Raise a Kitchen Garden:
The initial effort required to build a raised garden is handsomely rewarded once it is up and running – it makes growing vegetables and herbs a very organised and easy undertaking. Other advantages include: You have full control over the condition of the soil you use in the beds, in areas with poor soil this is an especially significant advantage. You can make sure the drainage is good. In spring the soil in a raised bed will warm up sooner than the surrounding ground, which extends the growing season for herbs and vegetables. Raised beds make gardening much easier for handicapped gardeners, and those with back problems. The growth of plants like mint, which tend to take over areas if not constantly monitored, is easier to control in a contained environment like a raised bed. The Gardener team chose a traditional formal design for this DIY raised kitchen garden, which we built close to the kitchen door to ensure that it is easily accessible when meals are being planned. This is how to do it; of course, the quantities given will vary according to the size of the beds you build.
What you need: 240 concrete blocks (M140) 3 rolls brickforce (reinforcing wire) 1 m3 concrete stone 1 m3 river sand 1 m3 builders’ sand 1 m3 plaster sand 8 bags cement 15 litres abe Brixeal® (brickwork waterproof coating) 15 litres Africote Textured Naturals
Preparation: Clear the area and make sure it is level before beginning. Mark out the pattern with builders’ line and wooden pegs (we used the pattern shown to the right).
Foundations: Excavate channels for the foundations of the walls of each bed. Make the channels 250mm wide x 200mm deep. Make a mix of 4 parts stone, 2 parts river sand, 1 part cement and water, and lay the foundations. Leave them to dry for 4 days.
Building: When the foundations are dry, build the walls using blocks, cement and brickforce. Use a ratio of 6 parts building sand to 1part cement, plus water, to cement the blocks together. Lay 3 courses of blocks, with brickforce in between each course. Use a spirit level, and ensure that each course is level.