A lot people nowadays love to do gardening activities and producing their own food at home.
This is a very good trend as by doing gardening activities it does not only help you in producing high quality and safe foods to be consumed but also can help to save a little bit of your money from buying the vegetables.
Gardening can also be a good exercise and recreation activities that you can do with your family especially the small children, as small kids like to do outdoor activities.
One of the famous methods to grow vegetables that are used widely by many home gardeners is planting vegetables in raised beds.
Planting your vegetables in the raised beds could give you a few advantages compare if you plant them straight away into the soil.
A few major benefits are as listed below:
a) Having raised beds in your garden could help in reducing the compaction of you soil.
This is because you are not allowed to access beyond the border of the raised beds.
All the maintenance and harvesting works can only be done from the outside of the soil containers.
b) Avoiding Soil-Borne Pests
Soil-borne pest such as slugs and snails will find very hard for them to go and destroy your beloved vegetable plants as they first need to climb up the borders in order to reach to your plants.
And if they are actually trying to climb and go into your raised beds, you can easily spot them and take necessary action to save your plants.
The soil that you are going to use to put into the raised beds are also usually very fertile and healthy as well as well treated and therefore most of the time is free from pathogens that can cause diseases.
c) Reduce Weeds.
Planting your vegetables with raised beds will immensely reduce the weeding works that you need to do.
d) Easy to do the gardening works.
As the raised beds are higher from the ground level you will find it is easier for you to do the gardening activities as your do not have to bend too much.
This feature is very helpful for senior people to avoid the back pain or injuries and also helpful and comfortable for disable people to do gardening activities.
e) Avoid Erosion
As your soil is being contained by structures, it will avoid your fertile soil from being carried away by the rain water.
f) Proper Drainage
The soil used in the raised beds is also usually had been carefully selected and have a very good soil structure that are not too compact or too loose. This will allow water and air to penetrate in the optimum rate and condition for plants growth.
Besides being used for planting purposes, a nice designed and arrangements of raised bed could also beautify your garden area.
This is very good especially for people who planting vegetables around their house.
Raised Bed Preparation
Raised beds usually deemed as a very simple thing to do but actually a lot of considerations need to be thought prior constructing it into your garden.
A few suggested considerations that you should take note before making and during the making of any raised beds are as follows:
a) How high you want it to be?
The height is very important when making a raised bed. The major factor in deciding the height of the raised beds is the type of the plants that you wanted to grow and your accessibility
When considering the type of plants to grow it is actually not to consider about the exterior looked of the plants but you need to consider regarding the roots of the plants.
Different type of plants have different type of root growth characteristics. For example tomatoes plants need a deep soil so that its roots can grow deeper in search of nutrients compare to the cabbage plants’ root that only penetrating the soil a few inches from the soil surface.
If you are looking for good results and acceptable good yields from your gardening efforts it is really important that you really look into this matter.
Regarding the accessibility, you need to consider on the ways of how are you going to do the gardening works.
For example, senior people especially with back pain need to consider of having a little higher type of raised beds compare to young and energetic people so that they do not have to bend too much when doing the gardening works.
b) Double digging
There are many experts in this field that are advising gardeners to double dig your existing soil before putting any soil on top of it.
This is to improve the soil’s structure of the existing soil and to allow the plants’ roots to penetrate deeper into the soil instead of just depending on the raised bed soil that you have provided.
Double digging can also help you to clear all the unwanted materials such as stones and trees roots from the existing soil.
The meaning of double digging for those who have not heard about this is loosening the soil by digging two times into the soil. One dig is equal to the depth of a spade.
When doing the double digging you are also advice to put some soil amendments such as organic matter or compost to improve the drainage and soil structure of the existing soil.
After you have done the double digging process then you can put your planting soil for the raised beds on top of the existing soil.
For your information, double digging only need to be done only when you are planning to do the raised beds on the ground. If you are planning to do it on top of cement surface such as on the pathways then you do not need to do the double digging as it is impossible to dig the cement. Just put your planting soil on top of the cement or pathways.
c) The Lay-Out of You Raised Beds.
The lay-out of your raised beds is very important for your plants to received adequate sunlight for optimal growth especially if you are planting different types of plants with different type of heights in a raised bed.
It is advisable for you to arrange you raised beds to facing the south direction; this is because as the sun move from east to west your plants will not be shaded by each other and with that all plants will be getting the same amount of sunlight.
However, when you read around the web, there are also people who are advising to put your raised beds to the east or west direction with the same reasoning and they are also having good result from their gardening activities with this type of lay out arrangement.
Actually there are no concrete proof of which direction is the best that you need to follow to lay your raised beds. Just look around your property area and then you can decide by yourself how you want to arrange the raised beds for optimum result from your gardening activities.
d) Plants planting arrangement.
When planting your plants, please arrange them accordingly and correctly so that all plants could get access for nutrients and sunlight.
For example, you can arrange and mix deep-rooted plants with shallow-rooted plants in a planting bed so that it will be less competition for nutrients uptake.
This is due to the deep-rooted plants will acquire nutrients that are available deeper within the soil and the shallow rooted plants will acquire the nutrients within a few inches from the soil surface.
You also need to arrange your plants according their heights so that small plants will not be shaded by the tall plants in order for them to receive adequate sunlight for healthy growth.
You need to make sure that your raised beds have a proper drainage system. This is important so that excessive water would not be clogged within the beds that eventually will affect the plants growth.
If you have done what have been advice earlier, that is to first double dig the existing soil before putting the planting soil on top of it, usually you will not be facing any problems with the drainage.
In you are facing water clogging problems within your raised beds for some reason such as your raised beds are on top of a cement, you can make a small hole at the bottom at any of the sides of the raised beds.
This will allow water to flow out from your raised beds.
f) Growing the plants
In term of growing the plants, there are not much can be said as you just need to do normal activities and procedures like any other vegetables planting activities.
You can always put mulches on top of the soil surface to get rid of the weeds and to retain the soil moisture.
You also need to supply the vegetables plants that have been planted with suitable fertilizers.
You also need to water your plants frequently depending on the plants need.
With all the points stated above, i think you already have some ideas on how to plan and grow vegetables with raised beds.
You will also be able to make your own raised beds as most of the important points on how to build a good raised bed for successful gardening have already been highlighted.
I would also like to hear from you, if any of you have experience with raised bed gardening and wants to share your experience here, please write it in the comment section below.
Anyone who has any questions can also ask in the comment section below and i would be very happy to help you.