What Do I Put on the Bottom of a Raised Garden Bed?

‘What do I put on the bottom of a raised garden bed?’ is a much more common question than you may think. There are so many benefits to having your very own raised garden bed in your backyard, the least of which is saving your back from so much straining and aching from leaning over as you tinker with your plants.

But, what should you put on the bottom of your raised garden bed? Well, there are a few answers to this, but the best option is to use grass chippings, leaves, wood chips, straw, or any other organic materials. 

What do I put on the bottom of a raised garden bed?

On top of the layer of organic material you should then have your cardboard, the organic material will compost over time and the cardboard will prevent any weeds, or unwanted plant life from coming through and disrupting your little garden. 

You can use cardboard or newspaper in order to prevent weeds from seeping through and disrupting your garden. Some people may suggest using carpet, but this is a bad idea. It will slow the drainage down and will limit root growth for some vegetables. This is a similar problem that you will come across if you use plastic bags as well. It is best to use a material much as cardboard or newspaper. 

Can you put raised garden beds on grass?

If you are thinking about adding raised garden beds to your backyard and growing some vegetables, chances are that you will have questioned whether or not you need to remove all the grass underneath the bed. The short answer is yes, realistically you have to remove the grass from underneath your garden bed.

If you leave the grass underneath and cover it with topsoil then it can still grow. Having grass underneath your raised garden bed can create a whole load of problems for you later on. The grass may even manage to get all the way to the level of your raised garden bed and if it does this then it may start to invade your newly created bed. 

If the grass invades your raised garden bed then it could damage your garden, it could take over the bed and your vegetables will suffer for it. You should not put a raised garden bed over grass if you want to have a healthy and lively garden full of vegetables and fruits, or whatever you intend to grow. 

You should always do your very best to remove the grass from the soil and ensure that there is no chance of a grass or weed invasion coming up and stealing water, and nutrients from your raised garden bed. 

Do you put anything under a raised garden bed?

Raised garden beds are a very efficient and back saving way to do some gardening, whether you are planting flowers, vegetables, herbs, or whatever you wish. If you are curious if you should line the bottom with anything then there are a few materials that you can use as a raised garden bed flooring that will help your plants thrive ever better. 

You should line the bottom of your garden beds, it is not mandatory to create a raised garden bed floor, however many gardeners do this because it prevents weeds from growing up from the ground below, it stops burrowing pests like voles and moles and so on from entering the raised bed, it makes the whole bed more durable, and it also prevents toxins from leaching into the soil as well. 

If you want to line the bottom of your garden bed properly then you can line it with several materials depending on what your gardening budget and goals are. You could use a wide-mesh hard-wire cloth which will keep weeds and burrowing animals out, although earthworms can still get through. You actually want these guys getting through as they are natural gardeners, aerating and enriching the oil.

Furthermore, you could also use a stainless steel gopher or rat mesh. If you suffer from weeds a lot then you could use a landscape fabric or a burlap sack from some old potatoes. You can also use newspaper or cardboard if you are on a budget, they work just as well and block out any weed growth coming through. 

How deep should a raised veg bed be?

If you are building your own raised garden bed, you want to get the measurements right for what you are doing. You want the correct size that will help you get the most out of your gardening experience. The depth is important because no matter how many plants you have you will want to ensure that there is enough room for their roots to grow efficiently.  

A raised bed can be quite shallow in some cases however, we would suggest around 15 cm/ 6inches as a bare minimum, or around 20 cm/8inches as being the best option. A good way to do this would even be to start out with 30 cm/12inches of depth and build them so that you can add another 15 cm/6inches of board in the future as you add more compost. 

You could even have a bed raised up to 3ft high which is an ideal option for those who struggle to bend, or those who have mobility issues, such as those in wheelchairs who still want to garden like pros.  

Your bed can then be as wide, and long as you want, and if you have multiple beds, you should ensure that you leave a path that is at least 2ft wide between them so that you can easily maneuver around the beds. You should also not make the bed too long, while you can realistically make the bed any length that you want, it is best to keep it to 3ft as a minimum for ease.

If it is too long you will have to go on a long walk to get to the other side, and you will be tempted to step over it which could harm the plants, so it is best to keep it 3ft or less. 

Should I line my raised garden bed with plastic?

Your raised plant bed should be lined with a fairly breathable material, whether it is cardboard or newspaper to keep weeds from seeping through, or a mesh to prevent rodents or pesky bugs from getting at your plants.

Plastic is less ideal however, as it may have a tendency to pool water, and it is not as breathable or biodegradable as other materials, it can also have harmful chemicals within that may seep into the earth over time. 

More of a concern is how plastic acts similar to carpet, as it does not have good drainage, and it comes with the possibility of preventing roots from growing at their leisure as it is too tough. It is best to use accepted materials such as cardboard, mesh, newspaper, or other acceptable materials that have good drainage and will not stunt root growth in your plants.

You can't use plastic if you really want to however you should be aware of the effects this will have on your plants and care for them according to the consequences of using this.