Raised wooden beds are a great way to grow vegetables.  I am often asked by clients to add a productive area to their gardens and raised beds are what I recommend.  The soil heats up more quickly in the spring, it is easier to weed and maintain them, let alone being easier on your back, and you can even put in a smaller lower one for the kids to have some fun with.

Even novice veg growers soon find their feed and I always recommend a year’s subscription to ‘Gardeners’ World’ magazine.  Their practical veg growing articles are excellent, even recommending veg varieties for shady areas.  Not all of us are lucky enough to be able to site our veg beds completely in the sun.

We have two raised beds in our own garden, but our cropping this year has been a mix of triumphs and disasters. The weather did not help with a warm spring, wet and often chilly summer and a long autumn.  Like other plants, some liked it and others did not.    Our triumphs included our carrots and beetroot, spring onions and salad crops.  Growing carrots in a raised bed means we have not been troubled by carrot root fly and we polished off our last carrots in November.  We had a beetroot glut and I gave some to a friend, Wendy Paterson, an inspired professional chef (the ‘Inside Out Chef’) to turn into delicious cakes and soups.

But what of our disasters?  The dwarf peas I brought at the Eden Project in early spring bit the dust courtesy of the local pigeons.  My better half or ‘him outdoors’ who is in charge of veg growing grew on some runner bean and more pea seeds and planted them out.  We then took our eye off the ball (being busy in a client’s garden) and found the slugs and snails had scoffed the lot.  ‘Him outdoors’ said some strong words and retired to his shed.  So, next year we will keep our eye on the ball and t.l.c. them.  I am determined to enjoy our own home-grown runner beans in 2012.