With everyone on this planet fighting to have more space to themselves and the amount of space being limited, people have to think of better and efficient ways to use it. Most people believe that to cultivate your own garden the first thing you need is a space large enough to sustain a garden. This is no longer true, thanks to raised bed gardening.
Raised bed gardening is an innovative method of gardening in which the soil is raised and bound in a frame of concrete, rock, wood etc. and made fertile using compost. These beds can be long or wide but the main characteristic of raised bed gardening is that the vegetables are lot closer to each other and grown in geometric patterns. Compared with conventional farming, in raised bed gardening, the vegetables are so close that when they are fully grown the proximity they share creates a kind of microclimate that retains moisture and is surprisingly effective in discouraging the growth of weeds.
The advantage that this system of raised bed gardening offers is
More in Less Space
Raised bed gardening is the perfect solution for all those people who do not want to give up on their love for gardening in spite of the low space available for it.
Raised bed gardening is perfect for people who can not toil in conventional gardens as they have a problem with their knees or back. Raised bed gardening allows you easy access from all four sides and one can tend to them by just sitting on the edge of the bed. With a lesser problem of weeds it also means that there is less looking after to do.
An ease in construction is a great plus point of raised bed gardening. You do not have to dig and can directly fill up the area with soil and compost without facing the problem of excess rocks or bad soil.
Soil not compacted
The biggest advantage of raised bed gardening is that since you don’t walk on the soil the soil is not compacted under pressure. Which means the soil remains loose and plant roots can grow with ease.
A Rich Harvest
Vegetables tend to grow much better in raised bed gardening. This is because it can receive more sunlight and also because it has better drainage, lesser weeds and more air circulation.
The process of making a raised bed garden involves almost all the steps which are required for making a traditional garden.
Choosing the spot
You have to first decide where you want to make the raised bed garden. Choose a spot that receives enough sunlight and is accessible from all sides. Also make sure that there is an obstacle close by to protect it from strong winds which can dry out the crop. Make your raised bed garden away from any trees as they suck up a lot of water and can cast their shadows on the garden. Do not choose an area that has a gradient but select a flat surface to build your raised bed garden on.
You have to decide the size you want to make your raised bed garden. Do not make it too large such that it becomes inaccessible. In raised bed gardening make sure every inch of the area is easily accessible to you. While determining the size, keep in mind that, as long as you keep the width of the bed to around four feet you can extend the length as you desire. The depth should be at least six inches when it comes to raised bed gardening though making it deeper than that is always helpful and ten to twelve inches is very comfortable for the plants to grow in.
You must prepare the bed once you have determined the size. You get kits in the market which help you create your own bed or you can use brick, wood etc. to raise the bed on your own.
One thing to keep in mind during raised bed gardening is that if you are building your bed on an area that already has grass on it, then, it would be better to remove the grass before you lay the bed. This will assure you do not have any future problems with grass.
In raised bed gardening, it is essential to use good quality top soil. Make sure you also use compost and fertilizers to make sure the bed is rich in nutrients. Once you have filled in the top soil wait for a few days to let it settle and you will see the level go down. Top this up with more soil later on.
Laying out the plants
Make sure your plants are laid out from the north to the south and hence they can receive sunlight from both sides. It is also essential to choose plants which grow best in your local environment. In raised bed gardening plants are grown much closer than in traditional farming so keep that in mind.
In raised bed gardening to prevent rodents, animals from damaging your plants it would be wise to enclose the periphery with barb wire.
Generally with raised bed gardening, the problem of weeds is reduced significantly, but sometimes you can still end up with weeds. In such a small area anything that grows without your intending it to grow is a weed and is stealing vital nutrients away from your plants. Therefore, make sure to regularly remove them. The soil in raised bed gardening is pretty lose so directly pulling them out should not be much of a hassle. The other great advantage with raised bed gardening is that every inch of your bed is accessible so you can keep it under minute surveillance.
There is always a problem with insects and other pests even with raised bed gardening. Therefore, while planting be sure you leave enough space for the air to circulate. Conditions of high humidity and moisture will promote diseases. Check with local nurseries for common pests and solutions.
Maintenance when it comes to raised bed gardening is minimum. Water it regularly and make sure you add fertilizers and compost as well. The level of soil in your bed will reduce as the soil settles; therefore, keep replenishing it with more top soil. Also do not be wary of mulching.
Another thing to keep in mind with raised bed gardening is that you should try to prepare you bed around fall. Besides this follow some of the directives given here and you can be enjoying some fresh vegetables soon enough.
Photo Credit: Sunset.com