We want to use raised beds in our new garden. I wouldn't go into the advantages here - if your curious you can Google it. We are looking to use old railway sleepers to do it. They're a good size, very strong, virtually indestructable and recycled. A bit of research says the most common size is 8'6" (2.6m) x 10" x 5". Given the garden is 15ft wide, we reckon we can get a full sleeper across the width of the garden. Given we'd like to be able to reach across the raised beds without standing on them when we're working on them, we reckon we can cut a sleeper in half (4'3") and use that to make a rectanglar bed. That means the maximum we'd need to reach across is just over 2'. That's comfortable :-)
That would give us a bed that would look like this.
We haven't decided yet whether we want to use the sleepers end on or flat on. One way give us a nice wide lip to the bed (10") and huge amount of strength but only 5" in height for each layer. The other way gives us a narrower lip (5"), but more height (10") per layer. It's even possible to do a hybrid system where the first two layers are end on and the top is flat on.
To be honest we don't know which is going to best for us, so we're going to invest in enough sleepers to make up one bed (x9) and try it out.
Oh you might be wondering why we need so much height. One of the things we want to try is growing vegtables in straw. Essentially you put a straw bale on the ground with the stalks running vertically and plant the vegtables in it. Obviously if you be that your raised beds need to tall enough to contain the straw.
Header Image: susandanbandy / 123RF Stock Photo