Author Topic: Orientation and length of raised beds  (Read 481 times)

gwynleg

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 580
Orientation and length of raised beds
« on: October 16, 2017, 16:30:36 »
Sorry for hogging with a few posts, but my new allotment is raising a few new things for me! We are lucky enough to have an allotment oriented north to south with no overshadowing anywhere. I have read the fruit trees need to go north to south so will make the beds for them that way, but how important is that for other veg and fruit bushes?

Also I used to have beds 4 by 8 feet in my last allotment but because of the different shape/size of my new allotment am wondering about making them longer. I appreciate it means longer to walk to get round but wondered how much of an issue that would really be? I want to not lose too much space to paths if I make smaller beds.

Thanks for any thoughts and advice again

Plot 18

  • Half Acre
  • ***
  • Posts: 170
  • Plot in Mid-Kent
Re: Orientation and length of raised beds
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2017, 17:34:24 »
I've never noticed the orientation of beds making much difference tbh apart from making sure tall things like bean frames don't shade the sun-loving veg.

Where some of my beds are longer, I just use a board to tread on, to cross the bed in the middle.

squeezyjohn

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 894
  • Oxfordshire - Sandy loam on top of clay
Re: Orientation and length of raised beds
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2017, 07:53:15 »
I've tried to maximise space on my plot by making my permanent beds 4ft-4.5ft wide but the whole length of the allotment so they're raised strips really with the odd pathway to connect them so it makes getting from one part to another easier.  I don't find it an issue getting around anyway and you don't normally need to be in more than one place at a time (although making the compost heap fairly central can help!)

My strips mainly go from north to south because that's the way the allotment runs and I think that's better.  I certainly do take light in to consideration and I use it to my advantage too.  Tall crops like beans and peas can shade a whole area behind them although at the height of summer the shadow is short - and I use this to shade summer lettuces from scorching sun where they do better and bolt less.  Another great thing with strips is that rather than putting wigwams or rows of beans on single beds where the crop can be tricky to get at without walking on the bed ... I grow a single row of beans on either side of the path opposite eachother and then train them up long canes which are connected at the top by a small arch of blue water pipe over the pathway ... this allows me to pick beans hanging down over the path and maximises light on the beds.

gwynleg

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 580
Re: Orientation and length of raised beds
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2017, 15:22:53 »
I really like the idea of the beans over the paths squeezyjohn. I did try something similar once with a Wilkos arch, but the growth of the beans and the wind twisted and broke the metal on the arch - not good when they were producing well. Your idea sounds great.

squeezyjohn

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 894
  • Oxfordshire - Sandy loam on top of clay
Re: Orientation and length of raised beds
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2017, 15:49:23 »
It's a great system provided you weave a long cane through the single rows of canes on each side and tie them in well - I tried without this once and any strong winds were a problem!  Sometimes the water pipe pops off the canes which are thinner at the top but it's never a big problem.

I just feel like I'm winning a bit of space back and it's fun to go through the tunnels with the kids!  I interplant the beans with sweet peas which climb up the beans and give good flowers too.

Digeroo

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 9,080
  • Cotswolds - Gravel - Alkaline
Re: Orientation and length of raised beds
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2017, 16:50:16 »
I like the idea of having the beans growing over the path.  Mine got blown over and suddenly there were loads of beans I had not seen.  I have also some climbing French called pantheon and they seem to be able to hide their beans big time, so again when it was blown over there were a large number of oversized tough pods.

I now grow my beans on wigwams of a few poles at a time so at least if they go, it is only one group at a time. 

I am also going to try with the cross over further down I am hoping they will not blow over and it will be easier to see the beans hanging down. 

I am starting to wonder is someone is knocking them over. 

Vinlander

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,327
  • North London - heavy but fertile clay
Re: Orientation and length of raised beds
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2017, 09:41:47 »
I use this to shade summer lettuces from scorching sun where they do better and bolt less.

I have raised beds E-W because of the S-facing slope (a kind of terracing) so I try to plant tall crops (even broad beans) on the N side of beds so the shade falls mainly on the paths, but runners etc. are tall enough to shade the next bed up, so I take advantage of this for planting courgettes (especially a second planting) and peas - both enjoy a bit of dappled shade (not squash though - they need sun to ripen).

Cheers.
With a microholding you always get too much or bugger-all. (I'm fed up calling it an allotment garden - it just encourages the tidy-police).

The simple/complex split is more & more important: Simple fertilisers Poor, complex ones Good. Simple (old) poisons predictable, others (new) the opposite.

Allotments 4 All

Re: Orientation and length of raised beds
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2017, 09:41:47 »