Seasonal Maintenance of Raised Bed Gardens

Seasonal Maintenance of Raised Bed Gardens

When we are using raised beds to grow our vegetables and crops, it goes without saying that they will require maintenance and upkeep of some description. This maintenance may be needed on a month to month basis and the work on this will vary from year to year. Although throughout the growing season, we could say that all the heavy lifting have been done before this time and our work now is meerly keeping an eye on things, ie, watering, a little fertilizing and a little weeding. Depending on where we live and what vegetables we are growing, seasonal maintenance of raised bed gardens is part and parcel of our vegetable growing exercises and tasks.

The whole purpose of this type of upkeep is, first and foremost, to have our soil in tip-top condition and if we do that task diligently, everything else falls into place. The soil quality will continuously be eroded year after year, so this element needs to be replenished on an annual basis and intermittenly throughout the year. The growth of our crops and plants will suck the nourishment out of the ground and for continuity of our raised beds’ performance, we will have to address these issues. We will look at how we can achieve this on a seasonal basis. For the purpose of this exercise, we will look at this job of work, from the end of the growing year. It will all make sense when we are finished.

 

gardening maintenance1

 

Autumn or Late Fall maintenance;

 

Believe it or not this is the most critical time of the year for getting ready a garden or raised bed for the following season. When all harvesting is complete, we need to ensure that all traces of plant life is removed and thrown onto the compost heap, this eliminates all risks of disease and blight taking hold in the soil. Leave the soil intact if possible and add some well rotted compost, some light organic fertiliser and also some quality topsoil to bring the garden levels back up to their original state. Opinions differ as to what is the best step to take after this task has been completed.

Some say to leave the garden or raised beds as they are and to overwinter in this state. Others and myself included disagree with this method and my advise would be to cover with a layer of mulch or garden sweepings like leaves, hedge trimmings etc. They should now be in good supply around this time and its also a great way of disposing of them. Others would say to cover with a sheet of plastic or  an old carpet and this also protects the soil from rain erosion and the harsh winters that we may experience.  If we did’nt cover the raised beds on the otherhand, in some shape or fashion, we may allow all our good work to be undone. By covering our raised beds with either method, we are protecting and allowing the maintenance to take hold, energise and replenish for the next year. We are also preventing soil erosion and compaction from the heavy rains or snows that the winter may bring.

 

Winter maintenance;

 

Not a lot of work required during this spell as everything is possibly frozen under a layer of snow, the days are short and there is little or no sun to talk about. However, the work that we did in the fall, will be doing its own thing. The earthworms will be attacking the compost and the microbes in the soil will also be at work. This is the replenishment that is required and it happens automatically, all we need do is to enable this to happen. Nature has a great way of replenishing itself and all we need do is to create that envoirnment for it to do so.

 

Gardening maintenance2

 

 

Springtime maintenance;

 

This is the most exciting time of any gardeners calendar, as everything that grows is about to undergo massive change and eventually burst into life. Around this time of the year, the days are getting a little longer, the climate is warming a little and the sun’s power is getting stronger and stronger. All of this means that the soil in our raised beds is also warming and we should now be preparing to plant and sow our vegetables for the forthcoming year. The first task is to remove any coverings that we may have put in place or if it was a layer of mulck, just fork this into the soil. This will have a twofold effect as we are turning, tilling and digging the soils and also adding some further nourishment.

The seasonal maintenance of raised beds never stops literally, and its an ongoing process. To prepare for the sowing and planting within the raised garden beds, we will need to add some further fertilizer, fork in again and allow the garden to sit for a few weeks. This allows the fertilizer to be consumed into the soil and allows for aeration and also allows the soil to dry out a little which is another important element in the garden maintenance. If we were able to get our hands on some farmyard manure, this is one of the best fertilizers known to man or woman, and will nourish the soil in its entirety. Some garden centres now stock this product in airtight sealed bags, which makes carrying and transporting of this possible.

 

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Summer maintenance;

 

As soon as our plants and vegetables become established, the season maintenance of our raised beds does’nt stop then, unfortunately. At this time of the year,we can disperse a few inches of compost or garden mulch around the base of the vegetables, without touching the stems.  This will help suppress the weeds and will also conserve whatever moisture is in the  garden soil. Watering will be an important task and this is contingent on where we live, how hot the climate is and what veggies we are growing. A liquid fertiliser may have to be applied via a watering can, again depending on whether we are growing high maintenance plants or vegetables.

 

Maintenance gardening

 

So as we can see from above, the ongoing work never stops in the garden, despite how well set up we have our raised beds. But this work does’nt take hours and hours every week, its shall we say, maintenance as opposed to calling it work. Like we said at the top, the work in earnest starts in the fall, where we immediately prepare the gardens for the next growing season and if we do that, it’s more than half the battle.

Once again, I trust that this information on gardening maintenance for raised beds will be helpful and informative. If you would like to add to the debate, please do so, via the comments box down below.

Happy gardening to all,

Cheers      Phil Browne.

 

” The greatest gift of the garden

is the restoration of the five senses “.

~Hanna Rion.

 

6 thoughts on “Seasonal Maintenance of Raised Bed Gardens

  1. Wow Phil, finding your website has me all excited!
    I started gardening 10 years ago, when I applied for an allotment on a whim, living in a concrete jungle space in London. I learned so much, and I LOVE gardening, and harvesting my own produce – there’s nothing quite like it!

    But my attempts at creating raised beds and sticking to their maintenance was always a struggle – and I honestly think it’s because there were so many methods I was trying on and off, thanks to my wonderfully enthusiastic neighbours, all offering their advice, ahahaha!

    I’m definitely bookmarking your site for future reference. Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Hi there Jacquie,

      Many thanks for reading this post and offerin feedback comments. I agree with you 100%, its great to grow your own and ther is a certain amout of satisfaction attached to this.

      It can be difficult to make and assemble raised beds for sure,but once you get it right, you will never look back.

      They will definitely make life easier and the maintenance of these is very limited in terms of workload and labour.

      Thanks again for stopping by and happy gardening

      Cheers  Phil Browne

  2. I myself am not a gardener but a lot of my friends and co-workers are gardeners. I think this information will be very useful to them and it’s so well laid out and easy to follow. I know my friends and co-workers who garden are often complaining of things going wrong so I know they’d really find this information useful.

    1. Hi there Trisha,

      Many thanks for reading this post on the seasonal gardening, its very much appreciated. I would be grateful if you did pass on this information to your colleagues, you are most welcome and if they did find something of interest , that would be even better.

      I hope they too find this post useful and informative.

      Thanks again for stopping by,

      Best wishes,

      Cheers    Phil Browne

  3. Hi, Phil. I have not considered raised beds for gardening before this. But after reading your post, I am thinking I should try really try this option. It really looks interesting and doable. I currently just use pots for my plants. We don’t have four seasons where I’m at but this is still good information for me. Thank you for sharing this!

    1. Hi there,

      Many thanks for stopping by and reading this post, its very welcomed. I agree with your sentiments about raised bed gardening. As you rightly pointed out, these are a great way to garden and its really very easy to achieve success with this method.

      Thanks again for dropping by,

      Happy gardening

      Cheers    Phil Browne

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