Sunday, 25 April 2010

Raised beds (.........or giant litter trays?)

Sorry I haven't been around here much.  I had nasty food poisoning last week and then I kind of lost my flow.....

But we are very proud of what we created this weekend.  And it really is a shoestring project (unlike some of my recent posts).  I'll even cost it out for you.

I mentioned here that we were going to build some raised beds, and eventually this weekend our plan came together.  The Queen of Clean had some free wood from work (packaging for electrical cabinets all the way from Minnesota) so there was no excuse.  We decided two rectangles would work best in our little plot (essentially as I couldn't commit to anything more elaborate) and went ahead and built them - one Friday evening and one Saturday morning.

I don't have any pictures of the building and painting as it all got a bit heated - I was accused of poor project management skills by my husband when I announced  Saturday lunchtime that they had to be painted cream (same colour as our playhouse), but I couldn't source any cream paint and was just popping out to get my haircut.  Poor project management skills, I ask you?! Needless to say it all came good in the end - I found cream paint in the fourth shop I visited (and now have nice hair).

We built the little path in between the beds from roof tiles that we found in a corner of our garden when we moved here.  This means we'll be able to access the beds even if the grass is wet.

And this afternoon we planted:

Mange Tout
Dwarf sweetcorn

.........and tried to persuade our kitties that we had not just built them two giant litter trays! Eugh - eventually resorted to green netting across the top, just until they get the message.

Here is a picture of the before (taken end of Feb I think) really was an eyesore this patch of the garden.  A huge heap of rubbish and a neglected apple tree.

And here is the now (complete with netting to discourage kitties). The other side of the beds we have put grass seed down as funds won't stretch to the shed I had planned for. 

As promised the cost for this project:-

Wood = Free
Soil - 9 x huge bags = £36 (could have sourced cheaper than the garden centre I'm sure but blame my poor project management skills!)
Cream paint = 2.5 litre can was £19.98 (but also got enough to repaint my playhouse so am costing this at £10)
Labour = Free (although I did have to make several cups of tea to keep Queen of Clean digging)
Roof tiles for path = Free
Fancy wooden plant labels = 10 for £1.98
Netting = £4.00

Total = £51.96

I must also admit I was extremely stupid and let the kids paint these beds without changing their clothes first, and lost some decent jeans and t-shirts in the process.  But will not include these in the cost tally above! 


  1. Every kid needs painting clothes. I think they still count as play clothes as well. :) I'm so impressed at how lovely your beds look. I don't dare show the hodgepodge of bricks and wood that make up my veggie bed.

  2. Thanks - dare I confess one of the t-shirts was a Mini Boden one. How stupid of me. Have already moved on to rubbish as it pains me too much to look at it!

  3. Highly recommended-- Mel Bartholomew's SQUARE FOOT GARDENING. Check it out on Amazon. Mel divides his boxes into square feet with string so a 4x4 raised bed grows 16 crops-- a full salad. Very clever.

  4. They look great and I hope you'll keep us posted on the progress of your planting. In my head, our garden is something like TV's Alys Fowler's edible garden. In reality I've managed to plant some spuds in tubs and have tomato seedlings in a pot on the kitchen windowledge.

  5. Thanks all for your comments - Deb I will certainly check out that book. Feeling I have run out of space already so sounds like that system may work.

    Love those cupcakes - I love Edible Garden, just spent a blissful 1/2 hour watching this evening. Felt inspired to run out and get pots and compost to sow my sunflowers on the kitchen windowsill. Will be sure to keep you updated on the progress of this little patch.



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