This is part of my Organic Gardening Guide Series 2021: 8 Tips to Follow.
8 Tips to Follow Before Deciding Where to Put Your Raised Garden Beds:
January 31, 2021
These tips are presented in a YouTube video by Kevin from Epic Gardening.
• Determine your gardens orientation:
Your plants need 6-8 hours of sun each day. To achieve this condition you will have to make sure that your raised planting beds are exposed to the south! Study the area that you plan to place your raised beds. Note the amount of sun over that area during different times of the day. You can tell the orientation of your garden by observing where the sun rises, and sets. I used the Compass on my iPhone to figure it out:
• Create a plan for how to irrigate your raised beds:
Decide prIor to the planting what method you will use after planting to water your plants. It can be as simple as a watering can or hose. It can also be as elaborate as a drip irrigation system. They sell drip irrigation kits that include everything you will need. Some kits even include timers! The following is an irrigation kit that I will be using in my garden (from Lowe’s):
Raindrip Drip Irrigation Patio Kit
• Amend your soil prior to planting:
As you gather and order your materials, you must make sure to purchase the best soil that your budget allows. There are nurseries that sell special soil that is amended specifically for raised bed gardens. There are special ratios of the mixture of minerals and other nutrients. One of the key ingredients to include in amending the soil is compost! You can make your own compost, or you may chose to purchase it at your local nursery. The better you prepare your soil, the better that your plants will flourish!
• Leave space between your planting beds:
A minimum distance of two feet between raised beds allows you to easily access all of the garden. The University of California recommends four feet between raised beds for maneuverability and to ensure the plants in one bed don’t block the sun for the other raised beds.
• Allow enough room between your plantings:
Pests, including aphids and mites, can also more easily move between plants if they are spaced so closely that they touch. When plants grow with proper spacing, air can move freely between the plants, stems and foliage, which dries out the leaves and prevents fungal infections.
Optimum size for raised beds:
Raised beds are best kept to a maximum of four feet (1.2m) wide. This makes it easy to reach the middle of the beds without stepping on the soil. Beds against a wall or fence should be about 2-3 feet (60-90cm) wide, as you’ll only have access from one side. The size of your raised beds will also depend largely on your budget, and on how durable you wish them to be. For example, I began researching wooden raised planting beds, but I have decided to choose metal raised beds because of the increased durability. This is an example of the raised beds that I wI’ll be using this season:
Oval galvanized stock tank:
• Develop a planting strategy:
A planting plan merely shows the location of your proposed planting. A planting strategy explains the reasoning behind the design decisions. A planting design aims at a combination of spatial, textural, ecological, climatic, functional and symbolic objectives.
• What do you wish to achieve?
• How do you intend to achieve the objectives?
• What ground preparation will be necessary?
• What size and type of stock will be used?
• How will the planting change in time?
• When will re-planting be necessary?
Technical accounts of how planting objectives will be obtained should include information on soil treatment, plant species, plus the type and size of the plant material.
• Label each plant that you put in, record where you plant it, and when you planted it:
It is clear that we must use some kind of labeling system to help us identify our plants while we wait for them to grow. It is just as important to also keep a running record of when you plant each, and where you put it in your planting bed. Renember to also track each plant’s growth.
I recently discovered a great tool to help me organize my Veggie Garden. It is an App called Gardenize. Gardenize helps me keep track of all the plants in my garden and offers information on how to care for them, including location, crop rotation, and yearly tracking of plants and crops.
Not all labeling methods need to be expensive, or store bought. You may wish to create your own labeling system, and save some money.
Creative DIY plant labels and markers:
These are all easily upcycled into plant labels.
• Prepare your raised planting beds between the growing months:
How to prepare a raised garden bed for winter
• Step 1: Remove weeds.•
• Step 2: Clean up dead plants. After the first frost, you want to start clearing spent and rotting plant material.
• Step 3: Add compost and other organic material.
• Step 4: Plant cover crops, or add mulch.
• Step 5: Take care of perennials.
• Step 6: Add season extenders.
Season extenders are generally more commonly used in colder areas, but they can even be useful in areas with longer growing seasons, specially at the beginning of the season to protect against unsuspected weather and the end of the season in order to allow for another cycle of crops. For example:
When we start seedlings indoors, that’s a form of season extension. You’re getting a jump on the season instead of directly sowing seeds inside
Which tip did you find most useful? Please share in the comments. Thank you for sharing!
• Don’t skip the use of a good mulch. Your planting strategy should include:
There are different kinds of mulch. You should select the best one that your budget allows. There are two basic kinds of mulch: organic and inorganic. Organic mulches include formerly living material such as chopped leaves, straw, grass clippings, compost, wood chips, shredded bark, sawdust, pine needles, and even paper. Inorganic mulches include black plastic and geotextiles (landscape fabrics).