Raised gardening is not as tough as it sounds. You just need some tips and tricks to do it properly. Here are some tips form experts.
Start simple with herbs.
If you’re new to gardening and want to start out small, you might find yourself tending a single raised bed or deck planter as a way to get your feet wet. With limited space and time, you might also be tempted to cram in as many plants as you can—to the detriment of those you choose. Everyone grows tomatoes and eggplant and peppers in deck pots, right? While those are rewarding plants to grow, they also require a lot of care and attention, not to mention water, especially if you’re growing them in pots.
Understand the needs of your plants.
The things that people get wrong the most often, especially first time growers, is misunderstanding the needs of the plants. We know plants that produce food, like tomatoes and peppers, need a lot more energy from the sun, a little bit more water, and a lot of nutrients in the soil. Before you choose plants or seeds for your bed, do some research. How much sunlight do your beds get throughout the day? Are there amendments you should be adding to your soil before you sow your plants for the year? Thinking about the answers to these questions will help you avoid some of the garden fails Arthur talks about—and get the best results possible.
Plant leafy vegetables in the shadier areas.
If, like many gardeners, your plot is challenged by shade at certain times of day, fear not. Some of the easiest vegetables to grow don’t mind a little shade. Choose a leafy salad mix, or stock those shade-dappled beds with enough leaf or head lettuces to supply your family’s salads for the season. Many fabulous greens are now available.
Start with the right soil
If you’re gardening in raised beds or patio planters, chances are you’ve purchased a soil mix to fill the space. That’s a good thing, because one concern Arthur has for people, particularly those in urban centers, is that their backyard soil might be contaminated.
Plants absorb nutrients and other ingredients from the soil and pass those on to the edible parts of the crops we eat. That’s why Arthur opts for raised beds in his own garden. For the best all-round soil to get your beds off to a good start, Arthur recommends triple mix. This commercial term refers to soil that has other things mixed into it, like manure, sand, perlite, or vermiculite.
Track what you plant from year to year
Keeping accurate records about what you put in each bed from year to year will help you make informed decisions about what amendments your soil needs each time you plant. Since each plant has different needs, Arthur’s book provides a handy table for exactly what sort of amendments plants remove from your soil—and what you need to put back in.
Tomatoes, for example, like calcium rich soil, so treating a bed previously used for tomatoes with calcium before planting another crop is a good idea. Sketch out a simple map of your plantings and store in a safe place for future reference. Review each year before you plant.