Preparing a raised bed is what something that I really enjoy.
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 replying with, “It’s a process.” This is true and today I’m sharing that process so that you can begin a raised bed using natural ingredients.
Begin with a Container
The first thing you need is a container we can end up planting.
You can build raised beds out of wood or use galvanized containers like the photo above. Landscaping timbers is another possibility and honestly the list goes on because you can even plant vegetables in large ceramic containers.
Make sure whatever you decide it has good drainage even if that means drilling holes in the bottom.
Let add that Bottom Layer
Fall or winter is a great time of year to establish new raised beds. Natural materials are at your finger tips and all the natural materials you gather from yard clean up, well they can also be used to build up a raised bed.
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 that long, 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 the natural waste, so just let it work for you!
Once that first layer is incorporated, cover with two or three inches of dirt, how thick will depend on the size of your container.
Manure for the Second Layer
Once you have a good bottom layer and your looking at a nice layer of soil add a layer of animal manure, like llama or sheep droppings.
This is what I had available from our farm but you could use just about anything. Get manure fertilizer options here.Whatever you have available is fine and cover that with another thick layer of dirt.
The Third Layer Comes From the Kitchen
Just like the firs two layers of ingredients I like to use kitchen waste to fill my raised beds. This is similar to direct composting but were just adding a gracious layer on to the soil, then cover 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. Like at least 6 inches to a foot then let the bed rest for 2 weeks or months prior to planting.
This bed will be one amazing space for new seeds or plants when spring arrives.
If you dirt isn’t the best to begin with check out my Soil Recipe to get the consistency your seeking. You many also like our clay improvement tips as this is based more for container and raised planting.
Now if you don’t want to go to all this trouble then purchase dirt from a nursery in bulk or by packaged bags.
Establishing a raised bed is a matter of incorporating natural ingredients and allowing them to decompose and blend into the soil. When things begin to settle several inches just add more direct compost and cover with more soil.
Set up your beds for spring now so they have all winter to rest.