In this post, I will share how to build no-dig raised garden beds. No dig raised beds are a great way for beginners to get started and easier than digging up the ground!
No matter what kind of gardener you are or where you live, there is something for everyone! You don’t have to be an expert gardener either.
I wanted to create raised beds to sit in front of my greenhouse.
In my mind, I want it to look like a mini kitchen garden. My soil is not great, so creating raised beds meant I could get the soil right and have a better chance at growing vegetables.
I used raised bed kits that I purchased online, but you can follow the measurements and cut your very own. They are so simple to make, and you can make these in one afternoon.
Choose a suitable spot in your garden
The first thing I did was pick a good spot in the garden. In my back garden, everything grows better compared to my front garden. I get lots of sunshine and light, so I made sure to pick a spot that got a good amount of sun.
When positioning the raised beds, I made sure to leave enough of a gap between them for walking and mowing the grass.
Down the line, I would love to have some stones in the kitchen garden area, but for now, I have grass.
Gather your wood and tools and create a frame
My raised beds are 6ft X 3ft, and they are 14″ high. Having the raised beds 14″ deep gives me more options for growing, as rooted plants like carrots need more depth.
I purchased the allotment raised bed kits from quickcrop.ie. These kits were easy to assemble and come in various sizes with treated timber. However, you can easily create your very own.
Cut – 4 pieces of 6ft X 7″ wood
Cut – 4 pieces of 3ft X 7″ wood
Cut – 4 14″ pieces of wood for the corners
I screwed the 3ft pieces of wood to the corner posts first, and then I screwed the longer 6ft pieces to the posts.
You can customise the dimensions to suit your garden and growing space.
Lay some cardboard or weed suppressant to the bottom of the raised bed
To kill off the grass, I laid layers of cardboard. As my beds are so deep, I didn’t use a liner or weed fabric.
You can purchase raised bed liners or create your own, but I used cardboard to kill off the grass underneath.
I have seen people laying straw, bark and other organic matter on the bottom of the raised beds. However, I just used cardboard and then layered my soil on top.
I laid the cardboard and allowed it to get wet. It was raining when I made these, so I had help from Mother Nature.
Add soil. What soil to use in your no-dig raised bed?
While topsoil is great at filling your raised bed, it may lack nutrients and is not rich in organic matter, which is why it is important to add compost to the mix.
As I am a raised bed newbie, I wanted to get my soil right. I ordered one tonne of vegetable soil from quickcrop.ie. This soil is 50% screened topsoil, 40% peat-free compost, and 10% horticultural sand to give drainage.
I often see bags of topsoil for free online. However, be careful as some of the topsoils can contain large rocks and items you don’t want in your raised bed. Make sure to sieve the topsoil and add peat-free compost to feed your plants in your no dig garden.
As my beds were deep, I used 1 tonne of vegetable soil to fill the two 6ft raised beds. It was easier to order 1 tonne of soil for home delivery compared to buying bags of compost from my local DIY shop.
Ensure there is enough drainage
When you start gardening, you will often hear the word drainage. Drainage doesn’t just mean adding holes to your pots. Having some sharp sand and stones in your soil will help prevent your plants from having too much water.
One thing I have learned is that plants can rot from having too much moisture. So, now I try to add vermiculite or sharp sand to my compost when planting.
Why is no dig better for the environment?
Billions of fungal threads, nematodes and earthworms are already being helpful right under our feet. We need to help them by not digging the soil so they can continue their work for us. Click here to read more about the no-dig gardening method and how why it is better than digging.
I hope you enjoyed this post and found it helpful in your mission to build a no-dig raised garden bed. Please share this post on social media, and leave a comment below with any questions or thoughts! Make sure to let me know if you have built one of these beds yourself too!