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I know this question is asked so many times and to be honest i still don't know the answer after reading loads of things.

Took on allotment last year old beds are rotten and need replacing at moment the beds are 10ft by 5ft - i was going to maybe do 10ft by 4ft

I have looked at scaffolding broads as option - but hard to source locally and expensive 

Alternative is like gravel boards bu they are treated - not really fan of that idea - so i'm looking for something easy to source not too expensive and ideally un treated and does not cost arm and leg

Not sure if thats the right thing to do thats why i'm here for suggestions as i don't know the answer and keep putting it off :)



Fire Lily

Use what you can afford and get your hands on, but not treated wood as it can be toxic. You can even use things like wine bottles.


Whilst I agree that you can create a raised bed from wine bottles, I can't imagine any allotment committee or organisation with any nous allowing it.  All sorts of problems re contamination of the plot and safety for the next tenant could arise.  Enough problems used to occur when glass greenhouses and cold frames suffered damage. 

I would use lengths of untreated softwood approx 2" thick and as deep as you choose ... when I was involved in the building industry you could get 2" x 8" ... think it was called 'carcassing'

Untreated so you avoid the problems of toxins ... 2" thick so that at least it lasts a reasonable length of time before rotting due to being untreated.  

Last edited: 14 February 2018 11:58:49

Fire Lily

The wine bottles was an exampel of thinking outside of the box (but I must say that the british allotment committies doesn't exactly sound like they care much about the enviroment). 

Other examples (I have done the idea with terracotta roof tiles, works pretty well):


I'm all for thinking outside the box  but I believe that it's important to think holistically ... just because it's possible to recycle something it doesn't mean that every application of that recycling is appropriate in every circumstance. 

Most British allotment committees that I've come across care a great deal about the environment ... that's why they don't want to see good growing space contaminated by broken glass which may cause injury and deter people from growing their own food or even put an allotment out of use.   What people do in their own gardens is up to them of course, but allotments are community assets and have to be managed with an eye to the future of all.


If you are simply making deep beds on an allotment, I wouldn't edge them with anything.

You can make raised beds by making raised mounds 4' wide and as long as you like by sloping the sides like a wide ridge,the only problem I can see with that is if you are on sandy soil it could wash away .Regards Peter

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