Raised Bed Gardening

Hello Jo

I purchased two treble-planked raised beds from Harrod about 5 years ago which were serving me well until the past two years.  This year has had the poorest results possible!  Failed crops of veg in spite of watering well every evening and feeding once a week – forking  new compost in too every year.

Last week, I had difficulty in sowing an extremely late crop of sugar snap peas after a very poor showing of the earlier ones.  The dibber was reluctant to go into the soil.  Reason?  The beds were full of happy roots, I guessed to be from the thriving ivy on the fence two feet behind the beds.

What should I do?  Dig it all up and start again I suppose, with a membrane laid at the bottom.  What do you say?  I’d be glad of your opinion.


Many thanks,

Michelle Bloore.

Dear Michelle

I have a similar problem in the Kitchen Garden.  Our garden is surrounded by a yew hedge and this likes to send its roots into the raised beds.  This year, following disappointing growth, I dug out the beds to find them choked with roots.  I dug out as much of the root as possible and then added a lot of compost to the soil. 

Adding a liner to your beds will make it harder for the roots to enter the beds, but won’t hold them off indefinitely.  I now dig each raised bed over every time I am replacing the crops within it.  This will keep the soil nice and loose and prevent the roots taking such a big hold again.

I hope this is useful for you.  Please let me now if I can be of any further assistance.


Kindest Regards




Jo Blackwell

Kitchen Gardener