Gardening
Home interiors and gardening

A Garden Above Others: The Basics And Merits Of A Raised Garden Bed

Let’s face it: gardening requires time and effort in making something grow healthy. This is to ensure that the seeds you’ve been sprinkling will grow into nutritious fruits and greens. Maybe you’ve always been a green thumb but you haven’t had time to get started, or you’re intimidated by the thought of gardening. There are actually several easy ways to do gardening that you can use as a beginner. 

A popular example would be raised garden beds, a setup that involves propped-up boards filled with soil to allow planting above ground level. This can benefit owners who might be dealing with limited space at home. Having a raised garden bed has its benefits when compared to a traditional garden dug out of the ground. The elevation of a garden bed allows plants to grow without disruption from your pets, kids, or outdoor pests.

It also lets the garden bed soil become warmer quickly, which is an ideal condition for seedlings. Raised garden beds also help maintain the tidiness of your premises because of its defined limits. Because the soil is higher than the ground level, the roots of the plants can dig deeper until it forms a strong foundation underground. Having a raised garden bed, therefore, lets you easily keep an eye on the plants while keeping them safe.

If this has gotten you sold on the said setup, you can always buy raised garden beds on the market right now. If you’re on a budget or if you want to learn how to build one yourself, making this elevated setup is actually pretty easy. You’ll need the following: wooden planks, weed eaters, rebar pieces, cardboard or newspaper, grass seeds, and soil with compost. Here’s a closer look at what you’ll do with each material to build a DIY raised garden bed.

The Ideal Place To Plant

With your materials ready, find a spot in your home that has conditions conducive for plant growth. The area should regularly get exposure to at least five hours of daylight. Keep in mind the shade given by plants once they’re in daylight; make sure your greens won’t shade each other so that all of them get the most of the sun. To do this, do a north-to-south orientation instead of east-to-west. 

The area you choose should already be free of weeds or grass that might disrupt your garden bed plants. You can prepare the native soil (the one that’s already in the area) by using a shovel or garden fork to loosen up to ten inches deep of it. Doing so can help retain moisture and keep the plants hydrated. The height of the garden bed is up to you as well, as you can have it built waist-high or just a few inches off the ground. 

The Boards For The Bed

There are a number of boards you can use, but untreated pine planks are preferred by many for their functionality. These planks are expected to last around five to ten years, but you can replace them if they get worn out sooner. There are other types of boards on the market that are made of materials like recycled plastic, composite wood, galvanized steel, and cedar. Because these are materials that are used for raised bed kits sold today, you might look for other options if you intend to DIY.

There are more accessible building materials that you can use for the DIY route, and these can be found in your yard. Examples include wattle (woven branches and twigs), concrete blocks, logs, or even tires. The last one is quite tricky because experts contend whether it’s safe or toxic. Still, the first three are doable, even as a family activity. Have your kids collect twigs and branches, then join them in weaving these together into a garden bed frame. 

To start, lay four planks on flat ground to form a rectangle with the boards’ inner corners touching each other. Hammer the rebar pieces with a rubber mallet until they’re in an upright position. Use the rebars to prop up the four planks, resulting in a rectangular frame. Make sure the rebars are hammered a few inches deep into the ground for stability. You can add more rebar to support the rectangular frame as it gets filled with soil.

The Proper Soil To Use

The soil you use shouldn’t just be any random type, because your raised garden plants will depend on it for survival. Experts recommend following a soil proportion of 60 percent topsoil, 30 percent compost, and 10 percent potting soil. The compost has nutrients, organic matter, and fertilizing properties that will help the plants grow healthy. 

Potting soil can have vermiculite, perlite, and a bit of peat moss to aid in growing plants. Remember that soil type also affects how much water it can hold for the plants. This is crucial to track when you factor in the rainfall or water that the garden bed gets exposed to. 

Sandy soil is composed of big particles that let water pass through easily. Meanwhile, clay soil is able to hold water longer due to how clay has plenty of surface area that water can grab onto. Loamy soil hits the sweet spot of retaining moisture while becoming well-drained if needed.

The Water Supply

Make sure that the water supply system of your raised garden bed is properly installed. Knowing the last time your plants were watered along with how much water the soil can absorb helps ensure adequate hydration. You don’t want to overwater your plants because this can damage them, just like how under-sprinkling can cause wilting. Therefore, the right level of moisture is key to proper plant growth. Check by sticking your finger in the garden bed about three inches deep or until you reach the root zone. If it’s slightly damp, you’re doing things right.

A Garden Above Others

By now you must have realized that gardening isn’t as cumbersome as it looks. In fact, it has been detailed here that growing plants can be DIY projects made at home, such as raised garden beds. You only need to know what materials to invest in, be it the right kind of soil or the type of wooden plans for the garden bed frame. With the advantages mentioned above, it’s clear that this plant project will result in a garden bed that’s above others in terms of function and ease.

Resources— The Spruce, Good Housekeeping, Gardeners

 

Award-winning writer, blogger, social media consultant and charity campaigner. Social Media Manager for BritMums, the UK's largest parent blogging network Freelance clients include Firefly Communications and Save the Children UK. Works with brands on marketing projects. Examples include Visit Orlando, Give As You Live, Coca-Cola and Kodak. Cambridge Law graduate with many years experience working across three sectors in advice, media relations, events, training and project management. Available for hire at affordable rates.

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