Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Home made beds

It's that time of year again, when one should be preparing the vegetable garden, that's if one has one. I've made a start by digging over one of my nine raised beds, this is where I grow runner beans, you are supposed to rotate your crops but I always put runner beans here because it's in a sheltered corner of the garden and the hedges give it a little protection from the wind. 
If you are thinking about getting some raised beds, for goodness sake don't go to a garden centre and buy them. There are all sorts out there, from plastic and wood, to stone, and they cost a fortune. Some people are so finicky about their garden looking perfect, they are willing to spend a lot of money on it just to make it look pretty, which defeats the object of growing your own to save money. Mine is a productive vegetable garden, not a show garden open to the public, it doesn't matter what it looks like. 
It's easy to knock up a few raised beds with pallets you can get for free. It doesn't matter what they look like, they are there to do a job, I have had mine for five years now, and they cost nowt.  
You need two pallets the same size, saw them in half to give four sides. A standard pallet will have an odd number of slats, mine had five. They usually have a block at each end of the centre slat for support. Take a saw and remove the centre slat with the two blocks and use it for something else.   
Stand the four pieces in a square, with the blocks uppermost, and the slats on the inside. Then get some short pieces of wood and nail them across the corners to hold them together. I built mine on top of my lawn, and lined the bottom with old carpets and plastic bags. You need to pierce the plastic to make drain holes.
If you have pallets with gaps between the slats you can fill them in with any old pieces of flat wood you have lying around. Carpet would do the job as well, a few nails will keep it in place.
I have nailed four sturdy posts to the corners of this bed, because I need to stand on the pallets to reach the runner beans at the top, I can hang onto the posts to steady myself.
Fill with soil or compost. Get some well rotted horse dung if you know a horse owner, they will usually give it away for nothing. I have dug in a couple of bucketfulls of well rotted home made compost from the heap in the corner. All there is to do now is to cover it so the cats don't think I have built them a new toilet block, ha ha. One bed ready to plant the seedlings into.
When I was coming home on Sunday night, I spotted some fly posters around my village, cheeky beggars had come from Doncaster littering the place up with their advertisements for tarmacing. I drove round to check all the roads and ripped the posters down. On the outskirts of the village I pulled into a layby to turn round and come back, when I spotted a box on the grass verge. Worth a look I thought, as my headlights lit up the scene. This is what I found. A pair of perfectly good, hardly worn, size nine work boots, with steel toe caps. There is a receipt in the box, they cost £44.
How curious. I can only assume a lorry driver must have changed into comfortable shoes to drive away, and mistakenly left his boots behind. Too big for me, I am looking for a home for them, it will be the charity shop if I don't find anyone to fit them. Maybe my size nine Prince Charming will come forward to claim them :o)  
This is the crystal pendant I found.
Amazing how I find things on grass verges, ha ha.
Toodle pip.


  1. You are a whiz at finding things aren't you? Pretty clever at making raised beds too!

  2. Great idea on the raised bed from a pallet!

  3. Maybe my size nine Prince Charming will come forward to claim them

    Hey, what a story that would make! :-D

    great idea with the pallets.

  4. i never find things like that, I like the raised bed x

  5. oh dear, is it that time again already ?
    a couple of afternoons should sort my tiny plot out -- the wind 'did' for my lighweight greenhouses last year, I spent more time picking them up and putting them back together than growing stuff in them, don't think I'll bother this year, I'll just use them to stack plant pots on -

  6. When I had my allotment the old lady opposite always grew her runners in the same spot each year, she used to get bumper crops so I don't think it matters Ilona..

  7. Hello, Ilona. My sister says I'll never see a flying saucer because (like you) I'm always looking down, not up! And like you I always find things - including silver rings and broken gold jewellery on the road (flung out of car windows by fighting couples, I've always thought). I put nearly 300 US dollars a year in the bank with my coin findings, sold gold, and the like. Keep up the great work!

  8. I'm a Pallet Queen, too! I use them for fencing when I need to temporarily divvy up a pen (keeping someone out and someone in), walkways over muddy areas, etc. Very handy items to have!

    Right now it's a blizzard going on outside my window, so not quite time for gardening yet. But I'm planning :)

    One thought: maybe your carpeting is different than mine, but I used strips of carpeting in my garden once, and it was a disaster. Part of it nylon or some such, and I ended up with masses of stringy mats all over the place, with semi-rotted fiber (wool?) holding them together. I had to "harvest" them to dispose of properly the next Spring, and a disgusting job it was. Yuck.

  9. Hey Ilona, those boots would fit My Rick. He needs steel toe cap boots for his work. Would you be prepared to pack them and get the weight checked at the post office? I`d be happy to send you the money to post those boots to me.
    Send me an e-mail on and quote the cost of sending, plus your address.
    I will happily forward you the cost.

  10. Love the raised beds, I am trying to make a little area for the children to plant their own veg, will be looking out for some pallets.

  11. Love the raised beds. Re the boots, someone could have put them on the roof of the car whilst re-arranging their parcels and then driven off.

    Hang that pendant somewhere that the sun can catch it. You will get some lovely colours on the wall.

  12. Good idea about the pendant - in the window would be lovely - could bring you even more luck !
    Actually that's given me an idea, I have several of those crystally pendants gathering dust, I never wear them - I think I'll hang them in the window !
    Thanks Campfire

  13. Just a little note to Ilona before I forget - I went to Lidl the other day to get a LED magnetic torch for K to use when he's working under a car, he trashes those bulbs in a cage things, they were selling them £7.99 whereas Aldi were I think £12.99. UHT skimmed milk was reduced to 39pence. As I was going around without a trolley I only bought one but will buy a few next time.

    They have just installed an in-store bread baking pod, which makes a lovely smell as you walk into the store.

    Wean - I have been given and collected from charity shops, those little crystal bead necklaces and they look lovely hung up with the sun shining through them. I was told you ought to wash crystal, dry it in the moonlight before using it (am not sure whether that is correct and why).

  14. Yes that's right I used to be a 'healer' and worked with crystals - the ones I have now hung up are not 'the real deal' but look very pretty non the less in the window with the sun pouring in -
    It's to 'cleanse' them and remove the previous 'owners' vibes if you like and also any negative energy that they may still be storing.

  15. It is good to cover your beds; it stops soil erosion. Too cold here to get outside and March is truly coming in like a lion.

  16. Hi Ilona! I have a question: why do you use raised beds? Is it something to do with your soil type? I've never seen them before.

    In answer to your question on my digging: NO! I'm not digging that field up! It is part of an organic dairy farm (owned by Prince Charles, don't you know! Although leased to Casper the friendly farmer!) Our 3mx5m patch was QUITE enough digging for one day!

  17. Hi Bryallen. My soil type is heavy clay and compacted down. When I dug some borders into it, it was back breaking work and took me ages. To grow vegetables in it would need a lot of digging and a lot of compost to help break it down. Building raised beds on top of the lawn was the easiest option.

    Hi Sarina, I'm terribly sorry but I have already found a new home for the boots. Our church gardener thinks they are great. It might be worth looking in your charity shops for a pair, or a car boot sale.

    The crystal is now hanging in the window, thanks for the suggestion. Maybe it will bring me luck.

  18. Isn't it the honest thing to do to hand lost property into the police station? If I lost a piece of jewelery I would hope that an honest person found it and handed it in.
    You surmise that the boots were left by mistake, yet you gleefully took them home. Pity the poor driver who drives all the way back to get them once he realises he's left them behind.
    You would be quick enough to badmouth the person who took something of yours.

  19. Haha, you're so lucky finding all these things. I mean what are the chances of finding virtually a new pair of boots on the side of the road?! Look forward to seeing the progress of your vege garden...mines almost done for the Summer and am slowly planting it out for Winter. Do you still use nettles for your plant food?


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