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Raised Beds Made Easy

Raised beds can add a whole new exciting dimension to your gardening experience. Even if you have virtually no space to grow plants, you can consider setting up a small raised bed on your patio or porch to grow a collection of tasty herbs and veggies or perhaps a variety of beautiful ornamental plants. Gardening in raised beds simply means that you grow your plants above the level of the ground. Raised beds kits are available at TLC Garden Centers. These easy to construct planters are an excellent way to get started with raised bed gardening. You may also custom build a structure with a frame of wood, concrete blocks, bricks, or many other materials.

Planning and Design

Raised beds built at an appropriate level can also help reduce the aches and pains produced by kneeling or bending over a garden plot. This advantage makes raised beds perfect for gardeners with arthritis, or disabled and elderly gardeners. Raised beds may also be designed so that you don’t have to actually step into your raised beds for maintenance.

If you’re thinking about gardening with raised beds, it’s important to plan ahead and come up with a good design before you build your beds. While many raised beds are portable, in some cases you’ll want to build large, permanent raised beds. Write a list of the plants you want to grow in your garden. The design and location of your raised beds can depend largely on your plant selection. For example, if you want to grow a collection of sun-loving plants, you’ll need to place your raised beds where you’ll maximize sun exposure. If you are building multiple beds, it is very important to have proper spacing between your beds so that you can walk and work around them.

An Example of a Beautiful Raised Bed

A good basic design for the serious gardener is a raised bed 4 feet wide and 20 feet long. This design will give you 80 square feet of growing space which is ideal for growing a large amount of fruits and vegetables. Height of the bed can vary greatly. A 6-8 inch increase in height above the existing soil grade will greatly enhance drainage. However, beds constructed as high as 18-36 inches will allow you to stand or sit in a chair while gardening.

Soil Preparation and Fertilizer

Once the bed area is determined, spray with RoundUp to eliminate all weeds and turf. Raised beds adjacent to a bermudagrass lawn will need a barrier in place below the existing soil line, or grass will invade the bed area. If your existing soil is heavy clay, it will be beneficial to loosen the top 6-10 inches of soil before filling the bed frame. This will aid in drainage of the bed. Once your frame is built, fill it with TLC Premium Potting Soil. Tamp the soil firmly when filling the bed to eliminate air pockets. Plants should be planted with the root system level with the surrounding soil. Fertilize with Osmocote Plant Food. Slowly water the plants using Fertilome Root Stimulator to stimulate early root growth and stability. Finish by applying a 3 inch layer of Grade A Cedar, Grade A Cypress Mulch, or Pecan Hulls.

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