Raised Bed Vegetable Garden

June 17, 2013 | By

The advantages and planning of the raised bed vegetable garden are many, and what follows is some further discussion.

At long last, winter will soon give way to spring. Gardeners everywhere are looking forward to the spring produce planting season. In the colder parts of the nation, gardeners are planting seeds in peat pots and flats, with heating pads underneath, to get a jump on the season. In warmer climes, we’re using cold frames and even direct planting, so that we can be enjoying those first tomatoes at the very first opportunity. Still, we’ve got some time on our hands. If you’re not looking forward to double digging, heavy weeding and raking stones out of last year’s vegetable patch, now is the time to ponder what a raised bed vegetable garden has to offer.

The in-ground vegetable garden does involve a lot of hard work. You may also be delayed by continuing rains that make preparation impossible. When the soil is still soggy, you run the risk of compacting your garden soil, resulting in a veggie patch that won’t thrive. On the other hand, the raised bed vegetable garden eliminates so many problems. Sure, you’ve got to build an enclosure for the bed, but this is a relatively inexpensive project which saves you many hours of work throughout the season. You can build your raised beds in a single weekend!

Let’s first take a look at the many advantages of the raised bed vegetable garden. Because you’ll be using nursery grade soil and compost, you’ve got soil that is light, which drains quickly, warms earlier and produces fewer weeds. Using a fine gauge of chicken wire to line the bottoms of the beds, your raised bed vegetable garden is not vulnerable to burrowing pests, such as gophers and rabbits. If you outfit your raised beds with cap boards, you’ve got convenient seating to tend your beds with ease. No crouching or bending, which is great for people with arthritis! When you opt for the raised bed vegetable garden, you also get the correct Ph for each bed with ease.

When you plan the layout of each raised bed, there are a few rules of thumb to keep in mind. In order to be able to easily reach from one side of each bed to the other, for the purposes of weeding and harvesting, you’ll want each bed to be no more than three feet wide, with sufficient space between each raised bed to walk and tow your wheelbarrow. Each of your raised bed vegetable garden plots should be at least two feet high, to allow for the development of robust and healthy roots. Consider paving your work aisles with a base of black plastic, topped with gravel. This step eliminates any wannabee weeds.

The actual building of your raised bed vegetable garden is simple. All you need is lumber, bracing and a few screws to secure the sides. Consult a garden DIY site for step by step instructions. This task is really a snap.

While you’re online, check out how companion planting can promote more vigorous crops. For example, planting tomatoes and basil together makes both plant types thrive, repelling pests and enhancing the taste of both.

Lay your beds out in a north-to-south position. This gives your veggies maximum exposure to sunlight.

Staggering crops increases your yield. In order to make the best use of your available growing space, plant carrots and lettuce at the margins of each raised bed vegetable garden plot, with later harvest crops such as tomatoes and zucchini in the center. By the time the lettuce and carrots give way to the hot days of summer, the later crops will fill out the space.

After you’ve planted, mulching is the next essential step. Mulching consists of a three inch layer of straw, hay or whatever mulching materials are most available locally. This step conserves water and suppresses weeds.

Installing a drip irrigation system is the icing on the cake for your easy-to-maintain and richly productive raised bed vegetable garden. With a programmable timer, you’ve got it made!

Can’t you already taste those fresh veggies?

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Category: Gardening

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