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Raised Bed Gardening

January 13th, 2011

 

If you have limited gardening space or poor soil conditions, you should consider raised bed gardening. Even just a small raised bed is ideal for growing herbs and vegetables.

To make a raised bed garden, it only takes a few steps:

1. Pick a flat location that gets at least eight hours of sun per day and is accessible to your water supply.

2. Decide how large the raised bed garden will be, both length and depth. Keep in mind that you will want to be able to easily access the middle of the raised bed from each side. As far as depth goes ten inches is ideal, but many vegetables will grow in a raised bed that is six inches deep.

3. Get your raised bed ready. If you can dig out the existing grass, if any, or loosen the soil to a depth of at least eight inches it will ensure that your plants’ roots have ample room to grow. Build your raised bed with 2 x 6 lumber pieces that are rot-resistant. Cut the lumber then attach the pieces together to build a frame. Place in the determined location. Make sure and use a level to ensure the frame is level on all sides, otherwise, water may run off one part of the raised bed garden. Fill your raised bed with quality top soil, compost and manure. Once filled, level the soil. That’s it! You’re ready to sow seeds!

4. Managing your raised bed garden is easy, but one thing to keep in mind is that raised beds tend to dry out faster, so it’s important that you consider moisture retention; mulching the top of the soil will help. Every spring and fall top dress the soil with fresh compost and manure.

Raised bed gardening is easily manageable and offers great benefits, including:

1. Better soil drainage.

2. Less soil compaction—no one is stepping on the soil!

3. Better soil conditions, because you are controlling what ingredients are in your garden.

4. Earlier planting, because raised beds warm up more quickly in the spring.

5. Raised bed gardening is also a great consideration for anyone who has arthritis or elderly gardeners.

If you have never tried raised bed gardening, or gardening for that matter, this is a great option for the upcoming spring gardening season.

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5 Responses to “Raised Bed Gardening”

  1. maxine schall says:

    Is there info on cement block usage for raised beds? Using treated lumber is dangerous to the health. What about sizes? I do not have an area of 8 hours of sun a day. Maybe 6 at the most. Is it ok to have a very long bed rather than like 3 x 6 ft.? I need to find sources of inexpensive materials since my finances are fixed and minimal. Thanks for your help and ideas.

  2. Hi Maxine,

    Have you heard of Square Foot Gardening? It has become a pretty popular method especially for what it sounds like you are trying to accomplish.

    http://www.squarefootgardening.org/whatissfg

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Square_foot_gardening

    Also we will post your question on our Facebook page as we have a diverse group of gardeners that may offer additional help and insight. Thanks for your question!

  3. [...] then, every year I have expanded my garden by building one or two additional raised beds. Now I have eight raised beds and grow more varieties of vegetables and herbs every year. This year [...]

  4. [...] conditions are poor, a raised bed garden is a great solution when you want to grow your own foods. Raised bed gardening offers many benefits, including better soil drainage, less soil compaction, better soil conditions, [...]

  5. diane says:

    This is my second summer with a raised bed vegetable garden. It’s ideal! However, this summer I am losing a battle with rabbits. They have eaten my entire crop of green bean plants. I just planted a second attempt and want to protect the soon-to-emerge seedlings. My dilemma is how to keep the rabbits out, but allow me in to weed and harvest. Suggestions?

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