Monday, April 28, 2014

Raised Beds: Everything you wanted to know and a little more...

Raised beds are gardens with side walls built of stone, brick, cinderblocks or, like mine (shown here), wood. You can find kits and/or building instructions anywhere on the web. Building your beds this way brings the garden soil up above the landscape of your yard.  This is especially good if your soil is of poor quality or has poor drainage. 
A bed is usually about twelve inches deep which reduces the amount of bending needed to tend to your plants, but still gives enough room for the roots to grow. But make sure you build it in a sunny location so your vegetables get full sun.
Some of the advantages to creating raised beds are: 
  1)   The soil warms up faster in the spring, which gives it the ability to dry out faster than your normal garden beds.  And for an avid gardener, that means you can plant your vegetables earlier. 
  2)   The soil stays soft because it is rarely walked on like a huge garden, so tilling in the spring can be easily accomplished with a hoe.
  3)  And if you make your beds narrow (less than 4 feet across), it is easy to weed from both sides.  And since it hasn’t been walked on, what weeds that appear, are easy to pull out.
A few suggestions:

  1)   Build your raised bed on something solid.  NOT a deck.  Because the weight of the soil is very heavy.

  2)   If you build your bed on the ground and you have critters that love to burrow (moles or voles) in your area, you might want to line them with wire or heavy-duty landscaping fabric (the kind that water can penetrate).

  3)   Raised beds don’t accommodate trees or potatoes well because of the space needed for roots.
Your turn:  Have you ever tried growing plants in a raised bed?

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