So you are planning a garden or currently have a garden that you want to upgrade. And you are thinking of trying raised planter beds? Well, we have been growing in raised planter beds for the last couple of seasons and here are the benefits we have found and why we will continue to grow in raised beds even in the polytunnel.
Because they are over the ground, they warm quickly in the spring so you can get to planting faster and warmer soil makes for a longer season!
The soil in raised beds is not part of the ground you are able to plant (direct sow or transplant) sooner in the season because you are not waiting as long for the ground to thaw as you would in a traditional garden bed
If you have hard clay soil, or soil that is too rocky for a garden a raised beds allow for different environments to be created, allowing for a wider range of plants that can be grown.
Different soil compounds in each raised bed can be suited to the soil needs of a specific plant (example: plants that require drastically different soil pH)
They also prevent soil compaction, providing better root growth and room to grow. Raised beds also help prevent the development of molds, mildews and fungus, because they have better drainage and airflow.
LESS WEEDS PLEASE
Plants are more likely to receive better care from you, the gardener, because you’ve got a smaller space to keep up with (easy to maintain raised beds, opposed to a large traditional garden plot)
Being raised they are more ergonomic. Making weeding easier on your back, knees and shoulders. Compared to getting on your knees to weed a traditional in-ground garden.
Not only are they more accessible maintenance, but because of better aeration, less soil compaction, fewer pests and weeds, they tend to have more vegetation produced.
"Raised beds are tidier, and more visually appealing than your traditional garden plot. Easier to maneuver around, can have pathways between beds"
There can be drawbacks though.
The cost to build and fill raised planter beds can be hard on the pocket-book. And depending on the style of planter bed you want to go with the building materials can add up quickly. This makes them more expensive getting started then a traditional plot but they will look aesthetically better in the end.
They can elevate the risk of drought stress and plant dehydration during hot summer days. And because raised beds tend to drain so effectively, they will need to be watered more often. You can use a mulch to help prevent drying out.
IF you are squeezing more plants into a tight space such as a raised bed it could reduce air circulation between plants, increasing moisture levels among the plants. This then increases the risk of plant diseases
There is also the possibility of soil contamination from chemicals leaching out of materials (wood) used to build raised bed
TIPS FOR RAISED BEDS
It is important in choosing the location of your raised planter bed. Before you assemble your raised planter bed, make sure to check the spacing between them (if you have multiple beds)
4x8 foot raised bed is the ideal size (1m x 2.5m). 4-foot width is ideal because the plant can be maintained from either side of the bed without putting pressure on the soil, thus avoiding soil compaction But you can have as long or short as desired of course. And Make sure that there is enough room to get a lawnmower if you plant to keep grass between them.
Consider whether or not you want your raised planter bed to be a permanent fixture or to be more mobile. Make sure to look at your space and where the sun is hitting your yard at various stages of the day, look to see if there is any wind shelter
Design the soil in your raised bed for structure and drainage. If the soil under your raised planter bed is clay make sure your bed is well-draining.
Incorporate plenty of organic matter such as compost and well-aged manure (aged so that it does not burn plant roots). Organic matter improves drainage, moisture retention and soil structure. Ideally, your soil mixture should bind together in your hand when squeezed but easily crumble apart when disturbed. It is a good idea to amend your raised beds with compost or fertilizer before planting your fall crops too. As summer crops such as tomatoes will have used up a lot of nutrients.
Plant what do you like to eat? Do not waste space or time growing something you do not like for have no use for. You do not need to plant a lot of the same vegetables. And be sure to look into vegetables like beets, peas or lettuce that you sow more than once a season. Also consider how many people you are feeding, how much you think you will actually consume.
Remember to rotate vegetable crops from year to year. Different vegetables use different nutrients in the soil so rotating crops each year will ensure your soil has a longer life. It also helps prevent the spread of disease
And lastly, we are so happy you have decided to start your gardening journey! We know your going to be hooked when you harvest your first homegrown vegetable. If you are new to veggie gardening and not sure where to start?
You can get a full complete newbie guide here -> CLICK HERE
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