Are you a new gardener who has (wisely) jumped on the raised bed bandwagon? If so, you are probably looking forward this growing season to the benefits this style of gardening brings: earlier planting, fewer weeds, better soil and drainage, higher yields.
We have a few tips to ensure you get the most out of your raised beds:
1. Prep Your Soil
Before you plant, add one to two inches of high-quality compost to your beds. The soil in your raised beds will diminish over a growing season or winter, so build it back up with organic material before you put your first plants in the ground (and again after you clean out the bed in the fall).
If the soil has become compacted with winter’s harsh weather, go ahead and loosen it by inserting a pitchfork every few inches and giving it a wiggle. No need to dig up an established bed or to till, which only disturbs the earthworms and other beneficial organisms.
2. Don’t Walk on Raised Beds
You should have built your beds narrow enough so you can work them without stepping on the soil, which will compact it. Compacted soil makes it more difficult for your tender seedlings to thrive.
3. Irrigate and Mulch
Raised beds have good drainage, but also, because of their small volume, raised beds can dry out more quickly than traditional garden rows. Plan how you’ll get water to your raised beds and add a layer of mulch around your plants to help the soil retain moisture.
4. Make the Most of Your Space
Use every inch of the rich soil in your raised beds. Adopting practices like small-space gardening, companion planting and crop rotation will help you make optimal use of space.
Haven’t built your raised beds yet? We can show you how with our tips for raised garden beds.