How many of us have joined the revolution, no…. not that one, its the gardening one…the raised bed gardening revolution is the movement that I am talking about. This is the latest trend, style or vogue, if I can use these words, to describe the urge or desire to do our gardening using this system. The word is out there that this method of overground gardening will make our horticultural activities so much easier, simpler, less stressful, less labor intensive and as a result of all of these benefits, our yield results will be superior to what we were experiencing before now, ie, the open ground standard gardening method.
These new raised bed frames are becomming more and more popular as we go forward, so much so that it seems if we have’nt got one of these, we are lagging behind the rest. The idea of this method of growing our vegetables is seen as a large problem solver, it creates a buzz and excitement any time we mention it to our friends and neighbours and the popularity of this invention is here to stay for the forseeable future, I suspect.
The beginners dilemma;
The urge to commence growing and providing our own vegetables for ourselves has gathered at pace and is apparently top of a lot of people’s agenda, especially when they have purchased a home for the first time. They are keen to start a little garden for themselves and to learn all about growing and cultivating a sustainable plot, that will cater for some of their needs. Some people research the idea a little and others seem to know what is required when it comes to undertaking a project of this nature. With the help of the internet today, anything is possible and all of the information on this subject and more, is readily available at the touch of a button. Most people are keen and very enthusiastic to begin this exercise for a number of reasons, primarily, the fact that they can grow their own veggies, at least they know what is gone into the growing of these and they know full well that no sprays or chemicals were used. That being the main concern today and also what part of the world did our vegetables come from. How many airmiles were travelled in the transportation of these, and if so, has this exercise left a sizeable carbon footprint in their wake.
Help is at hand;
The basics of building a raised bed garden is unbelievably simple and not a lot of effort or exertion is necessary to carry out a job like this. First and formost, we select a good sunny location, make sure the ground is level and never place these bed frames where someone could trip over these or where they could become a hazard or obstruction in our back or front gardens. Use common sense, plan ahead a little and decide on an ideal spot for these. Build or purchase, is the next question and this will depend on a number of factors. Does our budget allow and if not what materials have we at our disposal that would make a starter raised bed frame. Old pieces of wood, cinder or concrete blocks, sheets of galvanise or maybe some old pallets, all of which will make a beginners attempt very easy and will suffice for this exercise. The concept of a raised bed is very simple and basic, afterall these are just a square or rectangle frame box placed in the ground then filled with topsoil and voila…there you have it.
What about the soil;
The soil is the exact same which we would use if we were gardening old style. Provided its of a good quality and standard, then we are good to go ahead and use that. We will always be adding to this soil as we go forward, ie, replenishing it year after year and replacing the nutrients which were used in the previous years growth. This is done by adding some farmyard manure if available, or some well rotted grass and leaf compost or by using a general enriching fertilizer, which can be sourced from all good garden centres. If we have decided to place these bed frames on a lawn, what about the grass….I hear you ask. We have two solutions to this dilemma, firstly, we can remove a 3-4″ layer of the lawn and dispose of somewhere else, say a compost heap would be ideal. Secondly we could lay down a few layers of old newspaper on the grass before we fill up with soil and this will prevent the grass from growing any further. The newspapers and grass will disintegrate and will break down over the next few months and will further nourish the soil.
After we have completed the basic assembly of a raised bed and have filled with soil, our next move is to decide on what it is we want to grow and plant. The initial advise is to plant some vegetables that are easy to grow, require little or no maintenance and will start producing in a short period of months. These might be, lettuces, strawberries, onions, leeks, spinach, rocket etc etc. These seeds will germinate after fourteen days approx, depending on growing conditions and where we live obviously, so pretty soon after sowing, we will see the ‘fruits’ of our labor so to speak.
I am looking at this exercise from a newbie’s perspective and also anticipating that we will be anxious to see some results as soon as possible. That in a nutshell are the fundamentals of what raised bed gardening is all about. The excitement is palpable and genuine, the new buzz word in gardening circles is raised beds for sure. I trust you found this post interesting and entertaining and if so, please drop in and say hello, we are social via the comments box below.
Happy gardening to all who try and succeed,
“We gardeners are healthy, joyous, natural creatures.
We are practical, patient, optimistic.
We declare our optimism every year, every season,
with every act of planting.”
― Carol Deppe,