When planning for raised bed gardening your raised beds can be built out of any suitable material that will give you the desired depth. For most vegetables, you won't need anything more than 6 inches in depth. You can use house bricks, concrete blocks, sleepers, treated pine logs, shutter board or even discarded, hard plastic paddling pools, old sinks or even a cut down corrugated water tank. There are also options where you can buy purpose built corrugated raised beds and wooden raised beds from gardening shops and outlets which are more expensive.
Another option in raised bed gardening is to outline to bed in large rocks and fill the center with soil. When the soil has reached the top of the rocks, then add another layer of rocks and fill the soil in to the top of the second layer of rocks. Make sure that the second row of rocks is placed just a little way in from your foundation level so as to minimize soil erosion when it rains, especially when the beds are still new and the plants haven't taken root yet.
As mentioned before, a raised bed built to a depth of 30cm is more than enough for root crops, including carrots and parsnips. For leaf crops you can get away with 15 cm. Your raised bed garden can also be built to waist height for those people who not only find it difficult to dig, but also find it difficult to bend.
The width of the raised bed will be determined by what is comfortable for you, as periodically, you will have to get in there to weed and harvest your crops. 120cm in width, or 4 feet, as long as you can access it from both sides, is ideal. If you can only access it from one side, then shorten it to that of an arm's length. The length of the bed is up to you.
The spaces left between the beds is comfortable at 45cm unless you need to push a wheelbarrow between the beds, then you will have to double it. But if you can, leave the space at 45cm, and find an alternative route for the barrow.
At 100mm spacings, on the other hand, individual bulbs will be a lot smaller, but total yields will be higher. Smaller bulbs will store for longer periods and are often more useful.
However, spacings between plants in raised bed gardening has to be practical. If large spaces are allowed the vegetables will never fill those spaces and this will be a waste of space. If planted too close together the plants will choke each other, and there will be little of the vegetable that is big enough to eat.
BROAD BEANS (tall) 150-225 mm
BROAD BEANS (dwarf) 225-300 mm
BEANS (bush) 225-300 mm
BEETROOT 75-100 mm
Brussels SPROUTS 500-700 mm
CABBAGE (small) 250 mm
CABBAGE (large) 450-600 mm
CAULIFLOWER (small) 250 mm
CAULIFLOWER (large) 450-600 mm
CARROT 75-100 mm
CELERY 250 mm
CUCUMBER 600 mm
LEEK 75-225 mm
LETTUCE 225 mm
ONION (spring) 25 mm
ONION (keeping) 100-150 mm
PARSNIPS 75-150 mm
PEAS 75-100 mm
POTATOES (early) 225 mm
POTATOES (main crop) 300 mm
CORN 375 mm
TOMATOES (staked) 600 mm
TOMATOES (bush) 450 mm
For vegetables that are widely spaced inter-crop with fast growing vegetables such as radishes, spring onions, rocket and some lettuces. Check our page on companion planting to see which crops can be grown together. Early potatoes grown between rows of raspberries for example are not an ideal marriage.
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