As one in three American households grow their own food, it’s pretty well known what you need to help plants grow. Some seeds, water, sunlight, and quality soil will ensure that your organic plants grow tall and healthy.
Since everything starts with your bed, here is everything you need to know to build raised garden beds. Follow these four tips to ensure your beds give you everything you need this coming growing season.
No matter what you’re growing, you need to consider how much space the roots need and how much width they’ll need when they flower. When you’re creating a raised garden bed, there are some standard sizes. The standard one is going to be three-to-four feet wide and end up being around eight feet long.
When you create beds like this, they’re going to be much easier to access than a large and wide bed. A series of raised beds can give you a lot more healthy plants than one that’s larger and harder to manage.
There are some serious advantages to being able to reach into your raised bed from the side to plant and to weed. If you have to step into the garden to work, you could compact the soil and make it hard to deal with later.
Consider your height as well. If your raised beds are going to be on top of a harder surface, they need to be deep enough for plant roots to grow. A bed that’s only five inches deep will give you some short stubby carrots.
If you want to grow root vegetables, they should be at least 12 inches deep. The more room you give roots to grow, the further they can reach into the soil and gather water. You’ll get healthier and sturdier stalks when you create deep beds for your plants.
When you’re looking for where to put your raised beds, think about it carefully. Location makes a big difference when it comes to growing plants. The great thing about building raised beds is that they can be moved to the ideal location pretty easily.
If you have a shady backyard but a short sunny front yard, raised beds can be placed in that sunny spot to give you the highest yields. If you build sturdy beds that are also easy to move, you could even grow vegetables on the fire escape of your city apartment. What is other an eyesore of a metal grating outside of your window could be a view of a lovely garden.
Consider how the area drains wherever you put your raised beds. If you leave your plants drowning in an area that floods, all of your hard work could be ruined.
Spend some time choosing the right location by looking at what your neighbors are doing. If they’ve been around longer, they know where the best light can be found.
If you’re building your raised beds on an area that has a lot of grass on it, contending with the current growth is a challenge. Many people struggle to deal with the grass that sits on the site where they want to put their raised beds.
Cutting out and lifting sod is a difficult task without a backhoe. Compacted dense soil that has grass growing on it is heavy and hard to handle.
Rather than struggling with the grass, instead figure out where you want to build and measure out space. Cover it with a piece of cardboard and then put a layer of soil on top of that. The grass underneath will break down and then you’ll have a place to start gardening.
If you want to ensure that the grass breaks down completely and you can start gardening in the spring, do this in the fall. Throughout the winter, the grass will die, breakdown, and feed the soil. You’ll end up with a healthy foundation for growth.
Follow our guide to ensure that the rest of your lawn looks good.
Depending on your set up, you might want to put in an irrigation system. This will ensure that your plants will be watered properly, on time, and at the right amount every time. If you set up a faucet with a timer, you’ll ensure that your plants are grown as much as possible.
A drip irrigation system could be linked to a rain barrel or a tap. If you have a tap in your basement or outside your house, a hose could be linked up with some small holes drilled into it. Draped over your plants, when turned on, a perforated hose will push water out through the holes at even increments.
For the best results, you could bury your hose underneath your bed areas before they’re finished and filled in. Then the hose can irrigate the dirt directly. One of the major issues with watering plants is that the water can dry up quickly or burn leaves in the hot sun.
If you live in a dry and hot climate, watering your plants will be a constant struggle. Getting your water into the soil will be challenging if you don’t have a way to ensure the water gets down there. A buried hose can be your best bet to giving your plants what they need.
When you’re growing organic foods, you’re going to want to avoid using pesticides in your raised garden beds. When you build raised beds, you make it easier to pull out weeds, prune damage leaves, and clean up your beds. Instead of having to trudge through your garden, you get the access you need without any of the hassles.
If you want to decorate the region around your beds with wood chips, check out our latest guide.