Raised Garden Bed

Raised Garden Bed

Location, Location A 3 x 6-ft bed should be wide enough to support sprawling tomatoes, but narrow enough to reach easily from both sides. The ideal height is 1 to 2 ft tall—you can go taller, but you need a considerable amount of soil to fill a 3-ft-high bed. Don’t fill the bed with dirt from the garden. Instead, use peat moss, compost or a soil mix for planters. Use a 2 x 4 to level the soil,then plant. If possible, build more than one bed, which makes it easier to rotate crops and meet the watering needs of specific plants. Aligning beds in straight rows simplifies the installation of an irrigation system.Finding a flat spot spares a lot of digging—you want the walls to be level. In general, a north-south orientation takes full advantage of available light. Stay close to the kitchen, but avoid sites shaded by the house or beneath messy trees. Leave at least 18 in. between beds for walkways, or 2 ft if you need room for a wheelbarrow or lawnmower. Jody Rogac Planning, Building To prepare the site, get rid of turf and weeds. Outline the bed dimensions on the ground with chalkline or string, then dig with vertical strokes along the outline, just deep enough to bury about half of your first course of lumber. Raised beds are designed so water trickles down, eliminating most of the problem of poor drainage. But if your only viable location is bogged in a marsh, you can prevent the “bathtub effect” by digging a few inches deeper and putting a layer of coarse stone or pea gravel in the excavation. (You can also install perforated drainage pipes in trenches under or around the bed, or just drill weep holes at the base of the sides.) Likewise, if there is no turf between your beds, put down some landscape fabric and cover it with pavers or a layer of gravel to improve drainage—after running out in the rain for a fresh bell pepper, you’ll appreciate the mud-free shoes.Level the earth or gravel layer at the bottom of the bed, then put down a layer of weed-suppressing landscape fabric that extends to the outer edge of the wooden frame. Now is also the time to think about pest control. “The rich soil in a raised bed has worms and other delicacies that attract moles, and gophers and voles relish young veggie roots,” Sausalito, Calif., garden designer Tom Wilhite says. “To keep out burrowing pests I always recommend a bottom layer of hardware cloth”—a mesh grid of steel or galvanized metal.Build each wall separately, then fasten them together and put the bed into position. Raised-bed builders often sink posts into the ground for stability, either at the inside corners of the bed or halfway along the side walls. These help hold the bed in place, but can also reduce the outward pressure that a full bed exerts on the frame, which can dislodge the lumber after a single season. A cap railing that runs around the top of the bed ties everything together. Plus, it provides a handy place to set down gardening tools while working, or, when you’re done, a seat to admire the fruits of your labor. Bed covers ward off insects and keep plants warm in cool weather. Jody RogacAdvertisement – Continue Reading Below Greenhouse Effect A simple framework of hoops and a lightweight cover can extend your growing season in cool areas, conserve moisture in dry areas and protect plants from birds or insects. Use galvanized pipe straps to mount 1-in. PVC pipe inside the bed walls. Cut ½-in. flexible PVC tubing twice as long as the beds’ width. Bend it, mount it and clip a cover in place. Use clear polyethylene film to raise soil and air temperatures in early spring or fall—to get an early start on heirloom tomatoes, for instance, or to try your hand at exotic squashes. But be careful not to bake your plants on warmer days. Remove the cover or slit vents in it to avoid excessive heat buildup. For pest control, cover the bed with bird netting or with gauzelike fabrics known as floating row covers, which keep out flying insects but let in both light and air. Jody Rogac Watering Once you add an automatic watering system to your raised-bed garden, you’re free to plant, weed and harvest. A simple micro-irrigation setup ensures that plants get water consistently—especially important for seedlings and leaf crops such as lettuce. “The sides of raised beds heat up quickly in the sun, baking the moisture out of the soil,” Wilhite says. “Irrigation delivers the water evenly and gently. You can set your timer to water early in the morning—less will evaporate, and you resist disease.”A basic setup starts with a faucet or hose-bib attachment that is essentially a series of valves that prevent back flow into the plumbing, filter the water and control the water pressure.These valves are designed with 1-in. or ¾-in. connections. From these, attach supply lines of flexible ½-in. poly tubing. The tubing’s accessibility makes it easy to check for leaks and repair damage from punctures or bursts. To protect the tubing, bury it a few inches and cover the line with mulch.Lay the tubing along the beds in lines 12 in. apart. Fit sections together with compression elbow and T-fittings. Install drip emitters at 12-in. intervals along the length of the tubing for even delivery of moisture to plants. Low-volume sprayers or misters on risers can also be used, but these lose more water to evaporation. Close the ends of each line with hose-end plugs and caps. Then sit back and let the system water for you.(Read more pro tips on raised beds here.) Jody Rogac
raised garden bed 1

Raised Garden Bed

Raised garden beds, also called garden boxes, are great for growing small plots of veggies and flowers. They keep pathway weeds from your garden soil, prevent soil compaction, provide good drainage and serve as a barrier to pests such as slugs and snails. The sides of the beds keep your valuable garden soil from being eroded or washed away during heavy rains. In many regions, gardeners are able to plant earlier in the season because the soil is warmer and better drained when it is above ground level. By raising the soil level, raised garden beds also reduce back strain when bending over to tend the bed. This is especially helpful to older gardeners or people with bad backs. And if the beds are built well, the gardener can sit on the edge of the bed while weeding, and for some gardeners this is the biggest benefit of all. Raised beds are not the same as garden planters. Planters are elevated containers which have bottoms to prevent the soil from falling out. Planter bottoms usually are slatted, with some type of semi-permeable cloth barrier which permits drainage. Raised beds, however, do not have bottoms; they are open to the ground, which offers the benefit of permitting plant roots to go further into the ground for available nutrients. Raised garden beds are available in a variety of different materials, or they can be made with relative ease.
raised garden bed 2

Raised Garden Bed

Planning, Building To prepare the site, get rid of turf and weeds. Outline the bed dimensions on the ground with chalkline or string, then dig with vertical strokes along the outline, just deep enough to bury about half of your first course of lumber. Raised beds are designed so water trickles down, eliminating most of the problem of poor drainage. But if your only viable location is bogged in a marsh, you can prevent the “bathtub effect” by digging a few inches deeper and putting a layer of coarse stone or pea gravel in the excavation. (You can also install perforated drainage pipes in trenches under or around the bed, or just drill weep holes at the base of the sides.) Likewise, if there is no turf between your beds, put down some landscape fabric and cover it with pavers or a layer of gravel to improve drainage—after running out in the rain for a fresh bell pepper, you’ll appreciate the mud-free shoes.Level the earth or gravel layer at the bottom of the bed, then put down a layer of weed-suppressing landscape fabric that extends to the outer edge of the wooden frame. Now is also the time to think about pest control. “The rich soil in a raised bed has worms and other delicacies that attract moles, and gophers and voles relish young veggie roots,” Sausalito, Calif., garden designer Tom Wilhite says. “To keep out burrowing pests I always recommend a bottom layer of hardware cloth”—a mesh grid of steel or galvanized metal.Build each wall separately, then fasten them together and put the bed into position. Raised-bed builders often sink posts into the ground for stability, either at the inside corners of the bed or halfway along the side walls. These help hold the bed in place, but can also reduce the outward pressure that a full bed exerts on the frame, which can dislodge the lumber after a single season. A cap railing that runs around the top of the bed ties everything together. Plus, it provides a handy place to set down gardening tools while working, or, when you’re done, a seat to admire the fruits of your labor. Bed covers ward off insects and keep plants warm in cool weather. Jody Rogac

Raised Garden Bed

Raised Garden Bed
Raised Garden Bed
Raised Garden Bed
Raised Garden Bed