Preparing a raised bed is what I call fun; it gives me the opportunity to watch natural materials work together and for whatever reason I find that energizing.
I’ve been asked many times how to prepare a raised bed and I find myself always starting with, “It’s a process.” This is true and today I’m sharing how to prep a raised bed.
Start with a Container
The first thing you need is something we can eventually plant in. You can build raised beds out of wood, use metal containers like the photo above, landscaping timbers and the list goes on. Make sure whatever you decide to plant in has good drainage even if that means drilling holes in place.
The Bottom Layer
I love this time of year because it’s perfect for establishing a raised bed, even if you don’t plant in it until next spring. Natural materials are at your finger tips and since the yard needs to be cleaned up it’s best to find a use for all those natural blessings.
In the above picture I have dried leaves and pine needles, both are a good option for the bottom layer of your bed. These ingredients will break down and it doesn’t take as long as most think, especially if the bottom of the bed is exposed to the ground.
Other ingredients that make a good bottom layer would be mucked hay, grass clippings and dead plants from your spring planting. There’s no need to waste just let it work for you! Now cover this bottom layer with dirt, how thick will depend on the size of your container.
The Second Layer
The Third Layer
Here I like to bring in my compost from the kitchen. Instead of digging holes like we do for direct composting we’re going to sprinkle the waste over the dirt. Then cover it up with a thick layer of dirt.
If you have room in the container you can repeat the process until you reach the top of your bed. Just make sure you end with a thick layer of dirt. Let the bed rest for 2 weeks or months prior to planting. This bed will be one amazing space for new seeds or plants.
If you dirt isn’t the best to begin with check out my Soil Recipe to get the consistency your seeking. You can purchase dirt from many nurseries by bulk; it’s less expensive and better than soil that has been packaged for you.
Establishing a raised bed is a matter of incorporating natural ingredients and allowing them to work for you. Set up your beds for spring now so they have all winter to rest.