The Secrets of Building a Raised Garden Bed
I always find that the fall is a great time of the year to start to plan your garden for the next year. You are busy harvesting and cleaning up your ground and getting things ship shape again after a very
untidy late summer, when everything is overflowing, Maybe there are things that you have wanted to do in your garden for a long time but never had the time to get round to. One of them, perhaps making raised beds to divfnd your growing space better The thing to rember when making raised beds and that is that it is your garden and you can make them to any size that you like or need.
Making raised beds will improve the over all look of your garden as well as making the soil and beds much easer to manage. Also, raised beds are very usefull if you are on any sort of slope as the raised bed will stop erosion. As we know working on a slope can be difficult, but not so with raised beds. I know it is a lot more extra work to set up but once that is done, your garden life will be much more of a joy.
There will be quite a number of things to check out before you start to make your bed. The first one will be, just where are you going to put your new bed?You must think of the sun in particular, for most plants will need at least 6 hours of full sunshine per day, so there is a need to avoid shade. Also keep the bed well away form overhanging trees for two reasons: shade and the roots of the tree will suck all the water out of the soil.
When you have found the right position for your new bed, you must think, what will it look like? Will it fit in? If you use a professional garden design company, they will make sure that everything is just right but it will cost you an arm and a leg. Why pay out?, after all you have the whole of the winter to set this up. To get an idea of what and how to do the job; pop down to the local library and take a look in books and magazines to give you ideas for your new beds. Also, if you are that way inclined, take a look on the web. There you will found plenty of help in the way of garden design software, but once again it will cost money.
When you have an idea in you head what you want your raised to bed to look like the next thing to decide is: what you will make it out of. This can be anything. Stone, wood, bricks, breeze blocks, or metal sheeting.
There are a number of things to think about here;
Do you want the beds to all look the same?
What material do you already have to hand?
How much money are you going to spend on it?
Is there anywhere that you can pick up material for free?
All of the above need looking into but there is one important point to make and think about and that is that you will be growing food in the bed and so do not rush out and buy "sleepers" or any other treated wood because some to the treatments that are used might not be the best for your soil.
You can also buy ready made kits if you do not have the skill to do the work from scratch.
Getting your site ready to work on should be your next point. The bed should be level. A good working size for a raised bed is about four feet by eight feet. Nevertheless, this can be adapted to fit the space available in your garden. Do not be tempted to make the bed too large because this will cause your problems in the future when it comes to working on the bed. Some people advise using a laying a weed barrier fabric to help cut down on the weeds coming through but this is not a good idea because your crops like parsley, carrots will not be able to grown downwards as they should. The result of that is a failed crop and discouragement.
Now your are ready to build your bed with your chosen materials. Remember to keep it level and make sure that the materials are pegged to the ground to stop them moving and being pushed about by the soil or growing plants. To peg the bed down you could use stakes that are hammered into the ground and then the bed edges are screwed onto the stake. Make sure that the stakes are level or slightly lower then the raised bed.
Now that you have build, your bed it is time to fill it in with soil. This is a very important point and could change the whole of the outcome of the bed. The question is what sort of soil have you got? If it is noot good or clay you can change the structure of the soil by digging round down and adding good quality compost or animal manure to provide good growing soil for future crops. Both soil and compost can be bought from garden supply companies or online from garden nurseries. Many garden supply companies will deliver saving you the back breaking task of getting it home yourself.
If there is no rain in the near future then the soil should be water down and left to settle. After a while, you may find that you have to top up the level of the soil because it has sunk a bit. If you do the soil bit of the making of your bed right you will not need to dig for years to come. The whole idea of a raised bed is not to walk on it but to work from either side. The only tools that you will need will be a hoe, dipper, rake and kneeling matt. A garden sieve will also come in handy if your soil is stony.
If your grow flowers or vegetables, the same amount of garden design can go into it as any other part of your garden. Having spent money, time and effort building your raised bed you can enlarge it very simply by adding height. Many vegetables such as tomatoes and runner beans grow up canes. Garden obelisks for clematis to climb up will make the most of the space in your raised garden bed.
Your raised garden beds need not be limited to the back garden or yard for they do very well in the front or side garden as well. The main thing about the whole affair is to enjoy it .