Ask Adam

Ask Adam #13: Filling a raised bed

Kav from Scotland has written in with the following question regarding some new raised beds:

I’m filling our raised beds and wondered what you suggest we fill them with? (They will be used for vegetables). I’ve read conflicting information about rocks, branches and gravel! Our raised beds are on top of soil – we dug out all the grass.

Kav, Scotland

Those beds look lovely and deep, and I’d say from the get go, you can get away with putting in hefty degradable material like logs, leaf mould, grass cuttings and food scraps, from the first board and a half upward.

I actually have a bed like this, but I haven’t documented what I’ve done with it on the blog.

This particular bed, I’ve treated essentially like a compost bin. I’ve thrown in logs, a dead old rose bush, chopped up brambles, leaves, old turf and I top it off with with grass cuttings, which I plant directly into, and it seems to work great.

I think an old chopped up Christmas tree has even gone in at some point.

Now, unbeknown to me at the time, I was actually practicing a form of Hügelkultur.

Hügelkultur is a horticultural technique where a mound constructed from decaying wood debris and other compostable biomass plant materials is later (or immediately) planted as a raised bed.

Wikipedia –

Mark from Self Sufficient Me has this great video on how to start a raised bed in the Hügelkultur style, so I’d recommend that this is definitely worth a watch.

I think using things that are bulkier toward the base of the bed will also help with filling it up in a decent space of time. Also, when the season is winding down, whatever dies off can be dug back into the bed, refilling it – making life just that little bit easier.

I hope that’s useful and I can’t wait to see what’s grown in the raised beds 🙂

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