When it comes to the subject of gardening, the questions people often ask are?……..how and where do I begin ? Well the answers are numerous and varied, we were all in that boat at some time or other, but we persevered and learned how to. We taught ourselves the basics initially , either through books, TV programs, online tutorials or being thought by our parents, neighbours or friends. Outdoor gardening is essentially a hobby in all but name, its a place where a lot of people find solace, peace, tranquility and general relaxation. Regardless of what type of gardening we are interested in, whether its vegetable, flower and border, rose beds, a basic lawn or a combination of all of these, the satisfaction and experience that we will gain from any of these types will stand to us for a lifetime.
We will address some of the concerns and questions that some people have about raised bed gardens for beginners, how to make a start and what to grow. Other questions that beginner gardeners have are….how do I start a raised bed vegetable garden, how do I start gardening, what can I plant now, how deep does a garden bed need to be etc etc etc. In taking this lesson step by step, we will attempt to unravel the mysteries that surrounds the myths that the gardening exercise have for some students or beginners.
Where and how to start;
Naturally there may be a certain amount of fear or trepidation, when it comes to starting our own raised bed garden, but hey, that’s only natural. Grab a shovel, dig a few sods and make a start, and I am confident all those fears will have dissippated. There is nothing greater than ‘taking action’ and as soon as there is a start made, even where to decide, or in what part of our backyard or backgarden, we want to have our raised beds. Now that that isssue is established and out of the way, lets begin gardening. Our first objective is location and the normal practice here is to locate our beds in a sunny, unshaded area. As gardens in general need approx 6-8hrs of sun daily, it is crucial that we observe this important step. In considering this factor, we also need to situate this raised bed close or as near as possible to a water source and finally we may like to have these garden beds as close to our homes as is physically possible. This is so that it’s relatively easy to run out and grab something that we may need for a meal.
Soil for raised bed garden;
The next item on the agenda is a raised bed frame, we will have thought of this before beginning and lets say that we have accquired one of these, either , on the internet or have one madeup ourselves or perhaps a friend made one for us. That job done, the next step is what about the soil, how deep do we need it to be, what should I mix into the soil to make things grow. There is a practice within the raised bed community and it’s known as ‘double digging’ and what is that , pray tell, I hear you ask. It’s not dig the raised bed soil within the frame and then turn around and go ahead and dig it again, no, its not that. What double digging is….before we load some topsoil into the raised bed, we actually dig the soil within the frame to a depth of approx. 8 – 12″ and then shovel our new topsoil into the bed frame and that is the literal meaning of this practice. It is just to ensure that the two soils will mix and integrate properly.
Plants or seeds;
Moving onto the next step which is, what do we plant or what do we grow in our raised garden beds ? For beginners, we should absolutely, keep it very simple. One rule of thumb is …grow what we will eat and what our family likes. To make things easier for starting out on our very first adventure in the area of raised bed gardening, I would humbly suggest that we go to our garden centre or nursery and purchase seedlings or baby plants. This will make life less complicated and will definitely give us a great head start. These seedlings are partially grown and have been ‘hardened off’, which means its safe to now plant them outdoors. The other option is to start growing from seeds, but this will take a little longer for our vegetables to mature and before we will be able to harvest the ‘fruits’ of out labor. The old reliables are a great place to begin with and these are, potatoes, cabbages, tomatoes, onions, peppers, eggplant and melons. The choices for growing from seeds are, lettuce, carrots, parsnips, peas, chards and swedes.
We reap what we sow;
So there we have it, a step by step guide for raised bed gardening for beginners. Gardening is essentially an easy chore, I guess, when we know how. But it gets easier after time and when we are doing it on a regular basis, its no longer the frightening task that we thought it to be. Its like any other job or walk of life, the more we practise , the better we become. Sometimes our first efforts may not work out according to our plans, but we will learn from our mistakes. Its akin to players playing in sports, they have to learn to lose a match or two, before they experience a win. As for maintenance on our raised bed gardens, there is very little as soon as the vegetables begin to mature. We may have to do some extra watering in the initial growing stages, but as the vegetables get bigger and bigger, their leaves tend to take over the whole garden bed frame and act as shade or shelter for the soil, thus preventing loss of moisture.
I hope that you have enjoyed reading this tutorial on gardening for beginners and if so, remember we are a social bunch here and do drop us a line or get involved in the conversation, via the comments box down below.
Thanking you and best wishes on your gardening adventures.