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How to Prepare the Ideal Garden Bed with Raised Bed Gardening

raised-gardenThe best thing you can do for your yearly harvest of produce, or for the best looking ornamental plants, is to construct the best growing space for them before you begin seeding and planting. Different plants have different needs, but there is a generalized type of garden bed that will grow most all popular and commonly available plants beautifully. And, preparing the best garden bed isn’t a terribly difficult task. Here is a simple method to prepare the ideal garden bed, suitable for most ornamentals and produce gardening.

Most plants require deep, very well-draining soil comprised heavily of broken down organic material. A good, basic way to accomplish this without much work is to create a raised garden bed and fill it with ideal soil right off the bat. This requires no digging or removal of sod, no tilling, and can be done on hard clay soils and improve on ground soils that are less than ideal for planting.

There are many kinds of raised garden beds. Commonly, frames made out of wood or any other available material in the shape of boxes set on the ground is a popular starting point for a raised garden bed, to be filled with soil later. You can use landscape block, bales of hay or straw, old tires, rocks, or whatever you have to frame a bed. Another method of raised bed gardening is called lasagna gardening, and similar in nature is a method called hegelkultur gardening. Both of these methods can be done in a frame, but are typically done without permanent borders. Both employ the strategic layering of different raw materials and are allowed to compost themselves over time.

Soil best for filling typical framed raised beds consists of ready to use fully rotted down compost. You can make this on your own or more commonly purchase it in bags from your local garden center. Make your raised bed at least 6 inches deep, and you can lay the compost into the raised bed right on the ground and the volume of the soil will kill the weeds and sod underneath. You can work in some manure or fertiliser of choice into the compost as well at the time of filling the bed. Beds constructed this way are ready to be planted in right away. A deep layer of compost will drain perfectly yet retain moisture well, and with mixed in fertilizer, the plants will be fed sufficiently for a long time.

Every fall or end of the growing season, work more compost and manure/choice of fertiliser into the raised bed, or mulch your bed well if you’ve constructed a permanent bed for ornamentals. The addition of mycorrhizae is helpful also. Good mulches break back down into the raised bed quickly, such as wood shavings, grass clippings, and shredded fallen tree leaves.

We hope this guide helps you prepare the ideal garden bed with the raised bed method. Raised beds are a fast, simple way to make instant space for plants and will help them thrive for years and produce heavy food crops.

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