How Food Grows: Raised Beds

Part 4: Raised Beds

A typical modern back garden has very little quality top soil. To overcome this (and to avoid back-breaking digging), it often makes sense to build up rather than dig down. Raised beds give you the ability to grow almost anywhere, allowing you to choose the size, location and style you wish.


  • Check on your seedlings and continue your watering routine. They should all be fine to keep indoors for another week.
  • Thin your beetroot, chard and kale down to one seedling each per module in the module tray. You can add the baby leaves into a salad or replant the seedlings into another module tray.
  • Gather the materials you need to build a raised bed: wood, a saw, a drill, screws and a measuring tape.
  • Follow the step-by-step instructions in the episode to build your own.
  • Show us the raised beds you’ve built on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @GIYIreland

Top Tips

  • In this episode, Mick uses a single plank of timber measuring 4.8m in length, cut into 4 even planks of 1.2m each to make a square raised bed.
  • Make yours as long as you wish, but don’t make it wider than 1.2m to ensure you can comfortably reach into the middle.
  • The timber in this episode measures 9 inches in height and 2 inches in thickness, which is sufficient to give the raised bed enough depth and a solid frame.
  • Treated timber will increase the longevity of the raised bed, but a permeable lining is recommended in this case to prevent contaminants seeping into the soil.
  • Untreated timber does not require a lining but will be more quickly affected by rain.
  • A 1-tonne bag of blended top soil and compost can be purchased from garden centres and hardware stores and delivered to your home. This is enough to fill 3 beds of the size made in this episode, but depending on the size you make, calculate the volume of soil you will need.
  • If you don’t have a wheelbarrow, make sure the bed is in its final location for when the soil is delivered.

Helpful Resources is grateful for the support of our Growth Fund partners Social Innovation Fund Ireland and The Department of Rural & Community Development, whose funding has enabled us to promote and disseminate this online course, engaging thousands of people in How Food Grows.​