Thursday, 20 January 2011

Raised Beds

Using raised beds can have a lot of benefits in the vegetable garden.  Raised beds mean less digging because you do not walk on, and compact the soil.  They result in better water retention, and temperature being slightly above the ground.  For some, high beds are easier to reach.   Raised bed gardeners also use close planting methods, which means less weeding, and a better use of space.  Raised beds are great for both small and large gardens as well.

I have used raised beds growing up with great success.  Here on the farm I have made some beds using some old bricks.  But I am really struggling to grow decent crops with the soil here.  It is really free-draining.  Too free-draining.  And despite years of adding manure and compost I just cannot get more than a few nice vegetables each year! 

And I have decided to bite the bullet and order a raised bed system.  I have been avoiding it for many years to protect my budget, but I have had enough.  Since I have some really awful pernicious weeds---the only thing that seems to thrive here, I will be choosing a deep bed and using weed proof cloth as well.

I intend to fill the bed with compost, topsoil, and manure.  An expensive way to go, but I would like to prove to myself that my poor yield is due to awful soil rather than my poor gardening skills!  I will start with one or two beds this year as an experiment.  I will try out some of my old beds as well and compare.  If it works I will get more beds for next year.

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