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Assembling a Raised Bed

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Discover how you can create your own back- and plant-friendly raised bed. In a garden, greenhouse, on a terrace, a balcony or a rooftop terrace, a stabile cool frame provides the ideal growth conditions for herbs, vegetables and smaller varieties of fruit. Read here to find out how to create a successfully planned raised bed and which layers to fill your raised bed with.


Layer Up Your Raised Bed

Drainage Layer

Hochbeet befüllen Drainageschicht

The drainage layer makes sure that water cannot accumulate in your raised bed/ cold frame. The first layer consists of shards of clay and large pebbles which continually get smaller.

​​Layer of Soil

Hochbeet befüllen Erdschicht

Soil from your yard or a specialist retailer should be 10-15 cm high and evenly distributed on the drainage layer. The soil supports the decomposition process of the wooden core.

Wooden & Middle Core

Hochbeet befüllen Holz

Remnants from the last shrub trimming, twigs and branches, as well as plant remains build the wooden core. The middle core consists of manure or coarse rotten compost.

Sifted Compost

Hochbeet befüllen Kompost

Finely sifted compost is the last layer which provides your plants with enough nutrients to grow big and strong. You can “top up” this layer if necessary after every harvest.

If you want to cultivate your own raised bed like a professional gardener, remember where and why you would like to use it. The best time to plant a raised bed is in the autumn because of the plant remains and foliage available at the time with which you can fill it.

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The Right Location

You can set up your raised bed wherever there is space in the open or in your greenhouse. In the greenhouse, the raised bed provides the ideal conditions for cultivating seedlings and seeds, and is often used as a cold frame. Additionally, the height creates more space for plants on a smaller surface. The surface on which it stands does not need to consist of fertile potting soil like in the greenhouse, but rather it can be paved, rocky, or simply not suitable for cultivating plants. Urban gardeners in big cities fill the raised beds with green to purify the air and, at the same time, can look forward to their own-grown vegetables, herbs and fruits by cultivating a space-saving bed on their balconies or rooftop terraces.

Consider the Direction

In general, the short sides of the bed are usually facing West and East. The North-South orientation allows the raised bed to fully capture the sun’s rays, making it suitable for the cultivation of most fruit and vegetable varieties.

Choosing Materials for the Raised Bed Construction

The choice of materials is important for the DIY assembly and construction of a raised bed – not just because of the costs. For passionate hobby gardeners, you can buy inexpensive mobile raised beds constructed of high-quality wood which are easily assembled. All you need is a cordless screwdriver and a staple gun.

Bio Green`s Practical Tip: Larch wood is especially suitable for raised beds since larches are durable and slow to rot. We suggest you make a sketch and a list of the materials you need for your raised bed before creating one.

(Individualized) Flexible Modular Design

The assembly of the bed is simple thanks to the modular raised bed construction set made of durable larch wood, which can be extended individually as required. This allows you to freely choose the form and position of the raised bed while assembling it.

The practical flexible modular models are adapted to the customer’s needs: ca. 90 cm is especially comfortable for hobby and professional gardeners who like to work while standing (this is the approximately the height of a normal kitchen countertop). To comfortably work while standing, a trapeze set-up is best since it tapers off towards the bottom, leaving space for your feet. 60 cm is ideal if you like to sit while gardening. The model should not be more than 120 cm wide so that you can reach the center of the bed’s surface without a problem.

If you would like to have a very large raised bed, choose a block which has stabilizing feet on the sides. They are fixed at regular intervals to make sure that the frame is able to withstand the high internal pressure of the heavy soil layers, which you use to fill the raised bed, even in the long term.

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Filling Your Raised Bed – Let the Gardening Begin!

Before you fill your raised bed, you should consider if you would like to use it as a cold frame for ornamental plants or crop plants. Ornamental plants are not as demanding as crop plants, which are dependent on certain nutrients in order to bear fruit.

The Right Order:

  • Drainage Layer (with clay shards and large pebbles)
  • Soil
  • Wooden Core (hedge and tree trimmings, twigs, brings and shrubs, plenty of foliage)
  • Middle Core (manure or coarse compost, preferably with beneficial organisms such as earthworms)
  • Finely sifted compost (alternatively potting or topsoil)

Step-by-Step Instruction

The ideal layering for crop plants should get finer towards the surface and consists of the following components:

Step 1

Drainage Layer

The drainage layer comes first. The tree and wood cuttings, branches the width of an arm, which you collected during the autumn/winter should be coarsely chopped. Fill in the gaps between the large pieces with finer ones (if need be with larger pebbles). In the Windsor raised bed, which is 870 mm tall, this layer should be ca. 30 cm in height. In a shorter bed, it should be proportionally smaller. The drainage keeps excess water from accumulating.

The drainage layer makes sure that water cannot accumulate in your raised bed/ cold frame. The first layer consists of shards of clay and large pebbles which continually get smaller. It should be at least 10 cm high.

Step 2

Mixture/ Soil

On top of the drainage, place a layer of sod or half-decomposed compost, about 15 cm will suffice. Then add ca. 10 cm of foliage, straw, or a mix of both (manure containing straw is also suitable), followed by 35 cm of cultural soil, a mix of topsoil/soil and sifted compost. This mixture can differ, depending on the types of plants you are cultivating. Ornamental plants remain in the bed longer so mix in lava or hydroton. The soil should not be too nutrient rich for Mediterranean herbs. Vegetables need the best soil. Like in a garden, a soil test is also recommended for a raised bed (at least use a quick test to test the pH level).

Alternatively: Distribute soil from the garden or a specialized retailer onto the drainage layer. 10-15 cm is enough as a base for the following layer. The soil helps to support the decomposing process of the wooden core.

Step 3

Wooden Core

When you fill up your raised bed, you have the possibility to recycle your garden waste. Use the remnants from the last bush trimming, twigs and branches, as well as plant remains from vegetables, flowers or shrub cuttings to create the wooden core. Make sure that the individual pieces are no longer than 40 cm. A generous layer of 40 cm or more provides plants with important nutrients over the long run and generates heat during the decomposition process.

A thick layer of foliage, which is easy to gather during the fall, should be used to cover the wooden core. It should be at least three cm high, if possible.

Step 4

Middle Core

A 15-cm layer of (horse) manure or coarse, rotten compost, build the middle core of your cold frame/ raised bed. Beneficial organisms such as earthworms are welcome in this step since they break down the compost and the wooden core, speeding up the rotting process and thus releasing the nutrients important for the plants. If you’d like, you can fill your raised bed, enriching it with natural long-term fertilizer, such as horn shavings.

Step 5

Finely Sifted Compost

Finely sifted compost makes up the last layer. It provides your plants with enough nutrients from the beginning, supporting their growth. You can refill this layer after every harvest, if necessary, before planting new seedlings. If you do not have a garden from which you can take soil or compost, your specialist retailer will have sacks of high-quality soil such as garden, potting or topsoil (topsoil is ideal for crop plants) with which you can fill your raised bed. Get advice about which soil best meets the needs of the plants you would like to cultivate – then nothing will stand in your way of getting started!

The Care and Keeping of Your Raised Bed

The content of your raised bed will decrease by 10 – 15 cm within a year. In the spring, refill the last two layers with garden soil and, if possible, with sifted compost. For five to seven years, the wooden core and middle core will provide your plants with important nutrients; after that, the nutrient content in the soil is exhausted. In this case, remove the content of the bed and create a new raised bed and/or fill the old one with fresh layers.

Ready for your new Gardening Experience? Check our Salespage for Raised Beds or our Online Shop for the perfect equipment and let the gardening begin!

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