Raised Garden Bed Soil – Tips And Tricks

People choose garden beds for many reasons. For one, the soil in raised garden beds tends to warm and dry out in early spring as compared to that in standard garden beds. In this way, you can start your planting ahead of people using regular beds. Secondly, you get to avoid having to deal with roots and stone, because the soil remains fluffy throughout the seasons.

As with any planting, gardening in raised beds also comes with some drawbacks. When the temperatures get high, the soils in such beds tend to dry out faster than those in regular beds. Another thing is that the roots from nearby trees can gain access to your bed if left unchecked. Cats can also choose to use your garden for many reasons. However, these issues are easy to deal with provided you follow the following tips:

Do Not Walk On The Soil

One of the most attractive aspects of these kinds of setup is that they allow you to enjoy fluffy soil. This light soil is down to the fact that people do not walk on the earth, and thus you get to evade instances where you could compact your soil. If you are starting out in making such a bed, build it in such a way that you can reach all sections of the garden without having to step on the soil. Place boards on the raised bed if you find that you have to access the garden soil to reach some parts.  In this way, you will find it easy to work with your garden soil.

Fluffing

Though nobody is walking on your bed, there are times when the soil may appear compacted, and this is not a good environment for the growth of crops. As such, should you notice such a change, stick a garden fork into the soil as far as you can reach and move it around a little. Repeat the process, leaving intervals of at least eight inches between one hole and the other. The process does not take much time and requires little effort for the soil to be loose for the planting season.

Mulching

The soil in raised beds tends to drain much faster than that in standard beds, and it is thus essential that you seek ways in which you can reduce the evaporation rates. One excellent means to do this is by the use of mulch immediately after you finish planting. Materials you can use for this include dried leaves, wood chips, and straw. Not only does mulch reduce the water lost, but it also reduces the number of weeds in your garden, thus less work for you in maintenance.

Shade

Once you come to the end of the planting season, it is vital that you protect your soil from the harsh weather conditions in cold seasons. Soils exposed to cold weather tend to compact at faster rates as compared to those with shelter. Ways in which you can provide cover to your garden soil include the use of mulch and the planting of cover crops. In this way, once the planting season begins, you will not have much work to do.

Annual Crops

You can choose to have annual crops in your garden for the purposes of covering your soil. Examples of crops suitable for this include crimson clover and ryegrass. These plants not only provide nutrients to your soil through the seasons but they also prevent the occurrence of erosion. What’s more, they can regulate the nitrogen in the soil, thus making it more productive in the planting seasons.

Irrigation

If you have already started gardening, the best form of watering applicable to you is the use of a soaker hose. This kind of watering ensures that you soak the garden without splashing about and leading to the displacement of seeds or the weakening of young plants. However, this is not the best form of irrigation. As such, if you are starting your garden, look into the installation of drip irrigation. Using drips not only helps you gauge the amount of water spent on your garden but it also ensures that you use minimal time.

Barrier

A raised garden bed should offer you convenience in that you shouldn’t have to deal with challenges such as weeds and roots. The use of a block at the bottom of the bed ensures that unwanted roots stay out, thus protecting your soil from contamination and reducing the time spent weeding. Suppose you already have your garden up and running, the best thing to do is to excavate the raised garden, place a barrier and refill it. It may feel like a lot of work, but it will save you a lot of maintenance work in the future. Suitable materials for this process include old carpets, cardboard, and weed barriers, among others.

Compost

If you have ever gardened in a container, then you know that soil eventually starts losing its nutrients, thus calling for a top-up. It is the same case with raised garden beds which require that you apply a top dress each year. A layer or two of compost will do the trick, and it is best carried out during spring before you begin the planting season. In this way, your garden will retain its productivity.

Direct Compost

Compost is an exceptional way to add nutrients to your soil, and there are tons of methods you can use to do this without having to resort to a compost pile. Consider methods such as trench composting and worm tubes for more convenient composting with excellent results.

Maintaining garden bed soil requires that you protect it from harsh weather and weed invasion and that you provide it with adequate nutrients and moisture. With these tips, you will be in a position to reap the optimum benefits from your garden.

Season Extension

Though seasons are often the determinants of when you can plant and harvest your crops, you are free to make use of some planning methods such as a cold frame and low tunnel. These systems can enable you to plant your crops much earlier in the season or move your planting period to late in the season. They also protect your crops from harsh weather conditions, and they ensure that you have minimal work to do.

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