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Raised Bed Gardening Tips

 

Why would want to use raised beds for a garden or use raised bed gardening plans for my needs you ask?  Well the reasons are quite simple and we will discuss some of them here today.

raised bed gardening photo 1 raised bed gardening photo 2

The most obvious reason is space.  Many of us don't have the space for large gardens or the money for the equipment to maintain them if you do.  I am an inherently lazy person when it comes to hard labor and raised bed gardening is the perfect answer for someone like me.  It can be handled easily in a busy schedule and still provide the type of yield needed to do some canning if that's you desire.

What is raised bed gardening and what are some raised bed gardening designs and plans?  It's having a garden where the planting bed soil is higher than the surrounding soil.  There are many ways to do this and the simplest is the way I've done it in the pictures shown above.  Some o of the supplies for raised bed gardening are landscape timbers, 2 x4's, railroad ties and landscape timbers,  I used 3 x 4 landscape timbers purchased at any local hardware or nursery and created boxes to contain my garden.  You will also notice that there are paths between each box for walking on.  What is unique about this?  Two things.  Access to the planting beds is simplified and you never have to walk on your planting bed soil which means it remains soft and workable all the time allowing for excellent root growth.  You can raise beds a step further also.  What I mean by this is raising them to a level that might be 3 or 4 feet tall.  To do this, you need to put bottoms on your boxes and mount them on cinder blocks or other strong support for the frame but the best thing about this is, you just created a wheel chair or handicap accessible garden for someone who might not have the mobility to get down to ground level any more to be able to enjoy gardening.

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        Our way                   Old Way

Per square foot

Why raised bed gardening?  Plant density is one of the benefits of this type of garden.  Have you ever read the back of a seed package?  Look at the recommended spacing on the package.  Lets take Swiss Chard for example.  The instructions on my packet says to plant the seeds 2" apart and to space the rows 18" apart?  Why!?  If I can plant the seeds to inches apart, why can't I also make the rows 2" apart?  I can.  The reason for this is simple.  In the standard garden you will have to have room to walk and weed.  Now you are saying ah ha!  By eliminating the need to walk between your rows to weed and access my plants, I can now plant my seeds two inches apart in both directions.  This does two things.  I can now crowd out the weeds by planting my seeds so close to each other that the weeds can't grow, and I can reach them without the need for a row to get to them.  This applies to to all plants as well and you can make wonderful use of a small space.  I'll cover more on this subject on another page.

How do I do this?  Again, the simplest method is the common 4 x 4.  Always keep your boxes or bed to a width of now more than 4 feet in width.  The reason for this is so that you can easily reach the entire box from one side or the other as you only have to reach 2 feet which is easily within the reach of everyone, even younger children. 

You can now share the fun of gardening with the whole family!  you can even give a section of each box to each person in the family so they can plant things that "they" like to eat and promote a healthy diet of vegetables while sharing a fun project with the whole family.  Once you have your frame(s) built, you will want to enrich your soil with peat or other good composted materials.  If you are an organic gardener, you can just used very rich compost and any of the homemade fertilizer mixtures made from organic materials.  Mix this all in with a smattering of fertilizer (10-10-10 or equivalent if your not a the organic gardening type), and turn the whole thing over.  Remove any grass or weeds from the turned over soil and start planting!  I will be writing another page soon to explaining some planting schemes for you garden.  Have fun!

Written by: WM8C - June, 2006  Not for use without permission.

 

Bonsai Gardening Secrets Click Here!

Hydroponics Gardening Click Here!

Organic Profits Click Here!

Home Vegetable Garden Secrets Click Here!

 

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The garden as of 7-10-06 - Well on it's way.  Not much concern for weeds in this vegetable jungle!
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The garden as of 7-30-06.  My wife is in the photo's for size reference (she's 5'7" tall) .  7' corn, 6' tomatoes and pole beans, and a month to go.  Got to love that Miracle Grow plant food!

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