Building raised gardens is an ideal autumn project, says Janice Marriott.
Autumn's a great time to make a raised bed to give your plants a head-start in spring. You can enrich it with all the spent plants from summer, plus fallen leaves and grass clippings.
Build the frame first out of non-tanalised timber. Start the bed by thickly layering cardboard - I get old cartons from the supermarket - wool carpet or newspapers on to the ground. This stops the weeds invading the bed and also attracts worms.
After that, it's a matter of building. I layer my own compost and garden waste between thick layers of straw and sprinkle each layer with sheep pellets. Leave it all to settle for May, June and July, then plant the bed with spring veges.
In early spring your plants will be happy because the soil in this bed will be warmer, richer, lighter and easier for their roots to spread in. And you will be happy because you don't have to dig this sort of layered club sandwich of a garden. Just stretch out in a deckchair and watch it work for you.By Janice Marriott