own, How To, Planting

Fed up of bending over while you weed, or struggling to grow in poor-quality, claylike soil? A simple raised bed can offer an array of benefits to your garden, and thankfully, they’re not difficult or costly to build. Read on and discover how to build a simple raised bed, and you’ll be reaping the benefits in no time. 

how to build a raised bed

What is a Raised Bed?

A raised bed is a flowerbed or planting space that has been raised above ground level. It functions similarly to a large planter, however, it has no bottom or top; it simply consists of additional soil held in place by wooden plants, concrete blocks, or similar.

Which Plants Can You Grow in Raised Beds?

You can grow almost any type of plant in a raised bed, however, they are particularly useful for vegetables; soft fruits such as strawberries and raspberries; small trees and shrubs; herbaceous perennial cuttings; and ericaceous or lime-hating plants such as heather or rhododendrons. 

Benefits of Raised Beds

  • Reduces the need to bend; great if you have limited mobility
  • Great solution for gardens with limited space
  • Best solution for poor-quality or claylike soil
  • Improves soil drainage which increases soil temperature
  • Longer growing season
  • Option of matching soil to the plant type
  • Deeper soil enhances root health
  • Fewer weeds
  • Keeps plants out of the reach of pets and small children

How to Build a Raised Bed

how to build a raised bed

You will need:

  • Edging material. You can purchase a ready-made raised bed from our range, which will save you time and hassle. If you would rather make your own, material you can use for the edges includes wooden planks, concrete blocks, wattle, or logs
  • Soil, plus organic matter such as compost or manure
  • A garden spade
  • Wooden stakes, nails or screws, and a hammer, if you are using wooden planks or similar for the edging
  • Newspaper or cardboard, if you are setting your raised bed on grass
  • String (optional)
  • Bark chippings, paving, or grass, if you wish to create a path around or between beds
  • A tamper tool, if you are using concrete edging (optional)

Step 1: Mark your edges

The first thing to do is to plan where you are going to place your raised bed (or beds). Raised beds are usually rectangular or square, however feel free to experiment with different shapes as you see fit. Choose a sunny area and mark the edges of where each bed will be using string. Alternatively, if you are using wooden planks, you can use the boards to mark out the edges of the bed. 

Keep your beds below 1.5m (5ft) wide; it is not advisable to stand on the beds so keep the width to something you can reach across. It is also best to keep them less than 4.5m (15ft) long. If you are creating multiple beds, allow at least 60-90cm (2-3ft) for wheelbarrow access. In regards to height, allow at least 25-35cm (10-14in) to accommodate strong roots, although they can be up to waist height to allow maintenance without bending over.

Step 2: Build the sides

Next, you need to fix the sides of your raised bed into place. If you are using a ready-made raised bed, this is pretty straightforward as all you need to do is follow the instructions for easy installation. If you are making one yourself using wood, insert stakes 30-45cm (12-18in) into the ground at the corners, then at least every 1.5m (5ft). Nail the planks to the stakes using nails or screws and a hammer; set the lowest board 5cm (2in) below ground level. 

If you are using concrete blocks, make sure to level the ground beforehand by removing the grass if it is uneven and using a tamper tool if desired. Make sure to place cardboard over any remaining grass under the blocks to prevent it growing into the beds.

Step 3: Prepare the ground

The next stage is to prepare the ground ready to create a raised bed. If you are building your bed over grass, line the bottom with sheets of cardboard or newspaper and wet it thoroughly. Ensure any staples are removed from the cardboard. If you are building the bed directly onto soil, dig the ground deeply, adding as much manure or compost as you can. If your soil is poorly draining, add a layer of course gravel, hardcore, or stones. If your bed is deeper than 50cm (20in) remove the top layer of soil and replace with subsoil, rubble or old inverted turves. 

Step 4: Fill in the soil

The final step to creating your raised bed is to fill your newly-created space with soil. Fill with a mixture of topsoil, compost, and organic matter such as manure, to create a nutrient-rich environment for your plants to grow in. You can adapt the soil to the types of plants you wish to grow, for example filling the beds with acid soil to grow ericaceous (lime-hating) plants. 

Once filled, allow the soil to settle for two weeks before planting. Soil in raised beds can dry out more quickly, so make sure to water frequently. 

Step 5 (optional): Build a garden path

A garden path can improve access and create a tidy look, particularly if you have more than one raised bed in succession. If you desire, you can use bark chippings, paving, or grass to create a path around or in between your raised beds. You can keep the edges tidy using flexible edging if necessary. 

 

Raised beds take a bit of setting up, however they can be done so inexpensively and without a huge amount of time and hassle. Before you know it, your plants will have a great home with improved drainage and quality soil, and you’ll have less bending down to do to reach them!

Looking to use your raised bed to grow vegetables? make sure to check out our guide to how to grow crops.

What are you growing in your raised bed? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram!

Alice, Gardening, Gardens

You’ve planted your bare root trees, mulched your vegetable plot, and you know your hardy annuals from your tender perennials. You’ve experienced the joys of gardening first-hand, from the mental health benefits, to being able to produce your own fresh produce. If you’re outside the stereotypical gardening age bracket, there’s a high chance your peers may not have even considered getting green fingered. So here are some ways you can help others discover gardening, so they can experience the benefits of nature.

how to help others discover gardening

Spread the word

The easiest way of putting gardening on people’s radar is simple: tell them. Tell them about why you enjoy gardening, and the positive benefits you have experienced from getting back to nature. Talking to people about your hobby can also give you the chance to dispel any misconceptions people may have, for example, that you need a huge plot of land to get started. You could also direct people to other useful resources like our blog which provides a wealth of information, education and ideas for your garden.

Guided tour

They say a picture tells a thousand words, so a great way of striking enthusiasm into the hearts of your peers to show them your garden. Whether you have a huge landscaped lawn with a bountiful vegetable plot or simply a few pots on your windowsill, give others a guided tour when they visit your home, so they can see first-hand just how much fun gardening is and the things they can achieve. You can also take some snaps on your phone to show people when out and about. If you’re sharing your works of art to Instagram, make sure you tag us @primrose.co.uk so we can enjoy it too!

Green gifts

Some people may be open to the idea of starting their own garden, but aren’t quite sure where to start. So what better way to help get them going is there than a green gift. You could gift them with some seeds, or perhaps some pots or gardening tools to get their garden started. Our Plant Theory seed kits are a great option because they provide you with everything you need to start growing in a handy tube. Choose from zesty herbs, spicy chillies, purple vegetables, cocktail condiments, or bonsai trees.

Any road up

When people talk of gardening, most of their attention if focused on the traditional back garden. However, if you are fortunate enough to have a front garden that is visible from the road, that can be a great way to get people inspired. Plant a range of beautiful colourful flowers, and make sure to avoid any dense hedging so passers by can see your garden in all its glory. Before long, you’ll be the talk of the town, and people will be making detours past your house just to take a look.

how to help others discover gardening

Vegetable giveaways

If your vegetable patch is abundant, consider spreading the love and giving away your excess crops. Set up a produce stand outside your home, with a sign welcoming passers by to help themselves. Home-grown crops are often tastier than their supermarket-bought counterparts, so letting people taste your harvest can be a great way of inspiring people to start growing their own. It can also give those in need a helping hand.

Perennial joy

If you have perennial plants in your garden, these can be a great way to help new gardeners get started. Plants such as primroses, irises, mint, and chives can be easily divided to propagate new plants. So a great way to spread the joy of gardening is to offer your offshoots to friends, family, and neighbours.

Community gardening

If you’re up for taking on a bigger project, a community garden can be a great way of getting people involved. Community gardens can be great places for people to learn more about gardening, grow their own food, and get to know their neighbours. Contact the local council to help find a location, then engage local schools, groups, and businesses to spread the word. 

Social media is also a great way to spread the word. Make sure to share photos of your garden with us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!

Alice, Bulbs, Gardening, Gardening Year, Gardens, Greenhouses, Grow Your Own, Plants

When the weather turns colder, the last thing you want to do is get outside in the garden. Flowers bloom and vegetables are ready to be planted and harvested during spring and summer, while winter tends to be the quieter season. However, while your plants are dormant, there’s plenty you can be doing this season to prepare your garden. Laying in the groundwork now can ensure a blooming spring, and help you beat the winter blues.

preparing your garden for spring in winter

Clear the soil

As many plants will now be dormant or have finished their life cycle for the year, now is a great time to clear the soil ready for planting new crops next year. Remove leaves and other debris from flower beds, borders, and your vegetable plot to get back to the bare soil; these can be placed in your compost heap if you have one. You can also remove any weeds or large stones ready for new growth.

Position dormant plants

Take the opportunity to get your shrubs and fruit trees all set for spring now they are in their dormant phase. Now is the perfect time to move any plants you would like to reposition as they are much easier to transport without their foliage. Dig a trench around the plant and try to take out as much of the roots as possible before planting it in its new position at the same level it was previously in the soil. It is also the season to plant any new trees and shrubs in their bare root form; at Primrose we have a great selection of bare root fruit trees, roses, and more. Make sure to prune any dormant plants now to promote growth, develop a good shape, and encourage flowers and fruit.

Prepare the soil

Get ahead with your spring planting and get your soil prepared now. Dig in a layer of organic matter such as compost, well-rotted manure, or recycled green waste so it has time to permeate into the soil so by the time spring comes, it will be ripe for planting.

Clean and stock your greenhouse

Now is the perfect time to give your greenhouse a good clean ready for planting seedlings next season. Sweep out any debris from the floor and benches and wash them with a garden disinfectant. Wash the inner and outer walls with a disinfectant or detergent to remove algae, moss, dirt, and grime, and wash out your pots and seed trays to help prevent disease. Now is also a good time to inspect your greenhouse for any damage, replace any broken parts, and stock up on greenhouse accessories. At Primrose, we have a great range of greenhouse accessories including staging, potting tables, ventilation, heaters, and more.

what to do to prepare your garden for spring in winter

Organise your garden shed

On a dry day that’s not too frosty, take the time to sort through your garden shed. Clear it out and recycle anything you no longer need, check security, and organise and clean your tools ready for spring. It’s also a good time to order any new tools, or put them on your wishlist in the run-up to Christmas! At Primrose, we offer a fantastic collection of gardening tools for a range of purposes.

Remove garden pests

Removing hibernating garden pests now will save you a lot of trouble when spring and summer comes. Inspect the crowns of your perennial plants and remove any sheltering slugs, snails, or aphids. Clear last year’s pots of summer bedding and remove any white vine weevil you find.

Plant spring bulbs

Spring-flowering bulbs need to be planted during autumn and winter in order to bloom come spring.  Take the time to plant bulbs such as crocuses, daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, bluebells, and fritillaries before the frost sets in for a glorious display of colour next season. Our collection of flower bulbs and tubers have a wide selection of flora to bring your garden to life.

Install a water butt

Make the most of the winter rainfall by installing a water butt in your garden. Rainwater is the best type of water for your plants, and harvesting rainwater rather than using the mains supply is also great for the environment. Position your water butt underneath a downpipe from your home or shed, or obtain a diverter kit if you have a closed drainpipe.

Plan next year’s plants

As the gardening year comes to a close, now is a great time to reflect on your garden’s performance this year- what worked well, and what didn’t- and start thinking about what you would like to grow next year. At Primrose, we stock a fantastic collection of Mr Fothergill’s seeds, which include high-quality flower, vegetable, and herb seeds to make your garden flourish.

What have you been doing in your garden this season? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

 

 

Gardening, Gardening Year, Gardens, Gary, How To, Plants

Autumn leaves waiting to be raked

The September heat is fading, and Autumn is in full swing. As it gets colder, the trees begin to change and nature becomes gold for a few months. We have put together a list of the essential gardening jobs for October to help you make the most out of the transitional season in your garden.

General 

  • Mulch the borders with compost if not done in the spring to boost the quality of your soil and help it retain water and nutrients during the colder months. 
  • Continue to tidy borders of weeds and leaves. These will become slippery over winter, but will also be harder to remove once the soil freezes.
  • Apply autumn lawn feed. These specialised feeds help to fortify your lawn from frost and icy conditions. 
  • Cut back perennials that have died down. 
  • Renovate old lawns or create new grass areas by laying turf. By doing this now you encourage root growth instead of leaf growth which allows your grass to survive the winter, and cuts down on and mowing in the cold

Animals 

  • Refill Feeders regularly This well help late migratory birds on their way, but also provide a constant food source for wintering birds. See our range of bird feeds here.  
  • Install insect hotels. This is the easiest time of year to find the raw materials you need to build an insect hotel. By doing it now you’ll also have it ready for the Insects try to get away from the cold. 

Plants 

  • Remove fallen leaves from roses to prevent blackspot – a fungal disease that can spread quickly to your whole rosegarden. 
  • Pot up your herbs and take them inside, either to a frost-free greenhouse or windowsill.
  • Move tender plants, including aquatic ones, into a greenhouse or conservatory
  • Bring potted tropical plants inside, including bananas, pineapple lilies (eucomis) and brugmansias.

Produce 

  • Begin planting garlic for a good summer harvest.  
  • Apply fleece to late season crops when frost is forecast
  • Harvest apples, pears, grapes and nuts

Greenhouse

  • Clean out the greenhouse to get rid of debris that can harbor overwintering pests
  • Attach guttering to the greenhouse and install a water butt, to make good use of autumn rain. You can reuse this water elsewhere in the garden, it also discourages water from freezing on the greenhouse
  • Wash greenhouse glazing to let in as much of the weaker autumn daylight as possible. This will keep your plants healthy as well as warm during the cold winter months.

It’s a busy time of the gardening year, but putting in some hard work now will give you great results in spring. Let us know what your up to on social media

 

Gary at PrimroseGary works in the Primrose product loading team, writing product descriptions and other copy. With seven years as a professional chef under his belt, he can usually be found experimenting in the kitchen or sat reading a book.

See all of Gary’s posts.