CONTEMPLATING RAISED BEDS
We have all heard the saying, when the question was asked; ‘when is the best time to plant a tree’ ? and the answer came….twenty years ago, and the next best time – right now. It is about taking action because it is never too late to start thinking about constructing or building your own raised beds. Not a great deal of effort is required, but when complete, the results will leave you amazed and greatly surprised. A frame of 8ft x 4ft, is probably the most widely used size, with a dept of approx 10 -12 “. Whether it is early or late in the year, we can start at any time. The concept is very simple, select a good sunny location and then begin building. Hundreds of plans and various designs are available online, or the frames for raised beds can be purchased over the internet. If we are anyway handy with a hammer and saw, we can absolutely do it ourselves.
Perhaps now more than ever, it is the time to become more self-reliant and self-sufficient at growing our own produce. People are becoming more and more concerned about where our produce comes from and the many air-miles it has travelled. The carbon footprint is also a concern with many people. The other worries that people raise very often are, what was used in the growing of these foodstuffs, meaning what pesticides and what types of chemicals were used. Was it farmyard organic manure or was it artificial fertilisers that were used – the problem is we will never know because it is not always stated on the packaging or wrappers. We can now overcome and allay all these fears by planting, growing and harvesting our own.
If it is late fall then this is an ideal time to plant some kale and certain types of cabbages that will provide for us later on during the late-winter and early spring. These brassicas are sturdy, hardy and will survive most severe frosts. If the time you are constructing the raised garden bed frame is spring then this time is also ideal. As soon as the frame is in place you can begin. No time is too early and neither is any time too late. Depending on what one wishes to plant, how particular or exact we are as gardeners, this raised bed concept of gardening is very simple indeed. If it is flowers and some shrubs we are planting, then we need to concentrate on a good quality soil mix. If on the other hand we are sewing vegetables and salad plants we need to be more precise and exact. Ask at your local garden centre for advice on what mix of soil, types of compost and organic fertiliser to use. If by chance you are living in the countryside, ask your local farmer for some farmyard manure as this is by far the best type of mix and by far the safest to use for your raised garden beds.
Remember that the first raised garden bed mix is paramount as this will serve us for years and years to come. We can always add more raised beds in time, if and when ever the need arises. Location of the raised bed is very important in terms of availing of the benefits of the sun. A good sunny area is ideal and always position on a level surface for the purpose of drainage. We can always set up a sprinkler watering system or alternatively we can do the watering manually. The whole concept of assembling and constructing raised garden beds should not be seen as a hurdle or a chore, but more as a labour of love.