The Road to a Successful Raised Bed Garden
Published: June 05, 2020
Raised beds have many benefits over their traditional garden counter parts. However there can be a few drawbacks so here are some ways you can be more successful in your adventure.
Mulch your garden after planting, whether it is wood chips, leaves, grass clippings, or straw adding a mulch layer will help reduce the amount of weeding you will have to do over the season and also help keep the soil from drying out.
Setup an Irrigation System
Whether it is a soaker hose or drip irrigation having an irrigation system setup in your raised bed can save you a lot of time that would be spent standing around with a hose. Planning your irrigation a head of time can also give you the best results and save water at the same time.
Install a Barrier
Whether there are trees around or you just want to ensure that you won't have weeds growing through, consider installing a weed barrier at the bottom of the bed. If you have an already established bed and continually battling roots while it may be a lot of work you can remove the soil, place a barrier and then refill the bed.
Don't Walk on it
One of the biggest benefits of raised beds is the soil, when building your raised bed you should take care to consider the ability to reach every part of it without having to walk on the soil. If you find that you must walk in parts of the bed we find it best to use boards or pavers to create a path to walk so you don't disturb the soil.
Compost your Bed
A raised bed is essentially a large container and like a container the soil will settle and nutrients will deplete over time. You can prevent this by adding a layer of compost or manure in the spring before planting.
Loosen the Soil
Over time the soil may become slightly compacted, to remedy this you can fluff the soil with a hand trowel with little to no effort.
Use Annual Cover Crops
After the growing season plant some annual cover crops such as ryegrass or crimson clover to provide nutrients to the soil, reduce erosion and fix the nitrogen content of the soil in your raised bed.
At the end of the growing season it is best to add a layer of mulch or plant a cover crop because soil that is exposed to the harsh elements of winter can break down and compact much faster than soil that is protected.
With a little planning you can start your growing season a little earlier next year or extend your growing well into the fall. Installing some supports for a low tunnel or cold frame can help protect your plants from frost.
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