How to Create a Raised Bed Garden
Raised bed gardens offer several advantages over a traditional style, in-ground garden. More food can be grown in the same space and tending to the plants is easier on the gardener’s back. Creating a raised bed garden is simple and the rewards are multiple. Use these tips for creating your own elevated space for growing fresh garden produce.
The location needs to be in full sun and easily accessible to a water source. Select a location that is away from trees and other large growing shrubs so it will minimize the competition for water and nutrients.
Make a Plan
After selecting the location, make a plan for the size and shape of the raised bed garden. Planting beds should be no more than two arm reaches wide so the middle can be accessed from either side without having to step inside the bed.
The beds can be as long and high as desired. All the advantages will be there regardless of length and height; warmer soil for earlier planting, better drainage, the ability to space plants closer together, easier to tend and easier to keep certain pests away from plants.
Creating the Beds
Till the soil of the entire location where the raised beds will be located. Use a flat head shovel to remove soil out of the planned pathways between and around raised beds. Shovel the soil into the areas where plants will be grown.
Create borders for planting beds from materials like wood or concrete blocks. Bed with straight lines will be easier to maintain that curved beds.
Build up garden soil to the same level as border material by adding compost, peat moss, gypsum or top soil.
Water soil thoroughly and allow to set overnight before planting so soil will settle and not have air pockets.
Planting a Raised Bed
Plant seeds or plants according to the instructions, bearing in mind that plants can be grown closer together in a raised bed. If the instructions advise to space plants 8 inches apart, space them 6 inches apart in a raised bed.
The higher concentration of nutrients, reduced competition for nutrients and improved soil drainage allow more plants to be supported in a smaller space when planted in a raised bed.
After plants have reached 6 inches tall, apply a 3 inch layer of organic mulch, like hay, on top of soil. The mulch will help retain soil moisture, prevent weed growth and will add nutrients to the soil as it slowly decomposes. Don’t place mulch against base of plants, leaves a 2 inch circle around plant base free of mulch.