There’s nothing like a well-tended vegetable garden with rows and rows of abundant crops, weed-free and lush, sparkling in the afternoon sun. Even if you don’t have a lot of time for gardening, you can still have a productive vegetable garden, no matter the size. And the elevated raised beds can be used to grow vegetables or flowers. 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. Growing in a raised bed, you can have a productive, abundant vegetable garden-even in just a few square feet. Even better, the elevated styles put the garden right at your fingertip.
Photo by eartheasy
How many raised beds should you have?
If your space or time is limited, you might want to start out with just one. If you’re trying to produce lots of your own fresh vegetables, you will probably need at least three or four beds. Raised beds range in height, starting at about 6″. In general, the more soil depth that’s available to your plants, the more freely their roots will grow. More soil also holds more moisture, so a deeper raised bed will require less frequent watering. It is possible to install a raised bed on poor or compacted soil, or even on concrete. If this is the situation you have, buy the deepest bed you can afford. A depth of 10-12″ is preferable. Keep in mind that the deeper the bed, the more soil you’ll need to fill it. Use the Soil Calculator to determine how much soil you’ll need.
If you determine that your garden does need water, there are several
options. A watering wand will deliver quite a bit of water quickly, and
get it right where you want it. To keep your plants healthy and
productive, don’t let the soil dry out completely. Buy a water timer to
automatically turn on a sprinkler or soaker hose . Soaker hoses and drip irrigation systems with emitters leak water
slowly right at soil level, and are a very efficient way to water.
Photo from Toro
Location and Set-up
For optimum plant health and productivity, most vegetables should receive at least eight hours of full sun each day. The more sun, the better, so it makes sense to locate your garden in the sunniest part of your yard. Avoid low, wet areas where the soil could stay soggy. Because your garden will need to be watered during the growing season, you’ll want to have relatively easy access to a hose.
Photo by Gardeners
Good soil is the single most important ingredient for a great garden. Raised beds give you an immediate advantage over a regular garden, because when you fill your raised bed, you can fill it with a blend of soil that’s superior to the native soil in backyard. Soil that’s loose and rich with nutrients and organic matter will allow the roots of your plants to grow freely, and ensure that they have access to the water and nutrients they need to sustain healthy growth. When you’re filling the beds, be sure to mix in some granular fertilizer, which will get the plants off to a good start.
What to Plant
Fill your garden with the types of vegetables you like to eat. If you’re big on salads, plant head lettuce, a lettuce cutting mix, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots. If you love cooking or planting onions and peppers, leeks, potatoes and herbs, then I’d recommend on trying to include at least one vegetable that’s new to you. Discovery is half the fun. Choose vegetables that you like to eat — or try something that’s new to you.
Photo by Gardeners