Raised bed gardening is becoming increasingly popular, particularly in yards with smaller spaces, and for people with limited mobility or back issues. Container gardening may take a little more time to get started, but it is in many ways easier gardening. As I get a little older myself, I’m becoming a big believer in the adage, “work smarter, not harder.” When you plan your new garden, think about the following considerations: ease of use, depth of soil, drainage and nutrients. Ask yourself, “How far are you willing to, or comfortably able to bend over?” A garden which is difficult, or painful, to maintain sometimes becomes a neglected garden.
A very popular height for a raised bed garden is 14″. For best results, there should be another 10″ or more of good soil below the bed. This gives your plants at least 18 – 24″ of soil. Some popular vegetables require a greater soil depth than others. Remember to check recommended depth for the roots of the crops you plant. Tap roots will travel deeper into the soil if nutrients and water are available, and this also brings more trace minerals to the plant. Larger vegetable plants will send down deeper roots. When plants are able to send their roots deeper, they are less likely to fall over in windy conditions, or if the ground becomes too wet. Large-leafed, shallow-rooted plants such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower will still require staking to ensure they stay upright as they grow to maturity.
A container garden that allows for 18-24 inches of soil also provides sufficient drainage for most crops. If bending over is a concern, plan a garden bed which is 18-24 inches deep, on top of your existing topsoil.
Nutrients such as compost and fertilizers are added to the garden bed from above and lightly tilled in. Mulches can also be ‘top-dressed’ throughout the growing season, and gradually decompose into the top layer of soil adding additional nutrients, without added fertilization.
Finally, we at the Organic Gurl’z Gardens of Fort Wayne, Indiana recommend the use of a cold frame, which can be set on top of the garden bed during early spring to protect young seedlings and transplants from late frosts and strong winds.
It won’t be long before you’ll reap what you sow, and enjoy the fruits (vegetables) of your labor. Fresh, home grown vegetables compliment any meal in your kitchen.
“Let The Muddy, Messy Girl Build Your Garden Today”
The Organic Gurl’z Gardens
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