Friday, March 03, 2006

Raised Garden Beds

I have been asked about raised bed gardening so will give you our version. Our soil is pretty sandy and great for growing watermelon and cantaloupes but not too good for other things. Plus I HATE hoeing the garden. I love digging in the dirt or even pulling weeds but hate to hoe. With a raised bed you don't hoe and if you do it right you have little or no weeds. We are building ours out of slabs we got from a sawmill. You can get them free or very very cheap. You can also make them out of scrap lumber, cement blocks , old tires or just use your imagination. The first 2 I built only had to be 3 sided as I used the flower bed wall and porch for the other side. I only made mine as high as the slab was wide but am going to make some that are 2 slabs high for the deeper rooted plants. You can nail them together or put stakes in the ground, put the slab against the stakes and then put stakes on other side of slab as tightly as you can. I then put plastic down before filling bed with topsoil,manure and mulch. You can do your own mixture for filling the bed. Usually our front yard has trees and flowers but this year I am placing my raised beds around and mixing flowers, vegs, blueberry bushes, strawberries etc. I am trying to choose colorful veg plants. For example I found a beautiful pole bean that has bright red flowers on it so I am making a tepee out of poles for the beans to climb and I can enjoy the flowers while waiting on my beans. I have purchased okra that grows Burgundy and turns green when cooked. Anyhow you get my point ... To have a pretty and useful garden. Another good thing about raised beds if you decide to move one or not have it next year they are easy to take down or move. Hope this helps somewhat and if there's something you want to know I will be happy to try and answer or give you a friend that can.
This is a picture of my onion bed and at the top of the photo is where I set out some cabbage plants.
I have cabbage plants around the edges to leave room for other things in the center
Just had to show that my onion buttons are starting to pop up!


Donna said...

Thanks for telling us how to accomplish raised beds!

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dolly said...

very informative thanks Peggy you rock! x

Leslie said...

Using slab wood is a good idea. How long do the slabs last before they have to be replaced, do you know yet?

Does the plastic go inside the walls only (and the bottom is open)? I'm thinking the purpose of the plastic is to help the slab last longer, is that correct?

Wonderful post, thanks for doing it.

Leann said...

We love our raised bed so much we are adding two more this year! Thanks for all the tips and info...

Anonymous said...

Pest control in the perennial garden
If you have any good tips please post them on my blog

One of the many advantages of growing perennials is the ability of these beautiful flowers to return to full bloom season after season. While this ability to bloom repeatedly is one of the things that makes perennials so special, it also introduces a number of important factors into your gardening plan. One of the most important of these is a proper pest control regimen.

While a garden full of annuals starts each season as a blank slate, the perennial garden is essentially a work in progress. The fact that the plants stay in the ground through winter makes things like proper pruning, disease management and pest control very important. If the garden bed is not prepared properly after the current growing season, chances are the quality of the blooms will suffer when the next season rolls around.

One of the most important factors to a successful perennial pest control regimen is the attention and vigilance of the gardener. As the gardener, you are in the best position to notice any changes in the garden, such as spots on the leaves, holes in the leaves, or damage to the stems. Any one of these could indicate a problem such as pest infestation or a disease outbreak.

It is important to nip any such problem in the bud, since a disease outbreak or pest infestation can easily spread to take over an entire garden. Fortunately for the gardener, there are a number of effective methods for controlling both common pests and frequently seen plant diseases.

Some of these methods are chemical in nature, such as insecticides and fungicides, while others are more natural, like using beneficial insects to control harmful ones. While both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages, many gardeners prefer to try the natural approach first, both for the health of the garden and the environment.

There is an additional benefit of the natural approach that many gardeners are unaware of. These days, it is very popular to combine a koi pond with a garden, for a soothing, relaxing environment. If you do plan to incorporate some type of fish pond into your garden landscape, it is critical to avoid using any type of insecticide or fungicide near the pond, since it could seep into the water and poison the fish. Fish are extremely sensitive to chemicals in the environment, especially with a closed environment like a pond.

As with any health issue, for people or plants, prevention is the best strategy to disease control and pest control alike. The best defense for the gardener is to grow a garden full of the healthiest, most vigorous plants possible. Whenever possible, varieties of plants bred to be disease or pest resistant should be used. There are a number of perennials that, through selective breeding, are quite resistant to the most common plant diseases, so it is a good idea to seek them out.

Happy gardening,