Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Raised Bed Gardening

So are you wanting to put in a garden, and wonder if it is worth building a grow box, or raised bed for your garden? I was skeptical of it at first, because I had grown up gardening in rows on the ground and till up the soil every spring. My husband had read some articles about grow boxes and raised beds, and wanted to try them. So we started out with just 2 4x8 boxes. We built them with wood, and added steer manure and peat moss to the soil. Then we watered it by hand that year. It did so well, and was so easy to take care of, I asked my husband to build more the next year, then even more the next year. We did not have to invest in a rototiller, or much equipment at all. So I think it has actually saved us money, and produced more than my gardens ever did when they were just straight on the ground.
Here are a few thing that I think a grow box or raised bed will give you that you cannot get on the ground:
  • Deeper, looser soil that doesn't get packed down with equipment or walking on
  • distinct growing space, and walking paths
  • higher up, therefore gets less weeds blown in and growing than on the ground
  • you can add more organic matter, and good soil amendments to it to make the soil very water retentive, and well draining.
  • Soil is loose, therefore easy to dig, and the weeds come right out, no pulling on them.
  • Easy to weed and harvest the vegetables. I don't kneel anymore- just sit on the side of the grow box and pull the few weeds that pop up, or harvest the tomatoes, and other veggies by sitting on the side of the box. My 88 year old grand mother loves to come and weed my garden. She just sits on the side of the box and pulls the weeds. Its easy enough for an unstable elderly lady to work in.
  • Looks pleasing with distinct boxes, and you can make the paths look nice with wood chips, ground cover, or pavers in between the boxes.
  • Easy to install a permanent automatic watering system. Before you build the boxes, dig trenches, and run sprinkler pipe to all the spots where you will put boxes, then run the pipe straight up and cap it. Then when the boxes are in place, and the garden is ready, then just cut the pipe, and run the drip hose through the box to all of your veggies. It takes a little bit of work at first, but then once it in, very low maintenance, just check them to see if they are getting enough water, and fertilizer, weed here and there, and harvest your fruit and vegetables!
My  garden has done so much better since using grow boxes, and after the initial cost and work to put it together, it has been very easy to maintain and grow. Here are free plans to building a grow boxes. I recommend you spend the time and money to put in a raised bed garden with grow boxes. You can thank me later.
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Happy Gardening!  

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