Raised Bed Gardening Tips from Experts

Raised Bed Gardening Tips from Experts

Raised beds are the best platform for growing plants in homes and at business complexes. There are many advantages for both experienced and novice gardeners. The beds are made of soil and raised above the ground, and then plants are grown. This protects the plants from extreme weather events, pests and other risks which might plague young plants. However, to benefit fully from a raised bed, here is some advice:

Conduct a soil test and build your topsoil

Before you start your gardening for the season, a soil test is paramount. A professional usually does the test. All you have to do is send them a sample of your soil. The assessment reveals what the soil contains or lacks. Use the findings to build your soil. Begin with the planting mix. The mixture may include bark, peat and compost.  The mix helps gardeners furnish their growing plants with nutrients. Nonetheless, the planting mix is deficient of most minerals and cannot offer plants all the nutrients that they need.

Therefore, unless there is a powerful mineral and organic structure, the nutrients will be washed away from the soil before the plant takes them in. Nevertheless, you can correct the problem by adding compost. This will help the soil keep water, oxygen and nutrients for efficient plant growth. While plants will need fertilization during the first two years, with time, it will not be necessary after you have built the soil’s organic and mineral structure.

A soil test determines a number of things, including pH levels. Do not ignore this property of your soil. Different plants will adapt to either alkaline or acidic environments. Hence, for sound gardening, build a pH that matches your plant’s needs. For instance, tomatoes require a medium pH level that is almost neutral, whereas blueberries thrive in acidic environments. Exceedingly high or low pH can have damaging effects on your plants, including stress, low yields and discoloration.

Get rid of pests and weeds

Gardeners face a variety of issues, including pests and weeds. They inhibit proper growth of your plants. To ensure that your work does not go to waste, find a way to eliminate the pathogens, pests and the weeds. Solarization is a technique that has been proven to work against weeds and pests. It is a DIY method, which does not use many resources, but guarantees results.

What does it entail? You place a plastic wrapping over your raised bed. To ensure that it does not get blown away by the wind and that it covers the entire bed, place some bricks at the corners.

How does this work to remove pests and weeds? The plastic wrapping helps increase the temperature of the soil. The high temperature kills weeds, insects together with their eggs, and different soil microbes.

While solarization can take a significant amount of your time, it will save you money and time in the long run. It will be hard to deal with pests, weeds and pathogens when the plants are grown.

Even if people fear that the method might kill essential microorganisms, it is an effective method, especially in regions with a warm climate.

Weed less

Weeding is integral to gardening. However, experts in horticulture and agriculture think otherwise. Weeding regularly may destroy the structure of your soil, which you have probably struggled to build for some time. There are a number of methods in which you can use to keep weeds at bay while maintaining the quality of your soil. Plasticulture is one of the common methods used. It involves placing a black plastic wrapping over the soil and then growing your plants through the paper.

Inside the black plastic cover, you can install a system of drip irrigation tunnels to offer the needed moisture. This eliminates the need for cultivating the raised bed. It also provides high temperatures for some plants. If you do not have a plastic cover, you could repurpose your old items such as wooden planks, carpet or mulch from bark or leaves. These will help to keep weeds from invading your raised beds. Your plants will then have adequate moisture and nutrients.

Use cover crops to add nutrients to the soils

Planting vegetables throughout the year can put pressure on the soil by depleting all the available nutrients. Experts in landscaping and gardening advise that you plant cover crops during the off-season. You can also rotate them with other crops. These plants help to add back the lost nutrients. Therefore, any other plants that you plant on the bed will use the accumulated nutrients.  Besides building up organic matter, cover crops help in enhancing the soil structure. They open soil pores   by allowing the circulation of oxygen and water. Common examples of these helpful plants include clover, buckwheat, oats and rye.

Include worms in your raised beds

This might sound weird, but it can benefit your plants a great deal. Worms have been known to be primary builders of soil structure. They do this by breaking down raw plant debris, among other forms of organic matter into small particles, which plants can take up easily. The worms are also responsible for mixing the soil with the organic matter. In addition, the tunnels they form in the soil help to improve the circulation of water and oxygen through the soil.

How do you use the little animals? There are two ways to do this. First, you can rear the worms by placing kitchen waste into a bin and adding red worms. The kitchen waste will be converted into a dense organic matter, which you can add to your raised beds. Alternatively, you can add the worms directly into your farm. However, ensure that the worms do not turn up to be pests. Find those worms that are mainly found in the soil.

Now you know how to get the most out of your raised beds. Raised bed gardening does not have to be a nightmare. Use the above tips to ensure that your plants have enough nutrients and moisture. After all, having the right soil structure is important.

 

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