Round Like a Circle Bed

I’ve been reading up on everything permaculture for a while and slowly drip feeding the principles into the design and construction of our vegetable garden.

Gather your ingredients.

Gather your ingredients.

One of our biggest challenges has been couch grass – it is persistent, deep rooted and in the way.  We used the first set of pigs to move a lot of it but since I’ve discovered No Dig gardening I’ve been looking for other ways to reclaim patch of ground for vegetables.  Which is where I came upon the idea of the circle bed.

The idea is simple and I constructed one and planted it up inside an hour – so time efficient when you are grabbing gardening time when the baby goes for a nap

I started with a circle of cardboard roughly 1 meter in diameter. Simply made using a drawing pin, a little over 1/2 a metre of string and a pencil.  I tied the pencil to one end of the string, attached the other to the centre of my piece of cardboard and then keeping the string taught, sketched out a circle.

Then I soaked the cardboard in water and popped it straight on the grass in the location I picked out – near the other vegetable bed but with plenty of room to move around.

The stick is just a garnish.

The stick is just a garnish.

Then I piled up 1 wheelbarrow of well rotted horse manure and then a layer of 60 litres of compost.

Well rotted Manure.  Thanks to the neighbours.

Well rotted Manure. Thanks to the neighbours.


After that it was easy to shape with a bit of watering and I patted it down like a giant sandcastle.  I made little terraces for the seeds and then smoothed them over.

You can just make out some handprints.

You can just make out some handprints.

Because the circle bed is only 1 metre in diameter and heaped in the centre you never have to walk on it (and so avoid compacting the soil).  The mound creates 3 growing areas, near the base for shorter rooted plants like lettuce, 6-8 inches up the side for longer rooted things (I’ve chose Mooli and Carrots) and the very top where I’ll probably plant a Cavelo Nero, or maybe a squash plant, or maybe a cucumber – who knows!

In the end it was a squash plant…

I'm the king of the castle... etc.

I’m the king of the castle… etc.

The first bed I made I used a straw mulch as suggested in the book.  Then I realised that the book was for Australian gardeners who use the straw to reflect sunlight (less of a concern in the UK!).  Therefore I’ve pulled it to one side to let more light and warmth in and I’m hoping it will create a slug obstacle course. When I made the second bed I skipped the straw layer entirely.

The second bed has nasturtiums plants in the top which I am hoping will cascade down the mound creating ground cover and making it look beautiful.  Cross your fingers this all works!


2 thoughts on “Round Like a Circle Bed

  1. MargotBarbara

    I love this! I’ve an allotment with couch grass issues, and I love the idea of trying some permaculture design on it. Sadly the council and older allotment residents are less keen on permaculture! But I reckon i could do this…hmmm.

  2. Becky A Post author


    I am in deep deep love with permaculture – it is so sad that the older residents and the council don’t like it. As far as I am concerned it it just doing vegetable gardening in a really clever way. The beds have been a mixed success. Firstly cats loves them, they look and behave just live litter trays! But on an allotment that might be less of a problem, maybe? My other circle bed fared better but for the slugs – this year I’ve had slugmaggedon. But I don’t think that is a pro or a con of circle beds, it is just little bastard slugs doing their bastard sluggy thing and I lost 2 sowings of lettuce at the base. But I think if you could do a good slug deterrent round the base then that would be fine.


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