Gardening is not only a fulfilling activity for leisure time but the inner satisfaction when a gardener (because we are definitely calling ourselves that these days) experiences their efforts yielding successful organic harvest, it’s is a priceless moment. Raised garden beds are becoming popular for many reasons these days. With the exponential surge in urbanization, agri-lands and fertile grounds are shrinking. For gardeners with less space, raised bed gardening is an outstanding option to start cultivating organic herbs, vegetables, and fruits at home. We’re going to help you along the way as we share our top tips for a successful raised garden bed.
Today the most-liked option amongst professional gardeners and horticulturists is raised bed gardening, as enclosed boxes enable plants to grow in a more nurtured environment and produce a generous yield in small areas. Also, these beds offer the freedom of soil modifications and enable gardeners to alter the soil nutrients precisely as per their crop needs.
Beginners and landscape gardeners should contemplate a few factors before starting their raised bed gardens. We’ve learned a lot along the way. Remember, last year was our first successful planting season with our raised bed garden. So, let’s get started with our beginner’s guide to set up your organic raised beds garden.
1. Select a Place in The Sun
Selection of a site for raised bed garden seems a trivial task, but it is a significant step in setting up a beautiful and healthy garden. Although beds’ settings may vary depending on the regional temperatures and plant type.
- Ideally, a place that receives sunlight for a good seven or more hours would be the perfect location in regions with optimal climatic temperatures.
- In colder regions, the success formula is the more the sunlight, the better the in-bed crops.
- Shaded locations are preferred for hot and tropical climatic zones to protect plants against flaming temperatures.
2. Clean the Selected Space
After choosing the perfect place, the next step is to clean it. It is crucial to remove all the unwanted grass and weeds as later they will grow in the beds’ soil and suck all nutrients. This will ultimately affect the growth of plants.
You can either pull all the weeds and grass with a rake tool or dig the soil with a shovel and thoroughly clean weeds and dead roots from it.
If the selected place has mice, rodents, or pests, pick non-harmful methods, such as soil solarization – a non-chemical technique that employs solar energy to raise the underneath soil temperature to slay the vermin, pests, and weeds from it.
3. Preparation of Soil Mix
The arcane ingredient in the success of any raised bed garden is good soil. Raised beds enable gardeners to grow varieties of crops in a single small space as they can fill these beds with a blend of superior soil mix.
The modified soil mixture has enriched nutrients and organic matter, with slackly bound soil specks that allow plant roots to spread profusely and absorb more nutrients to sustain healthy growth.
At this stage, soil proportion is an important factor as it varies with the size of raised beds. For most plants, the following approximate soil proportions produce good crops:
- Topsoil 60%
- Compost 30%
- Potting soil 10% (it is a soilless mix consisting of perlite, moss, peat, and vermiculite)
The above proportions are for general gardens and they may vary as per specific herbs or vegetables. We are on the coast, so we used a mushroom compost addition to the above, that worked beautifully in our garden.
4. Plan the Most Suitable Irrigation System for Your Garden
An efficient irrigation system is necessary to prevent raised beds from water-borne diseases and excessive dryness due to inconsistent watering. Apt watering is the fundamental factor in a plant’s growth and a healthy yield.
Numerous irrigation choices like soaker hoses sprinkle systems, drip irrigation, and automatic watering are available. However, soaker hose systems and drip irrigation are the most economical and efficient options. Thus, plan and install one of the best-matched irrigation designs as per your raised bed garden needs.
Since we travel quite often, we don’t want to neglect our garden, so when we are away, we use a sunrise daily water timer that waters our garden as soon as the sun rises- the best time to water your garden, anyway.
5. Don’t Forget to Mulch the Beds
Mulch is the technique of spreading organic manure, decayed leaves, barks, and sawdust on the top of the soil to prevent it from dryness. After planting, it is essential to mulch the top of raised beds to produce high-quality harvests. Mulching ebbs weed growth, enhances soil fertility, controls ground temperatures, deters erosion, and furnishes an aesthetic appearance to the garden. Thus, if you want to design an aesthetic raised beds garden at a pocket-friendly cost, go ahead and mulch your beds.
6. Build In-Bed Root Barriers
When it comes to avoiding excess weed or grass growth, soil barriers are highly economical and practical options. These barriers are available in markets but mostly are of commercial grade. You can use paper grocery bags on the bottom of your garden, prior to putting your soil in. These barriers can be modified by using mesh-like cloth, flexible nets, or other materials that can be recycled and are safe for the environment.
7. Fluff the Soil
Between different seasons, plow the in-bed soil to slacken the tight particles and allow new plants’ roots to grow well. New gardeners can fluff the in-bed soil as deep as possible with simple tools like a stick or fork. Keep the eight to twelve-inch distance in each row to nicely loosen the particles.
8. Always Cover Raised Bed Soil
After reaping every harvest, always layer the soil top with the organic mulch to protect the soil from drying. When in-bed soil’s top layer gets exposed to extreme climate conditions, it becomes hard and eroded. And in later seasons, it will require lots of tedious work to grow anything in such ground. Thus, always spread a mulch or grow cover crops to avoid soil degradation.
9. Start with Annual Cover Crops
Cover crops could be a good start for newbie gardeners as they enrich the soil and protect it from erosion. Crops like alfalfa, rye, peas, legumes, crimson clover, etc. could be grown easily at the end of every seasonal harvest. To maintain soil nitrogen levels, crimson clover works really well. It also prepares in-bed grounds for the successive organic produce.
10. Build Edible Organic Raised Beds Garden
Thoughtful planning can turn simple raised beds into an appealing destination in the backyard. Beginners can design aesthetically satisfying raised bed gardens with the collection of their favorite vegetables, herbs, and floral plants. Even better, you can purchase beautiful and sustainable beds like ours from Eartheasy.
Pairing herbs or vegetables with lovely blooming plants is a helpful tip to attract pollinators to the garden. Also, such greens attract helpful predatory insects that eat pests and leave behind a healthy agri-eco environment.
Raised bed gardening is not only a space-efficient but a cost-effective approach. In the beginning, it will require more effort but after setting up it only needs maintenance. The most exciting part of all the activities is the home-grown organic vegetables, fruits, flowers, and herbs. It also promotes such a fulfilling delight to gather your harvest each round from your hard work.
This season, we hope you begin your green thumb journey with raised beds. Happy Gardening! If you haven’t joined our Get Outdoors Challenge, this is a great time to do so. You can start anytime, and gardening is a wonderful way to begin!
We’d like to thank our friends over at Eartheasy for our Natural Cedar Raised Garden Beds this year. Eartheasy is a family business committed to bringing you practical products and information for sustainable living. Eartheasy shares what they have learned from nearly 40 years of living close to the land. We love Eartheasy and are genuinely proud to be a partner with them.
Disclosure: We only recommend products we would use ourselves and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that are at no additional cost to you. We may earn a small commission from them. All efforts are made to ensure that affiliate links are disclosed in accordance with the FTC.