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Raised Bed: Construction | How to Build Raised Beds and Make Them Slug-proof

How lovely it is to have raised beds in the garden – until the first slugs and snails arrive on the scene.

Below, I introduce ways in which to secure raised beds against slugs.

You will also find out everything you need to know about raised garden beds.

Raised bed tips and tricks:

  • slug-proof raised beds
  • ideas for materials
  • optimal location
  • filling mixture
  • planting ideas.
raised bed individual football
Create individual raised beds with slug and snail protection.

Snail and Slug Control for Raised Beds

Slugs and snails love many of the plants that are typically cultivated in raised beds.

This is why they usually find their way into these beds.

Specific barriers can be added to the design to block access to the beds; for example, a slug fence.

 

Home-made raised bed with slug fence: Check prices on Amazon.

Their curved edge prevents slugs and snails from climbing over.

This is the safest way to keep snails permanently out of raised beds.

I conducted a slug fence test to make sure that these types of barriers work as promised by their manufacturers.

Alternatively, you could use copper to secure raised beds.

Copper MeshCopper Foil Tape
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Copper deters most snails and slugs, but it is not one hundred percent slug-proof.

I also tested how copper works against slugs and snails.

In addition, you could secure raised beds with the help of the slug-repelling coating, ‘Schnexagon’.

Although you have to renew the coating from time to time, it is remarkably effective.

Click on the image leads to a info on Amazon. Or find the product on eBay.

The transparent coating is based on organic oils and soaps.

To make sure it works, I also tested the effectiveness of Schnexagon as a slug-deterring paint.

You could also build an electric slug fence if you have sufficient manual dexterity.

Click on the link to read an overview of slug barriers.

Some manufacturers offer finished raised bed kits with integrated mechanical slug protection.

Unfortunately, they are not cheap.

Here you see a professional slug-proof raised bed kit:

Slug-proof raised bed: Check prices on Amazon.

Protect individual plants:

Large Garden ClochesDurable protective ring
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advantages strengths of this slug controlAdvantages of Raised Bed

Rich yields are guaranteed because in a raised bed your plants find optimal conditions.

In a raised bed, the soil is full of nutrients and fertilization is unnecessary.

This saves time and money; you can expect yields of up to three times higher.

The composting process that takes place in the bed means the plants get heat from the inside.

This means you can use the bed in early spring and the plants will always be one step ahead of those on the ground.

Nearly all plants love the extra heat and grow faster.

If your raised bed has a cold frame, it can often be planted even throughout the winter, and you hardly ever need to worry about frost.

Waste can be used wisely during construction. You can use almost all the debris that accumulates in the garden: foliage, grass clippings, branches, and even thick logs.

Raised bed radio urban gardening
A raised bed built into an old radio.

Being able to use different soil in a raised bed is a significant advantage, especially if the local soil is sandy. Since you choose the soil for a raised bed, you are free from unfavorable local conditions.

For many people, the most wonderful thing about a raised bed is that you do not have to bend over.

You can work comfortably in a standing or sitting position. This makes the bed easy to care for and it becomes effortless to harvest.

One particular advantage is that raised beds are easier to protect against slugs and snails than those on the ground.

Finally, raised beds look beautiful in the garden; this will make you enjoy gardening even more.

Disadvantages weaknesses of this slug controlDisadvantages

One problem is that raised beds can dry out. Because of the heat inside, a lot of water can evaporate in the summer sun.

For this reason, you should water raised beds regularly, and it is important to think about irrigation during the planning stages.

You will need to refill raised beds with fresh compost from time to time.

Every five to seven years, you should renew the filling completely.

After this time, the composting process inside the bed is complete, meaning the inner heat source has run out.

However, when you take out the filling, you suddenly have plenty of ripe compost to fertilize your garden.

Finally, raised beds are a haven for voles.

If you have voles in your area, you need to protect your bed during construction by putting mesh on the ground.

This means that voles will not be able to enter the bed from below and make themselves a home inside.

What to Consider Before Building a Raised Bed

There are a few things to bear in mind, whether you decide to buy a ready-made kit or design your own raised bed.

These include finding the appropriate location and position, and thinking about the materials you want to use and the shape you want.

Finally, there are a few things to think about when filling the bed and choosing appropriate plants.

raised bed for gardening
Choosing the right place is crucial.

What Does the Perfect Place Look Like?

It is helpful if the area for the raised bed is as level as possible, so you can save yourself work.

The area should get as much sun as possible. If the bed is placed in the shade, many plants will not be able to thrive, despite the fertile soil. Only in the midday heat is a little shade advantageous.

A solid surface is essential because the bed has a lot of weight. On unstable ground, it could sink in and break over time.

It is better when raised beds are easily accessible from all sides and all points are within easy reach.

It is also a good idea to have an irrigation facility nearby.

You might even consider scheduling an irrigation system right from the start.

It is advantageous if you can align the bed in a north–south direction because then all plants will get a lot of sunshine and cast shadows on each other only minimally.

Which Materials Are Suitable?

When choosing building materials, gardeners can be quite creative.

Everything the soil can hold safely over five years is an option. Traditional materials are wood and stone.

Wood is usually cheaper and looks more attractive; stone is more stable and durable.

If you use wood, it is helpful to protect it against moisture from the inside with a raised bed liner.

It can then last for five to seven years, by which time the bed will need to be renewed anyway.

Raised bed liner: Check prices on Amazon.

Examples of hardwoods suitable for raised beds are Robinia, Douglas fir, and larch.

Treatment with wood preservatives other than natural oils is best avoided, as these contain chemicals that could end up in your food.

If you like stones, try to use local materials if possible.

You can, for example, use fieldstones, which look nice but can be quite complicated to use.

Another problem with stones is that if you build the bed and create a lot of holes and cavities around it, snails and slugs will love it.

They will hide there during the day and feast on your plants at night.

The same can happen if you use bricks or gabion baskets:

Gabion Raised Bed: Check prices on Amazon.

You could also use barrels, tubs, and water tanks.

Also, old wooden pallets or sticks and boards can be upcycled to become raised beds.

There are no limits to your creativity.

I have seen beds made of logs; even the inside of an old boat has been rigged up.

As in the picture above, you could also build a network of thin branches together with a planter liner.

raised bed garden plants slug snail
The higher your bed, the more heat it can generate from the inside.

What Are the Best Heights, Widths, and Shapes for a Raised Bed?

Heights usually range from 10 inches (25cm) to 50 inches (1.25m), depending on the purpose of the bed and the height at which you want to work.

The usual height is between 30 and 40 inches (75–100 cm).

Regarding width, it is crucial that you can reach all spots without any problems.

It also depends on the people who tend the raised bed. Take about twice the arm length as the width.

This usually leads to about a 50-inch width (1.25 meters).

The most common shape for a raised bed is rectangular, although squares, circles, U- and L-shapes are sometimes seen.

Oval and spiral shapes are rare as they are more challenging to build, and you cannot reach all places equally well.

After securing the bottom against voles with wire mesh, put fresh plant material in; this will later generate heat.

Vole barrier for raised beds: Check prices on Amazon.

Filling a Raised Bed: Nine Layers

1. Down at the bottom: rough, untreated, thick pieces of wood that decompose very slowly.

2. Thinner branches and twigs.

3. Foliage, straw and grass clippings, kitchen and garden waste that you no longer need.

4. If you have removed sods or turfs, place them ‘upside down’ on top of layer three.

5. Use tiny pieces of wood such as wood chips or bark mulch.

6. Manure (for example, horse manure).

7. Coarse compost soil that is not yet ripe, mixed with garden earth, is best as it contains many beneficial earthworms.

8. Fine mature compost as a breeding ground.

9. Finally, topsoil, garden soil, black soil. Use a high-quality potting mix if you plant directly into the bed.

For a kitchen herb area, it is better to use specialized soil as many herbs do not thrive on nutrient-rich soil.

In the herb corner, you could also just mix in silica sand.

raised bed wood homemade slug
Almost all plants love raised beds.

Choosing the Right Plants

You can plant almost anything you like into raised beds because the conditions are optimal.

Choose plants that need rich soil and mix some sand in the top layer in the spots where you choose to put herbs and other plants that prefer sandy/lean soils.

You can put your plants closer together than normal because during the first years especially there is an overabundance of nutrients.

However, the plants will cast shadows on each other.

You should, therefore, put bigger plants on the north side of the bed and smaller ones on the south side.

In raised beds, it is also useful to pay attention to the rules that apply to all garden beds.

Place plants that tolerate and supplement each other close to one another.

pile of leaves cat
Use autumn leaves to fill your raised bed.

When Is the Best Time to Set Up a Raised Bed?

The best time is from late autumn until early spring.

Spring and autumn are optimal times because a lot of material, such as leaves, branches, and twigs, accumulates in the garden, and you can use it for the filling.

You can even do this in winter if temperatures allow.

Of course, you can also do it in summer if you find you have enough material to fill the bed.

Buying Raised Beds

If you want to buy a raised bed kit, there is a large selection of products to choose from: you will find wooden, metal, plastic and gabion kits.

Raised Beds Made of Wood

Infinite Cedar Raised Garden BedElevated Garden Planter
Check prices on AmazonCheck prices on Amazon

Durable Raised Beds Made of Metal

Metal Raised Garden Bed KitElevated Planter Box, Raised Garden Bed Metal
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Raised Beds Made of Plastic

Raised Bed with Cold-FrameTerraBag Fabric Raised Garden Bed
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Further Possibilities

Smaller raised beds on wheels, suitable for terraces or balconies, are also available.

These beds are handy as they can be moved around if necessary: Check prices on Amazon.

In addition, there are raised beds that come with a cold frame: Check prices on Amazon.

A raised bed will be a useful addition to almost every garden.

You will spare your back and get rich harvests.

Video: How to build a raised bed


Slug control recommendations

Copper Mesh FenceSlug Fence Set: Medium – 6m²Sheep Wool Pellets
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Last update: July 10, 2018


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