How To

Is This Not Another Raised-Bed Garden?

Raised-Bed Gardens

A year ago, I began exploring the benefits of raised bed gardening. I built four raised beds in which to grow tomatoes, peppers, jalapenos, potatoes, onions, sweet peas, rosemary, thyme, cucumbers, and pumpkins. The vegetables and herbs were healthy and thrived, sprouting earlier than had they been planted in an at-grade garden. Because these gardens are raised above grade they absorb solar energy at a faster rate than traditional gardens. This warming of the soil hastens the development of plants in the early spring. As they are raised, they are subject to moisture loss and care should be taken to keep the plants well watered. Mulching the garden with grass clippings, straw, and other neutral materials can help retain moisture during the heat of the day and over longer periods than unprotected soils.

Once the frames of the garden are made, soil and organic material, such as clean straw, composted cotton burrs and leaves are placed within the bed and the garden is ready for use. If you find, as I have, that one garden is not enough, then simply provide 18 inches to two feet of space between gardens at minimum. If desired, mulching between the boxes provides control against weeds (with landscape fabric beneath) and makes a great surface for staging your harvest. Mulching with wood chips and edging can provide an aesthetic perimeter to the garden(s) and produce a pleasant landscaping appeal. Optionally, a perimeter sitting edge can be created by laying and attaching 2×6 lumber about the garden.

Stone, concrete, wood, and earth bermming are among the most common ways to create raised-bed gardens. If you are interested in using wood, use hard woods (such as redwood or cedar) in the stead of pressure-treated lumber, as they will resist corrosion and rot longer than soft woods. For more information on raised garden beds, check out http://www.hgtv.com/.

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