Grow Vegetables in Raised Beds

Raised beds are an easy and productive way to start and maintain a productive food garden in small spaces.

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by AdobeStock/Masterovoy

Raised beds are an easy way to grow vegetables as the soil is loose from being aerated, turned and amended with organic matter which improves its texture and nutrients. The spacing in raised beds makes plants grow closer together which creates more shade and the soil loses less moisture and self-mulches. Raised beds are ready earlier in the spring for planting in colder zones.

Kits to make raised beds can be purchased or you can easily make a wood frame to hold the soil, but it needs to be rot resistant because the wood is in constant contact with moist soil. Wood such as cedar and redwood are resistant to termites and decay. Douglas fir or pine can be used but might only last five years. The beds can extend above the ground from several inches to 12 inches. The beds can be any width and arranged in any design but need to be built so the middle of the beds can be easily accessed.

To make your own beds cut the wood lumber the size of the planned bed, drill 3 holes in the corner boards with a #30 bit and insert 4-inch weather proof dry wall screws. Brackets can be placed on the outside to make it sturdier.

garden in spring with runner bean canes

Choose an area in your yard that has at least eight hours of sun. Dig the soil where the raised bed will be placed. Move the bed in line with the dug soil and line the bed with chicken wire if you have underground critters. Fill the bed with a combination of soil, compost, peat moss and fertilizer 8-32-16.

If this is your first-time growing plants in a raised bed start with plants or seeds of tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, radishes and scallions for a fresh home-grown salad.

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