Copyright (c) 2012 Jack Russell
Growing in popularity among backyard gardeners, raised bed gardens sit above the ground rather than in the ground, a condition that facilitates growth, defies space restrictions and provides those with mobility issues to tend the garden. Raised bed garden plans consist of choosing materials for constructing a frame, where to place the raised garden and what kind of vegetables, fruits or flowers the gardener wants to plant in the raised garden. With advantages such as back strain reduction, soil drainage improvement, potential for increasing crop output and efficient utilization of space, raised bed gardens provide gardeners with the ability to manage plants using a direct, more convenient approach.
Before gardeners start composing their raised bed garden plans, certain key aspects should be addressed, including:
Type of frame–wood, rocks, bricks or cement blocks
Type of crop –some crops need abundant sunshine while other require less light. Place your raised garden in an area that receives the necessary sunlight conducive to optimal growth of the item you intend to plant
Soil drainage–existing soil quality will determine how deep the bed will be. If the soil is less than desirable, beds will require an addition of higher quality soil, with up to eight inches being the optimal level for most raised gardens.
Popular choices for wood borders are cedar or redwood. Both are highly resistant to water damage and also enhance the appearance of a garden with their rich, deep color. Avoid wood that has been treated with chemicals for preservation purposes. Although wood saturated with ACQ, or alkaline copper quaternary, is considered safe to use around food crops, gardeners should purchase landscape fabric with which to line the inside of the bed if building a raised garden from this kind of wood. This screen allows water and air to permeate the soil but prevents contact between ACQ wood and soil. In addition, always construct wooden raised garden beds using stainless or galvanized screws that do not rust.
Position the frame of the bed in trenches about two or three inches deep and make sure the posts fit firmly into the ground. Fill the bed loosely with high-quality soil/compost blend favorable for growing any kind of plant. Establish a watering system by placing soaker hoses within the dirt for ease of watering whenever necessary.
Because gardeners of raised beds control the amount of sunlight reaching the raised bed garden, this will potentially lengthen the growing season and allow plants to be placed more closely together inside the box. This increases crop yields, maximizes watering efficiency and inhibits weed growth. People suffering from back trouble who love to garden also benefit from a raised garden because less bending is required when tending to the garden.
Remember to always perform research on the items you intend to plant to determine sunlight needs. Find out whether certain plants will tower over other plants once growing begins. This can block sunlight that other plants may need to flourish. In addition, the fruiting and flowering stages of some plants will need stronger wavelengths for photosynthesis purposes. Plan your raised garden appropriately with these essential stipulations in mind to enjoy a lush and plentiful garden.