Allotment Diary Composting Leafmould

Preparing raised beds

At the top the plot I’ve got some raised beds where I plan to grow some gooseberry plants and I thought I’d go over how I have recently prepared the raised beds.

I was lucky enough to have been given these empty crates which are just over 60cm in height and just a gnat’s under a meter in length.

For months, they were setting at the back of the plot and I didn’t know what to do with them, until I started rebuilding the plot to make life easier – and I had the idea to line them all up and use them as raised beds.

I’d highly recommend using crates for raised beds or as composters, mainly because they’re built and ready to go.

September 2018

Plastic lining

I’ve been using weed control fabric to keep the weeds down on the areas of the plot that isn’t seeing much turning over as I work my way toward the end of the plot.

Using the fabric has been invaluable when it comes to working the plot as it’s saved me from doing so much weeding.

The crates sit on top of the plastic lining to stop the weeds from coming up from underneath and growing around those are to reach areas.

The slats of the crates are spaced apart, so it’s necessary to line the inside of the crates so that the material doesn’t fall out of the sides. I used a staple gun to keep plastic sheeting stuck to the sides of the crates.

It’s best to line the inside of the crate rather than the outside of the crate as this will stop/reduce the wood from rotting away.

Dead leaves

I want my raise beds to have good drainage and remain rich in compostable material, mainly for the benefit of whatever is growing in them – so I added some dead leaves that had stored at the back of the plot.

When I say “stored” – what I really mean is, that these were leaves I hadn’t got around to sweeping up since the end of the winter.

Dead leaves are great source of nutrition for any garden and a great way of keeping up water retention for root growth.


To complete the mix, I topped the crates up with some well rotted compost.

This crate had been sitting on the plot for long than it should and I’m fairly confident that the material inside is well and truly ready for use.

I didn’t feel the need to sift the compost this time around – mainly because of time and because the material, in this particular batch is fine enough.

All in all, for each crate there’s about 3-4 inches of leaves followed by about 4-5 inches of compost – making that a good balance of material.

And there we have it – I hope that was useful. 🙂

4 replies on “Preparing raised beds”

I don’t have any handy crates but the plot came with two old water tanks. In the first year it was where all the weeds from turning over the plot went. They rotted down and then I topped them up with a load of wood chip and finally some compost! We grow squash in them up an arch and works really well!

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