I have been living with food sensitivity for several years now and gradually came to the conclusion that if I wanted to remain healthy I needed to take control and grow and cook more of my own food. This is something I started to do a couple of years ago and part of that process was putting together a vegetable garden.
The only problem was that I am getting on a bit and my garden is tough to dig. It is mainly clay, which is not great for growing most fruit and veg, and is extremely hard to dig.
Fortunately, a friend came up with a solution and that was to build raised beds. Here is how we did it, step by step, so you can do the same.
Make the bases
The first job is to make the bases. Effectively you are building a big box (without the floor) that will contain the soil. How high you want the sides of the box to be will determine how deep your soil is.
We did not want really deep beds, so we ended up using railway sleepers turned on their edges to build our beds. This type of wood is ideal for a job like this.
The weight of the soil puts a lot of pressure on the sides of the beds. Once the soil gets wet, it becomes even heavier. As a result, the sides need to be strong, so railway sleepers are perfect. Gravel boards also work well.
Before building the bed dig over the soil. This sounds counter intuitive, but it is an important step, so do not skip it.
To make the sides you need to use posts. The posts sit just wide enough apart to hold the wood in place. It is very important that the bed is straight and the posts are evenly spaced. Do not scrimp on the posts if you do that the sides will bow and the soil will spill out. Ideally, you want to use pieces of wood that are long enough to make up the entire sides. This means there are no joins, so there are no weak points.
Preparing the bed
It is wise to line the sides with a thick plastic. This will help to slow down the rotting process allowing you to carry on enjoying the bed for decades to come.
Once you are sure that the bed has been securely built it is time to fill it with soil. The type of soil you plan to use depends on the kind of plants you want to grow. It is important to use good quality top soil with the right balance of acid and alkaline for the kind of plants you are planning to grow.
Let the soil settle for a couple of weeks, then plant your bed out and enjoy fresh fruit and vegetables.
It really is as simple as that. Growing your own food will really help you to stay in control of what you eat and help you to overcome your food sensitivities.