I have to say, I didn’t really consider not having raised beds for my cut flower patch. It’s funny really as I grew up playing in my parents garden and grandparents allotment which consisted of shaped flower beds and big rectangular vegetable patches level with the ground. I remember watching my parents digging the beds to remove the weeds and loosen up the soil, and I also remember being put to work myself as I got older!
Today though, it’s raised beds that I see everywhere. Yes, probably because I’m looking, but be it an urban farm, community garden, or just people’s front yards, the raised bed seems to be a popular option.
For me they just seem less daunting and more organized! Having raised beds will hopefully also allow me to ‘make’ the soil myself. It doesn’t take much North Vancouver rain to turn our lawn, where the beds will be going, into a swimming pool! And the soil in the beds I do currently have always seems be heavy, compact and waterlogged. I’m hoping that having raised beds will allow me to create a soil more suitable for cut flower growing (more on that later).
Another bonus of raised beds is the ability to arrange them so you don’t have to tread on the soil and can reach easily all around them. Georgie Newbery’s book The Flower Farmers Year (see my resources page for more details) has a great section on the advantages of raised beds and also describes how to make them.
As for me making them, well, this did not happen! With two young kids and my husband already having a to do list as long as his arm, we decided on buying the beds ready-made. We were lucky to find a guy selling some on Craigslist who lived out in Maple Ridge. He had made a huge batch of them last summer out of off cuts of cedar from a local mill and we took his last 8 for $300. Despite being 3 different sizes, they actually suit the space we have really well. Not only that, I was looking for cedar beds as the wood is untreated and long-lasting.
It made it even better when we all turned up to this guys house in Maple Ridge to find it on a beautiful lot with his red barn workshop, ducks, a raised bed veggie patch, compost wormery, and a very lovely and knowledgable man to show us around! Were they value for money? Will they weather the test of time? Who knows….the fact they came from such a great place was enough for me.
When we got home we decided on a few extra screws and some cedar reinforcements to prevent any warping (as I don’t think they are the thickest beds i’ve ever seen).
Next step will be taking them into the back yard and putting them into place.