Outdoors

Getting Started With Raised Garden Beds

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girl walking in a garden with flowers

A raised flower bed not only beautifies the garden and more than a balcony, but it also offers a host of advantages: gardening does not strain your back, vegetables and herbs thrive in fertile and warm soil. And you won’t be sharing your crops with voles and slugs.

Having a good foundation is an essential condition for lush growth. Find out how to build a raised bed here and how I used it to keep my dog out of the flower beds

Installation of the raised bed

You can buy ready-made kits or build your raised bed yourself. Before starting, it is important to define the implantation site. To capture as much sunlight as possible, choose a location facing south.

Euro pallets are very trendy to form the frame of the flower bed. They are 80 cm high. For the wood to withstand bad weather, we recommend coating the slats with protective paint or, which is simpler due to the many nooks and crannies, spray painting them.

Connect the pallets by screwing two brackets at each corner, so that the top of the pallets face inward. Two long screws at each angle provide more stability.

It is very important to put a stainless steel mesh with a narrow mesh on the ground to block access to voles. Dress the inside (not the bottom!) With a pond cover. Preferably use an electric stapler. The film keeps soil and moisture in the flower bed but also protects the wood from decay.

The layers of the raised bed

Your raised bed works as a team: the filling material consists of pruning residues, compost, and soil laid out in increasingly thin layers towards the top. The different structures of the material help aerate the raised bed and provide it with optimum nutrients. Besides, plants benefit from a higher soil temperature and better hygrometry. 

Filling a raised bed in three steps

  • Create a good base with wood chips: The bottom layer consists of pruning trees or wood chips and allows good ventilation.
  • Compost in the middle layer: The components of the next layer (compost, garden soil, green waste) activate the life of the soil and provide important nutrients.
  • Filling with soil for raised bed: The final layer is the raised bed substrate. It offers an optimal growth base. When the fill level decreases due to decomposition, it is sufficient to top up the soil level.

Our advice:

The rule of thumb for the composition of the filling material is 30% wood chips, 40% compost and 30% raised bed potting soil. Fill the bed to about 15 cm from the edge.

Planting the raised bed

Since a raised bed is particularly good nourishment for plants, planting can be denser than in a garden bed. Simply plant the varieties you prefer to eat! Preferably start with greedy plants, as the raised bed contains a lot of nutrients.

These are tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbage, potatoes, zucchini, or cucurbits. These varieties of vegetables appreciate an additional supply of fertilizer. The nasturtium, which is a good hanging aromatic plant, can decorate the edge of the flower bed. Sow greedy plants such as beans, peas, lettuce, radishes, spinach, carrots and leeks as soon as the harvest of the first vegetables frees up space. Otherwise, you can also plant strawberries.

The flower boxes at the foot of the pallets are not only aesthetic but also useful. Flowering plants are real bee magnets. These applied animals pollinate your flowers as well as your vegetable garden. Under these conditions, nothing stands in the way of a bountiful harvest.

Maintenance around the raised garden beds can be done with one of the battery-operated weed eaters I wrote about here in this post.

Jose Moore

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