If we are using a raised bed for vegetables, this is by far the best solution to an age old problem; the problems that we encountered were numerous and heartbreaking at times. We had a weeding issue which never went away, we had to contend with slugs and garden pests, we had poor returns from our old tired methods and I could go on and on. But with the raised bed gardening system our problems are no more. We now have a superior, more manageable and more confined space which eliminates all of the above issues and concerns. From here onwards we will have a greater return on our investment and if managed properly, this idea will become a labour of love, instead of the chore and heartache, that it had been previously. Raised beds for vegetables is the easiest way to cater for our needs and this system is becomming more and more popular every year. It gives us a great chance to become more self reliant and self-sustainable.
Soil preparation for raised beds;
I cannot emphasise enough the importance of this issue. We therefore need to dig the base of our bed thoroughly and vigourously before we infill with our well prepared mixture of good topsoil, compost and organic or farmyard manure . It is critical that we do this exercise at the start of this project as we will not be able to do so once we have the raised beds fully completed and ready for planting. When we do this both soil mixtures will blend and integrate better and we will see the pay-off down the road. It is imperative that both soil types integrate and blend well initially and in years to come we will see the fruits of our good preparation. It may seem like a lot of preperation and, but be readily assured, its best to so at the beginning and have no regrets later.
The whole reason or function of a raised bed garden is, we have less soil compaction and as a result the soil is better aerated, thus giving an enhanced envoirnment for the planting of our crops and vegetables. Secondly the soil is generally drier, and warmer throughout the year and this fares well for a better yield and return. If we pay special attention to these factors at the start, we will have less issues and problems going forward. raised bed gardening when done properly is a thoroughly organised and efficient method of gardening. If we get used to working with this system, we would never go back to the old traditional methods of open, row or ground gardening, when we experience the simplicity, advantages and benefits of this vegetable gardening.
Planting in the raised beds;
If and when we have decided we are ready to begin planting in our new raised bed garden, then now is the moment when things begin to get more exciting and entertaining. We have been waiting for this day since the very first thoughts of having raised beds of our own and now that day has arrived. The smart clever gardener might have started this process earlier on in another place, possibly indoors or maybe in a greenhouse. By that I mean they could have been working on seedlings and encouraging early growth of these plants indoors and when the late frosts have gone, were ready to begin planting outdoors.
They may have used a cold frame for this process, which we wrote about earlier on and if so these seedlings are hardened off and ready to be replanted. If by chance we have done this during the early spring, now is the time to start planting these outdoors. Initially, I would begin with those vegetables that are easy to grow, perhaps….. carrots, parsnips, onions, lettuce, tomatoes etc etc. This of course all depends on where we live and the type of climate that exists. If we have purchased our seedlings at our local garden centre, these normally come with a set of easy, planting instructions, but by and large there is no great mystery to this exercise.
I’m confident that if we will follow all of the above steps, then gardening in our new found surroundings will become much more pleasurable and enjoyable. We will have less weeding and pests to contend with and our vegetables should be much happier in their new elevated raised bed frame. The important issue to look out for here is, that the beds don’t dry out completely, especially just after planting, as this is the most important time in the growing phase of seedlings and young crops.
As time goes on we will notice a big difference in the yield and also the quality of our own home grown produce. From here onwards, we will no longer have to worry about how or where these vegetables were grown or what type of sprays, chemicals pesticides were used. In growing our own vegetables in our own raised garden beds, we will have eliminated all of these issues and concerns. We can now relax, sit back and let nature take its course.
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