A raised garden bed can add beauty and function to backyard garden
Raised garden bed gardening is becoming a trend in home gardening for many reasons. For instance, it can keep your yard looking neat and tidy while still enabling you to grow your own plants and vegetables, and weeding activities with a raised bed garden can lead to less back strain since the garden is raised up and there is less leaning involved.
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Depending on the size of the garden you desire, a raised garden bed can be done in planters and pots or containers of various shapes and sizes—even containers you might not originally consider for gardening, such as a shallow plastic child’s swimming pool.
Assuming you want to construct your own raised garden bed, first consider where you will place your garden. You want to select an area that gets ample sunlight and easy access to rain so your plants will flourish. You may also want to make sure your gardening area will be accessible to a garden hose for ease of watering your garden during the dry seasons.
The best way to begin is to mark out the perimeter of the area you want to be your raised bed garden. A long narrow shape is recommended so that you can access the garden from either side to weed between the plants with minimal back strain.
Till up the soil in the area you want to use for your garden, and about six inches beyond the edge of the desired garden area. This is where you will construct the “walls” of your garden. Rake any plant roots out of the soil and discard.
There are several ways to construct the actual walls of your garden. You could purchase a kit that uses materials created from wood fibers and recycled plastic to create. Or you could pour some sand around the perimeter of the garden in the six outside inches and then place retaining wall stones to create and build a wall all the way around the garden to the height desired—just like creating any other short retaining wall.
After the walls are constructed, you need to fill the raised garden bed itself with soil. If you know what you will be planting and certain plants flourish in a particular soil type, you can customize the mix. If not, simple “black dirt” available from a local soil and gravel company will suffice, or you can fill the space with potting soil or other pre-mixed soil formulas. The size of your raised bed garden will probably determine which option you choose due to the cost factor.
Keep some “extra” soil in a wheelbarrow or other container “on the side” as your raised garden bed will probably sink over time as the soil is watered and settles, and you may need to add more soil to the raised bed after a week or so.
Once your raised garden bed is built, it’s really just a matter of planting your seeds or small plants, watering, weeding, and tending your plants just as you would any other garden. The beauty of it is your garden is easy to weed and tend since you can move around it freely and even sit on the retaining wall edges to reach in and weed from a comfortable position. You can also easily mow and trim your lawn around the raised garden bed itself and enjoy a neat, tidy yard along with your fresh vegetables and herbs.
Fred Myers shares his 20 years of experience about vegetable and herb gardens, greenhouses, lawns and landscaping at GardenersGardening.com. Visit his web site for more tips on container and raised bed gardening.
By: Myers Fred
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