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Raised Row Garden Beds – Setting Up From Scratch
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7 Vegetable Garden Tips - Small Vegetable Garden Ideas
Add to list Share Share. If you are already producing the amount of food you want in your existing row garden, then by switching to raised beds or open beds you will actually be able to downsize the garden. Or you might find that you now have room for planting new crops — rhubarb , asparagus , berries , or flowers for cutting — in the newly available space.
Less effort. When vegetables are planted intensively they shade and cool the ground below and require less watering, less weeding, less mulching — in other words, less drudgery for the gardener. Less soil compaction. The more access you have between rows or beds, the more you and others will be compacting the soil by walking in them. By increasing the width of the growing beds and reducing the number of paths, you will have more growing area that you won't be walking on, and this untrammeled soil will be fluffier and better for plants' roots.
Next to intensive planting, trellising represents the most efficient way to use space in the garden. People who have tiny gardens will want to grow as many crops as possible on vertical supports, and gardeners who have a lot of space will still need to lend physical support to some of their vegetables, such as climbing varieties of peas and pole beans. Other vegetables that are commonly trellised include vining crops, such as cucumbers and tomatoes. The fence surrounding your garden may well do double-duty as a trellis, so long as the crops grown on the fence can be rotated in different years.
Other kinds of vegetable supports are generally constructed from either wood or metal.
However, no matter which design or materials you use, be sure to have your trellis up and in place well before the plants require its support — preferably even before you plant the crop. With some vegetables, such as tomatoes or melons, you may also have to tie the plants gently to the support, or carefully weave them through the trellis as they grow. Crop rotation within the vegetable garden means planting the same crop in the same place only once every three years.
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This policy ensures that the same garden vegetables will not deplete the same nutrients year after year. It can also help foil any insect pests or disease pathogens that might be lurking in the soil after the crop is harvested. To use a three-year crop rotation system, make a plan of the garden on paper during each growing season, showing the location of all crops.
If, like most people, you grow a lot of different vegetables, these garden plans are invaluable, because it can be difficult to remember exactly what you were growing where even last season, much less two years ago. Saving garden plans for the past two or three years means that you don't have to rely on memory alone. Planting crops in succession is yet another way to maximize growing area in the garden. All too often, though, gardeners will prepare their seedbeds and plant or transplant all their crops on only one or two days in the spring, usually after the last frost date for their location.
1. Plant in raised beds with rich soil.
While there is nothing wrong with planting a garden this way, wouldn't it be easier to plant a few seeds or transplants at a time, throughout the course of the whole growing season, rather than facing the herculean task of "getting in the garden" all at one time? After all, a job almost always becomes easier the more you divide it up. Plan to plant something new in the garden almost every week of the season, from the first cold-hardy greens and peas in late winter or early spring, to heat-loving transplants such as tomatoes, peppers and eggplant once the weather becomes warm and settled.
Then start all over again, sowing frost-hardy crops from midsummer through mid-fall, depending on your climate. Keep cleaning out beds as you harvest crops to make room for new vegetables that will take their place. You can even interplant crops that grow quickly radishes alongside other vegetables that require a long season carrots or parsnips , sowing their seeds together.
How To Create A Simple, Weed-Free, Low-Maintenance Vegetable Garden
This makes thinning out the bed easier later on, since you will have already harvested the quick-growing crop and given the long-season vegetables that remain some much-needed elbow room. Another benefit of succession planting, of course, is that your harvest season lasts longer for every crop. This means that, instead of getting buried in snap beans or summer squash as your plants mature all at once, you can stagger plantings to ensure a steady, but more manageable supply of fresh vegetables.
If you use our Kitchen Garden Planner , you can print your plans, make notes and save them for future seasons.
How to Build a Raised Garden Bed
Finally, we end up where we started — with the realization that, although vegetable gardening can be rewarding even for beginners, there is an art to doing it well. There is also a mountain of good information and advice from other gardeners available to you.
Yet one of the most important ways of improving your garden from year to year is to pay close attention to how plants grow, and note your successes and failures in a garden notebook or journal. Just as drawing a garden plan each year helps you remember where things were growing, taking notes can help you avoid making the same mistakes again, or ensure that your good results can be reproduced in future years.
For instance, write down all the names of different vegetable varieties, and compare them from year to year, so you will know which ones have done well in your garden. Many people keep a book in their car to record when they change their oil and perform other routine maintenance.
In the same way, get in the habit of jotting it down whenever you apply organic matter or fertilizer to the garden, or the dates on which you plant or begin to harvest a crop. Over time this kind of careful observation and record-keeping will probably teach you more about growing vegetables than any single book or authority.
As in so many other pursuits, so it is in the art of vegetable gardening: practice does make perfect. Cart 0 items in cart. Gardener's Supply. Search Catalog Search Search. A force for good.
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