Raised bed orientation

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Barry
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Raised bed orientation

Postby Barry » Sun Mar 20, 2016 10:42 am

I have a 250 square metre allotment alligned north south in a huge open area that has sun all day.

I want to put in a series of raised beds. But would you orientate these east-west or north-south? And what is your thinking?
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Re: Raised bed orientation

Postby Pa Snip » Sun Mar 20, 2016 10:58 am

DSC_355806.jpg
DSC_355806.jpg (75.62 KiB) Viewed 1322 times


North is to the right of picture.
unfortunately though the winds tend to come from SW or NE which means the wider sides of the beds are more exposed to wind.
Could be a fundamental error on my part but wont find out yet.

The bad news is that whilst looking at this topic I have just had another idea which would mean fundamental upheaval and change of recent work !!!




ARGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
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Re: Raised bed orientation

Postby Geoff » Sun Mar 20, 2016 7:26 pm

Orientation is a strange thing. The usual advice is that tall crops should run North-South so they create less shade and get light on both sides. I'm not a fan of raised beds but I understand why you are considering them with your soil problems. If you aren't using them for everything and the taller crops will be in level ground I don't think it will make any difference. My beds are 25'x10' and run East-West because my ground slopes that way, making beds the other way would involve complicated terracing. I don't think it affects my growing much; Sweet Peas and Runner Beans are always in the same bed, for example, and both yield well.
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Re: Raised bed orientation

Postby Barry » Sun Mar 20, 2016 7:32 pm

Geoff, just curious to know why you don't like raised beds.

In Kent, most of the soil, other than on the North Downs, which are chalk, we have heavy clay. To get good drainage, you do need raised beds, although these can dry out quickly in summer, which is a pain. Nevertheless, better this than seeing all your crops die of waterlogged conditions in winter.

I am originally from Bedfordshire, where my father's garden was the most beautiful loam; you could grow anything there just by looking at the soil. Raised beds were not necessary at all.
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Re: Raised bed orientation

Postby dan3008 » Sun Mar 20, 2016 8:00 pm

to be honest, I just stick my beds in as they fit... I've got 2 beds at the moment, one running N-S, and one running E-W ... plants seem to work well in both...
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Re: Raised bed orientation

Postby Geoff » Mon Mar 21, 2016 12:09 am

Raised beds to me seem to have become the norm rather than the exception when they are really needed. They are expensive to build when you add structural and filling materials. They are more awkward to dig (I suppose you could say they are supposed to be no dig) and supply with organic matter using a wheelbarrow. You hear of people starting out - "I've built my raised beds, what do I do next?" It seems to me better initially to invest in good tools, soil enrichment, cloches, windbreaks etc. than raised beds. Dig deep and regularly with plenty of organic matter and release clay's natural fertility.
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Re: Raised bed orientation

Postby Pa Snip » Mon Mar 21, 2016 9:11 pm

As those who go through threads will have observed I have spent time over recent months building raised beds. As per the picture on this thread.
Variety of sizes, 900 x 900mm, 1800 x 900mm & 2400 x 900 mm. Depths varying between 225mm, 450mm, 600mm and 900mm

Geoff is right in suggesting they were expensive to make, if I were to compare costs this year against volume of produce the outcome will be on the minus side without question.

Add those costs to the lorry load and tote bag loads of compost, sharp sand and topsoil and you would not recoup the expenditure for years.

Add the cost of the pea support frames I have made recently and it gets even worse.

However, cost is not always the consideration, I don't have loads of money but I was willing to throw some at this.
Because I enjoy it, I am convinced the exercise and satisfaction I get has helped keep me alive into this year when we were told I wouldn't be here for Christmas or new year.

I built the raised beds for my daughters benefit when she takes over my plot, she is registered disabled and they have been built to sizes that will help her.

And finally the biggest reason of all for trying to get my plot how I want it, it will be my monument, I want to be proud of what I leave behind for my family to take over.

These new beds, along with others on the other side of my plot which I made between 2 and 3 years ago are all on a North South aspect.
Last edited by Pa Snip on Mon Mar 21, 2016 11:08 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Raised bed orientation

Postby Pa Snip » Mon Mar 21, 2016 9:16 pm

What I find amusing are those who splash out on commercially available raised beds that are no more than 4 to 6 inches depth. They then assemble them on the plot (so that's what happened to MFI) and then plant them up.

Oh did I mention that the planting is done into the soil that was already there, they don't fill the raised bed with any further soil but do refer to them as their 'raised beds'

D'oh
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Re: Raised bed orientation

Postby peter » Mon Mar 21, 2016 9:51 pm

Pa Snip wrote:What I find amusing are those who splash out on commercially available raised beds that are no more than 4 to 6 inches depth. They then assemble them on the plot (so that's what happened to MFI) and then plant them up.

Oh did I mention that the planting is done into the soil that was already there, they don't fill the raised bed with any further soil but do refer to them as their 'raised beds'

D'oh


Often after asking on site where can you get soil to fill these as the general purpose compost bags don't begin to fill them and then being appalled at the cost of tote bag scans lorry loads.............

As a means of enabling disabled people to garden they are superb, but 99.999999999999% are less than a foot high, which doesn't help a wheelchair user.

Amuses me as well Pa, you have good reasons for yours, too many think it's normal gardening practice and ignore what they're stood on.
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Re: Raised bed orientation

Postby dan3008 » Tue Mar 22, 2016 12:48 am

in honesty, my "raised beds" are about 10" high (128mm) made from some timber I got on the cheap... Mine are more about marking out my paths and growing area's, than anything else. However, they have improved drainage, although that could be because I dug 2' out under the beds, and back filled the whole lot with a compost/sand/top soil mix...
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Re: Raised bed orientation

Postby Pa Snip » Tue Mar 22, 2016 8:35 am

Dan

Your beds must have cost fortune if they are variable height subject to whether they are measured in imperial or metric.
Damn clever though. :D
Is the height change worked by a water pressure lift system

Makes a change for someone to underestimate a Internet measurement :lol: :lol: Think you'll find 10 inches = approx. 250mm

As you say the improved drainage probably has more to do with the good depth you dug rather than the beds themselves. Sounds like a good job done though, to suit your own needs.
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Re: Raised bed orientation

Postby Pa Snip » Tue Mar 22, 2016 8:53 am

peter wrote:
As a means of enabling disabled people to garden they are superb, but 99.999999999999% are less than a foot high, which doesn't help a wheelchair user.

Amuses me as well Pa, you have good reasons for yours, too many think it's normal gardening practice and ignore what they're stood on.


Morning Peter

Quite agree about 99.9% being useless for wheelchair users, but then I don't reckon the bulk of commercial ones are much cop for able bodied users either.
Often no higher than 4 to 6 inches I cannot see what they achieve that is any better than if people were to enhance their normal soil base.

In 2012 one of my neighbouring plots was taken over and the new holders said they wanted to avoid raised beds and have a traditional style allotment.
The plot had one or two raised beds on it which they removed straight away. The soil I would describe as being excellent. It was a well cared for plot that they were lucky enough to take over.

Today their 250sq mt plot is virtually raised beds from front to back.
They are fit and healthy and on the plot most days so health is not the reason for the complete change. I have a feeling it is because many around them have taken the raised bed route, and they have just followed suit, but I'm not going to ask :lol:
Last edited by Pa Snip on Tue Mar 22, 2016 9:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Raised bed orientation

Postby dan3008 » Tue Mar 22, 2016 9:12 am

Pa Snip wrote:Makes a change for someone to underestimate a Internet measurement :lol: :lol: Think you'll find 10 inches = approx. 250mm

... You are right... The beds are 128mm, and for some reason, my asleep brain at nearly 1am decided that was 10" not 5" ... Moral of the story, dont post when tired
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Re: Raised bed orientation

Postby Pa Snip » Tue Mar 22, 2016 9:16 am

Dan

Please don't take it to heart, you know my sense of humour by now.
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Re: Raised bed orientation

Postby dan3008 » Tue Mar 22, 2016 9:51 am

Pa Snip wrote:Dan

Please don't take it to heart, you know my sense of humour by now.

Indeed I do pa. And if id noticed it first id have said the same lol
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