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Raised Bed Revamp

One of the first things I did after we moved here was to build some raised beds. The walled vegetable garden was completely overgrown and over-shadowed by a privet hedge grown to 30 feet and a large ash tree. The field plot looked favourite for growing anyway, better light levels for a start.

Overgrown Privet Hedge

Overgrown Privet Hedge to the side of the vegetable plot and friend with chain saw

Initially I thought to just follow traditional advice and double dig an area to start but the soil in the field has so many rocks and stones that digging is a nightmare task here. The spade goes in a couple of inches, hits a rock and stops.

So, move on to plan B and build some raised beds. I’d hoped to buy some second hand scaffolding boards but the local scaffolding firms either didn’t have any or refused to sell them in case I used them for scaffolding!

In the end I bought tanalised planks etc. from the local builders merchants and constructed raised beds from those. We had a lot on our plate when we moved with renovating the house, greenhouses and life so it was actually June 2013 before the first proper raised beds were built and filled with a soil and compost mix. 8 years on and the beds are beginning to fall apart as the wood is rotting.

Raised Beds in Field

The first raised beds going in back in 2013

Recycled Plastic Raised Beds

British Recycled Plastic Raised Beds ready to plant in June 2020

Fast forward to June last year (2020) and British Recycled Plastics kindly sent me a couple of their raised bed kits. I’ve reviewed their recycled plastic raised beds and garden bench on the site here.

Well a couple of weeks ago the boss of the company popped over with his daughter to see how I was getting on and what I thought about them. They actually filmed our chat and I expect it will be on YouTube eventually.

It’s been a long time since I made a video and I must admit I was a bit nervous. I’m not exactly Tom Cruise! Happily the lens on the camera didn’t crack and they seemed satisfied.

The plan now is to replace the rotting wooden beds with recycled plastic ones. Rather than buying kits, I’m thinking to construct from scratch using the recycled plastic lumber planks and posts.

Drawbacks & Benefits

There is a drawback to using recycled plastic raised beds. The materials are more expensive than wood. They’re heavier too and this means increased transport costs, which adds to the price.

The main benefit to the grower is that the job only has to be done once. Materials are guaranteed for 25 years but British Recycled Plastics reckon their life will be 100 years. That’s long enough for me!

There is another benefit in that tanalised timber may leach chemicals into the environment although I don’t know if that is significant. I do know the plastic won’t. However, the huge environmental benefit has to be taking single use waste plastic and converting it into a permanent useful material.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary

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