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With a raised bed, vegetables, salads and herbs can be cultivated with great success. For the optimal nutrient supply of the plants and a rich harvest a special stratification inside is responsible. We will show you how to properly fill your raised bed layer by layer.
A raised bed is filled with these layers
Overall, a raised bed consists of four different layers. They are each between 5 and 25 centimeters high, depending on how much of the material is available. Start at the bottom with a layer of lumber waste such as thin branches, twigs or wood chippings. This is followed by a layer of turf, leaves or grass clippings. Then fill in semi-mature compost, to which you can also mix in half rotted horse or cattle manure. Lastly, add high-quality garden soil to the raised bed, which is enhanced in the upper area with mature compost. Only then follows the actual planting.
Our tip: Before filling in the first layer, install a fine-meshed hare wire at the bottom and on the inner walls of the raised bed (approx. 30 cm high). It acts as vole protection and prevents the small rodents from building caves in the lower, loose layers and nibbling at their vegetables.
Layer structure in raised bed with vole protection by hare wire
Why do you fill a raised bed in layers?
The different organic materials used to fill a raised bed initiate a process of humus formation that provides the bed with nutrients from within for several years. Incidentally, the stratification works like a kind of natural heating because heat is generated during the rotting process. This so-called rotting heat also makes early sowing in the raised bed possible and explains in comparison to normal vegetable beds sometimes considerably higher yields.
Important: The decomposition process causes the filling of the raised bed to gradually collapse. In spring, you should therefore annually fill some garden soil and compost. After about five to seven years, all compostable components inside the raised bed are decomposed and degraded. You can use the resulting high-quality humus to bring it out to your garden to improve its soils. Only now does the raised bed have to be refilled and the layers reintroduced.