November 1, 2014

7 Steps to Maximizing Your Raised Garden Bed’s Results

Now that you have a raised garden bed in place, what can you do to ensure you are getting big results from it?

The way you use it, and maintain it, can transform this simple box of dirt into a growing and packed box full of vegetables or flowers. The following seven steps and tips will help you to avoid problems, getting better results and troubleshoot as you go.

benefits

The benefits of adding garden beds can be immense. In urban settings, they can provide sustainability to the local environment, encouraging people to eat healthy and teaching kids to garden.

1. Keep The Soil Loose

One of the most important things to do while maintaining your garden be is to ensure the soil within it remains loose rather than compacted. To do this, use a hoe to keep it loose so air can circulate better. Second, avoid stepping on the soil, as this compaction will reduce growing results.

2. Always Compost

If you do not have a compost bin, get one. You want to ensure that the soil is consistently getting nutrients to it and those nutrients come from decomposing matter.

To create one, take a barrel and fill with only organic matter that you gather throughout your yard. You can even use only vegetable food scraps, like fruit and vegetable peels, egg shells (no insides) and coffee grounds. You can also add leaves from around the yard. Rotate this barrel every other day to allow the material to compost.

Then, about once a month, add a few shovels of it to the soil and till in.

3. Keep Things Organic

While there are many pesticides and other chemicals you can add to your garden that will boost their overall production, be sure to keep them organic in nature. Organic pest products work just as effectively but do not add toxins to your soil. More so, they keep your food free from any type of chemical. Organic pest control products are available from Amazon.com.

4. Tent It

If you want to extend the growing season, tent your raised garden bed. By this, I simply mean construct a simple tent over it. You can purchase greenhouse materials to build your own. Use garden stakes, old tent poles, or whatever you have handy, and push these into the soil. Then drape some plastic over the top of the  raised garden bed. If you have a staple gun, secure the plastic to the garden stakes. You can go as low or high tech as you want on this. And the benefits? This gives you more room for increasing the length of the growing season. Depending on where you live, you could garden year round with this method.

5. Using a Trellis Improves Growing Capacity

What you may not know is that if you use a trellis system, you can grow more of the vine plants like tomatoes, grapes and squashes with less room. As the plants grow, you can pull them up wards to extend higher in the garden box. This way, only the roots are growing in the soil. This also improves the overall quality of your foods.

6. Irrigate It All


To make watering your plants easier, install an irrigation system from the start. Buy a raised garden bed irrigation system to install. Alternatively, you can use a permeable water hose that runs throughout the bed, about half way through the soil layers. Connect this out of a hole drilled into the side of the garden bed to your garden house. Allow it to run just enough to dampen the soil.

7. Manage Pests with Care

Pest netting is an option for keeping the critters out. You may want to build a fence around the top portion of your garden bed if you have deer or other larger creatures nibbling on your plants.

Another option is to use organic pest control products. You can find these products available online with ease.

In addition to this, maintain your garden bed! You’ll need to look for signs of problems, such as bowing on the sides and fix them as soon as you see them. You can add additional stakes outside of the bed if you find this to be a problem.

However, if you build a squared off system that’s level, and used the proper amount of soil within it without compacting it, you will not have bowing problems.

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