Using raised beds is an
efficient method to build a decent vegetable or flower garden. They are
well-drained, the ground warms up faster in the spring, easy to remove bad
grass and you are less likely to compact the ground under your plants so they
can develop their roots on porous and aerated soil. Basically, make endless
wooden boxes 8 to 12 inches down, place them in a bright, clear place, fill
them with soil and leave them. You can use your local soil if it is of good
quality. Otherwise, you can mix your native soil with good quality soil and it would
work well. If you use more than one raised bed, place them for the purpose of
walking between them or carrying a wheelbarrow in the row.
Development Tip: Secure each corner with a corner post for added strength.
It’s important that the used wood must be untreated. Treated wood can filter harmful chemicals, something you don’t need in your soil. The best wood for raised garden beds is Redwood for its rot-resistance; different conifers, including pine, larch, and cypress, may likewise do as such, yet will in general rot away a couple of years after and should be replaced. You can positively utilize plastic, breeze squares and even bundles of feed to secure the box. Simply ensure the walls are well set up before adding soil to the inside.
If you have rodent’s problem in your garden, you can keep them out of your raised bed by covering the base with a layer of chicken wire. Consider to use a piece lightly too big, so you can pull it partway up the sides and staple it in place.
Things to consider when building a raised garden bed
What materials to use for a raised garden bed?
It’s important to choose the right materials for your raised garden boxes; you want it to last long and look beautiful in your garden. There are many options and here are the most popular materials for raised garden beds.
- Galvanized Metal: Galvanized metal is commonly used for outdoor buildings and waterers, it’s also used to build raised garden beds for its durability (It lasts 30-60 years). At the end of its use, the raised bed must be recycled as the material is not biodegradable.
- Wood Raised Garden Beds: The wood combines natural beauty and durability. There are many naturally rot-resistant wood types that can last 10-20 years like Cedar and Redwood. This is a relatively cheap option that can add a beautiful and natural look to your landscape. Wood is also easy to clean up at the end of its use as it is naturally biodegradable.
- Plastic Raised Garden Beds: When you are growing food, you do not want dangerous chemicals leaching into your soil and from there into your veggies. You should consider the use of recycled plastic and avoid leaching plastic. Plastic raised garden beds come in different colors and they are usually simple and easy to maintain. They will last for a very long time and the material should be recycled at the end of use.
- Composite Raised Garden Beds: Composite material is made of wood fibers combined with recycled polypropylene. Composite is very light, easy to assemble, highly resistant to rot and weather, and it can be easily expanded. A suitable option for raised garden beds, as long as it’s not leaching harmful chemicals in your soil.
Best location for a raised garden bed
When you choose where you want to install you garden boxes; you need to make sure your plants will have enough light for steady growth and try to avoid frost pockets that can kill your young plants in the frost of March. A well-drained soil is important for roots penetration and water excess evacuation.
It’s important also to place your garden beds close to your home and don’t forget to space them enough to walk between them.
A higher raised garden bed can provide some pest protection for your plants and save you from bending over when working in your garden.
Plant in the spring after danger of frost has passed in your area. Heat-loving plants like tomatoes, sweet potatoes and hot peppers may die if the frost occurs. Some other veggies like carrots and broccoli can do well in the cold.
If you are a beginner in gardening, try to diversify your plants and create a mix of flowers and veggies considering each plant needs for space and light.
It’s important that your raised garden contain useful plants you need in your kitchen in addition to colorful beautiful flowers to improve your landscape looking.
Raised garden bed watering
The amount of water you need to give varies with the season and weather; you can always check your soil with your finger or with a rain gauge to keep track, when the top start to dry it’s time to thoroughly water your bed.
Due to the height of raised garden bed, the soil tends to drain faster than ground soil (taller is the bed faster it drains).
In dry seasons it’s necessary to water your bed twice daily, in early morning and evening.
Covering the soil with a 2 inches layer of mulch can retain soil moisture and reduce the water requirement in dry seasons.
Watering can be done by hoses, watering can or sophisticated watering tools adapted for raised garden beds.
Weeds and pest control
Since weeds and grass are significant growth inhibitor for your plants, it’s important to prevent them through your garden bed.
Preventing harmful vegetation includes:
- Killing weeds and grass in your raised garden bed before plantation
- Hoeing and hand weeding regularly (be careful that you don’t damage your plants’ roots)
- Mulching around your plants to avoid grass growth
- Preventing weeds from seeding
Chemical herbicides can be used with precaution; ask an expert and follow instructions thoroughly.
Same thing for insects like aphids, scales and psyllids; it is important to control them carefully to avoid poisoning your garden bed or killing other insects that your plants need.