How to Make Raised Bed Gardening in Australia

how to make raised bed gardening

Raised bed gardening is a fantastic way to grow plants, especially if you’re dealing with poor soil, limited space, or simply want an easier gardening experience. This guide will help you understand the different materials you can use and how to set up your own raised garden beds in Australia.

Why Choose Raised Bed Gardening?

Raised bed gardening has many benefits:

  • Better Soil Control: You can choose the best soil for your plants.
  • Improved Drainage: Raised beds drain water better, preventing waterlogging.
  • Easier Access: Less bending and kneeling, which is easier on your back and knees.
  • Pest Control: Raised beds can help keep some pests at bay.

Choosing the Right Materials

When building your raised garden bed, consider cost, durability, and environmental impact. Here are some popular options in Australia:

1. Hardwood Sleepers

  • Cost: Moderate
  • Durability: High
  • Pros: Easy to use, can be stacked for height, sustainable if sourced correctly.
  • Cons: Avoid using old railway sleepers treated with toxic chemicals.

2. Treated Pine

  • Cost: Low to moderate
  • Durability: Moderate
  • Pros: Lightweight, good for mobile beds on legs or wheels.
  • Cons: Ensure it’s treated with safe chemicals (no arsenic).

3. Steel Sheeting

  • Cost: Can be expensive if bought premade, cheaper if DIY.
  • Durability: High, though it will rust over time.
  • Pros: Great for making tall beds, customisable.
  • Cons: Cover sharp edges for safety.

4. Masonry Beds

  • Cost: High
  • Durability: Very high
  • Pros: Long-lasting and sturdy.
  • Cons: Expensive and mortar can harm plants if not used carefully.

5. Gabion Walls

  • Cost: Low to moderate
  • Durability: High
  • Pros: Strong and environmentally friendly, using recycled rubble.
  • Cons: Labor-intensive to build.

6. Wicking Beds

  • Cost: Variable
  • Durability: High
  • Pros: Save water by drawing it up from below.
  • Cons: More complex to set up.

7. Repurposed Containers

  • Cost: Low (often free if using old items)
  • Durability: Variable
  • Pros: Reuses old items like wheelbarrows or large pots.
  • Cons: Limited space, may need more frequent watering.

Step-by-Step Guide to Building Your Raised Garden Bed

1. Planning Your Garden Bed

  • Location: Pick a sunny spot with good drainage.
  • Size: Make sure it’s narrow enough to reach the middle from both sides (about 1.2 meters wide).

2. Preparing the Site

  • Clear the Area: Remove any grass and weeds.
  • Level the Ground: Ensure the ground is flat.

3. Constructing the Frame

  • Hardwood Sleepers or Treated Pine: Cut to size and secure with screws or brackets.
  • Steel Sheeting: Cut to desired size and secure with steel posts.
  • Masonry Beds: Lay bricks in a double layer and secure with mortar.

4. Filling the Bed

  • Base Layer: Add a layer of gravel or crushed stone for drainage.
  • Soil Mix: Fill with a mix of topsoil, compost, and organic matter.

5. Planting

  • Layout: Plan where each plant will go, considering which plants grow well together.
  • Planting: Plant seeds or seedlings at the right depth and spacing.

6. Maintenance

  • Watering: Keep the soil consistently moist.
  • Weeding: Remove weeds regularly.
  • Fertilising: Add compost or organic fertilisers as needed.

Extra Tips

  • Mulching: Use mulch to help retain moisture and suppress weeds.
  • Pest Control: Use barriers or natural pesticides to protect your plants.
  • Crop Rotation: Change what you plant each year to keep the soil healthy.

Where to Find More Information

For detailed instructions and helpful videos, check out these resources from ABC Gardening Australia:

Raised bed gardening is an excellent way to grow plants, offering better soil control, improved drainage, and easier access. By choosing the right materials and following these simple steps, you can create a productive and enjoyable garden.

Start your raised bed garden today and enjoy the benefits of fresh, home-grown produce!

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