I’m always intrigued by the ways gardeners improvise to save money on their plots, and am looking forward to interviewing all sorts of amateur and professional growers about their projects over the coming months.
Here’s a great idea shared by David Roberts, the inventor of Growrings, who decided to make use of some leftover tiles and some short lengths of copper wire to create a century bed for next to nothing.
These deep raised beds are perfect for gardens and allotments where the soil’s heavy and stony, as they improve drainage and allow roots to grow unhindered. They also allow you to use techniques such as ‘square foot’ gardening, where vegetables can be grown closer together and there’s a natural weed suppressant effect.
Twist four lengths of wire around each tile, two at the top and two at the bottom, as in the picture on the left, leaving some extra wire on either side of each tile.
Now start to build the structure of your century bed, placing tiles on their edges, and twisting the excess wire together inside the bed structure to form a strong hexagon shape.
At this point, it might be useful to have an extra person helping you, so that the first few tiles don’t get blown over by the wind.
Then fill the bed with compost, or whatever other growing medium you’re planning on using, and tuck any loose edges of the lining material in around it.
All you need to do now is water the compost and plant up your new century bed. You can use it for just about any edible plants, from parsnips to small fruit trees.
David says that the copper wire should also be useful for repelling slugs, which is always a bonus.
It is more practical than pretty, but if you wanted to make one that had a specific look to blend in better with your garden then you could use different tiles, or decorate the tiles.
Hope that’s made you feel inspired about the possibilities of improvising and money-saving in your kitchen garden. If you have any great ideas of your own and want to be featured here then please send us an email.
Thanks very much to David for sharing his idea with us, and be on the lookout for a Growrings competition coming up soon on this site.