Try these organic tips and tricks to get the most out of your planting space
Raised beds are great: the soil in them warms and dries out earlier in the spring than regular garden beds, so you can get planting sooner. They allow us to garden without fighting stones and roots, and the soil in them stays perfectly fluffy since it doesn’t get walked on.
Of course, there are a few drawbacks: in hot dry weather, raised beds tend to dry out quickly. Roots from nearby trees will eventually find their way into your nice, nutrient-dense soil.
Here are ten even high-yield strategies that will make the most of a raised garden bed space.
Ten Tips for Raised Garden Beds
# 1: Never Walk On The Soil
The biggest advantage of raised bed gardening is the light, fluffy, absolutely perfect soil you’re able to work with as a result. When you build your raised beds, build them so that you’re able to reach every part of the bed without having to stand in it. Raised garden bed soil doesn’t need to be tilled as it is not compacted, but this can happen if you walk on the soil in the bed
# 2: Mulch after planting.
Mulch with newspaper, straw, grass clippings, leaves, or wood chips after planting your garden. This will reduce the amount of weeding you’ll have to do and keep the soil moist.
# 3: Plan your irrigation system.
Two of the best ways to irrigate a raised bed are by soaker hose and drip irrigation. If you plan it ahead of time and install your irrigation system before planting, you can save yourself a lot of work and time spent standing around with a hose later on.
# 4: Install a barrier to roots and weeds.
If you have large trees in the area, or just want to ensure that you won’t have to deal with weeds growing up through your perfect soil, consider installing a barrier at the bottom of the bed. This could be a commercial weed barrier, a piece of old carpet, or a thick piece of corrugated cardboard. If you have an existing raised bed and find that you’re battling tree roots every year, you may have to excavate the soil, install the barrier, and refill with the soil. It’s a bit of work, but it will save you tons of work later on.
# 5: Add nutrient enhanced compost annually.
Gardening in a raised bed is, essentially, like gardening in a really, really large container. As with any container garden, the soil will settle and get depleted as time goes on. You can mitigate this by adding a one to two-inch layer of compost or composted manure each spring before you start planting.
# 6: Fluff the soil with a garden fork as needed.
To lighten compacted soil in your raised bed, simply stick a garden fork as deeply into the soil as possible, and wiggle it back and forth. Do that at eight to twelve-inch intervals all over the bed, and your soil will be nicely loosened without a lot of backbreaking work.
# 7: Cover up your soil at the end of the gardening season
Add a layer of organic mulch or plant a cover crop at the end of your growing season. Soil that is exposed to harsh winter weather breaks down and compacts much faster than protected soil. This technique also keeps the soil nutrient enhanced
To get the maximum yields from each bed, pay attention to how you arrange your plants. Avoid planting in square patterns or rows. Instead, stagger the plants by planting in triangles. By doing so, you can fit 10 to 14 percent more plants in each bed.
Just be careful not to space your plants too tightly. Some plants won’t reach their full size—or yield—when crowded. For instance, when one researcher increased the spacing between romaine lettuces from 8 to 10 inches, the harvest weight per plant doubled. (Remember that weight yield per square foot is more important than the number of plants per square foot.)
Overly tight spacing can also stress plants, making them more susceptible to diseases and insect attack.
No matter how small your garden, you can grow more by going vertical. Grow space-hungry vining crops—such as tomatoes, pole beans, peas, squash, melons, cukes, and so on—straight up, supported by trellises, fences, cages, or stakes.
Growing vegetables vertically also saves time. Harvest and maintenance go faster because you can see exactly where the fruits are. And upward-bound plants are less likely to be hit by fungal diseases thanks to the improved air circulation around the foliage.
Try growing vining crops on trellises along one side of raised beds, using sturdy end posts with nylon mesh netting or string in between to provide a climbing surface. Tie the growing vines to the trellis. But don’t worry about securing heavy fruits—even squash and melons will develop thicker stems for support.
Mix It Up
Companion planting saves space, too. Consider the classic Native American combination, the “three sisters”—corn, beans, and squash. Sturdy cornstalks support the pole beans, while squash grows freely on the ground below, shading out competing weeds. This combination works because the crops are compatible. Other compatible combinations include tomatoes, basil, and onions; leaf lettuce and peas or brassicas; carrots, onions, and radishes; and beets and celery.
There are many basics to having a successful garden in a raised bed, Remember to be flexible and open to new ideas that can help your garden
Drip irrigation: installed! Hours of hand watering will now be done by the flip of a switch. So grateful to Miki Palchick for helping me pick out the parts and leading the build yesterday. Thanks a million to the amazing friends (Heidi, Cayden, Alison, Chris, and Adele) who helped ALL DAY. We swam three times in the creek, ran around in the rain, and capped it all off with the system’s maiden voyage and homemade ice cream cones. #dripirrigation #seedsaving #timesaving #watersaving
trying to get shit done out here while the weather permits!
a friend and i made a hugelkultur-inspired planter mound for herbs. we dug down a foot and filled the hole with spongey wood, then put a stump in the middle, so that will hopefully soak up water for the plants to tap into. the soil is a mix of what we dug up, and goat/sheep manure. looks a lil clumsy but we used what we had on hand (as always)
disassembled and picked up a free, enormous raised garden bed, with a frame so it could be a greenhouse too. pic is from before we took it apart. it has a drip irrigation system on top and one down in the base. plus 1,000+ lbs of rich black composty soil! no chickens eating my garden, less weeding, no kneeling, no watering, and the greenhouse thing is a huge plus too! it is a LOT bigger than it looks….. i’m so sore om g
aaaand today i also finally patched a few holes in the fence out front, since the chickens kept hanging out on the gravel road for some reason
what else…… finished up a huge project. put up a new fence for the ungulates, so they can clear half an acre more brush. their other three pens definitely need time to recover and regrow.
made another rabbit tractor so they can graze. uh. pulled up the tomatoes and replaced them with radishes. my aunt bought me sheep shears for my birthday, so that’s probably my next project. wish me luck!
I pursue this self-reliant and sustainable lifestyle to be the change I want to see in the world, but I’m not big on preaching to others. That’s not to say I don’t feel a little warm n’ fuzzy when I’ve inspired someone else. My MIL has always kept a little plot for growing edibles, but she has over 2acres that’s really not doing much else. At 60+ years old, I’m surprised that she frequently hits us up for advice and asks what we do for our garden. I mean, what the fux do I know? She’s been probably been gardening longer than I’ve been alive. This spring, MIL leveled up to four large garden boxes, drip irrigation, and a protective fencing. (But she also paid someone to do all this, so it’s kinda cheating:-) Really happy to see her take on more this year.
Hi Tumblrs! Happy Sunday. I haven’t been posting a lot of food pictures and recipes lately because I have a job now. I’m a landscape designer and installer. I’m growing more food than ever though, at 4 different houses including my own. It’s the best job I’ve ever had. This is my work from the past month. These photos are of a back yard garden makeover. My crew is doing an awesome job. They’ve been working so hard and so have I. I built the brick labyrinth patio in the center mostly by myself. My friend Sarah helped me with a few rows of bricks, as did the homeowner and her friend Courtney. My crew installed all the DG, the bender board and hardscape lines, framed out and installed the big pavers for the dining patio, created drip irrigation everywhere, helped me plant everything, and made me laugh a lot which makes the day go by fast.
In the first picture is a huge raised vegetable garden, one of two. These vegetable beds have really taken off! We’re growing peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, basil, squash, cucumber, malabar spinach, arugula, thyme, and beans. Yum! I also planted California native plants and succulents in garden beds throughout the yard, and big drought tolerant shrubs and trees in pots. The second set of pics you can see the property before, it was basically a big rectangular dirt patch with a massive stack of bricks in one corner. The picture next to it is after the hardscape elements were finished. We used the bricks to create a labyrinth-esque patio around the fire pit. You can actually walk this labyrinth, I made a bunch of turns in it. Now it’s after the after there’s furniture everywhere and a few more plants. I love the way this garden looks and feels. In the last set of pics is a green frog fountain that was sitting in three different pieces scattered about the yard. My crew set it up and we bought a small pump and got it working. My crew is amazing. I have to go there today to plant a vine and check on things. I can’t wait. I love my job! I would do this for free. Don’t tell any of my clients I said that.
Milroy Perera Associates have recently unveiled their plans for Clearpoint Tower in Sri Lanka. When completed, the luscious 46-story building will be the world’s tallest residential vertical garden. But it’s not just about looks; designed with the help of Mäga Engineering, the building focuses on sustainable initiatives, using the exterior vegetation to minimize solar heat gain and provide a sound buffer. As a result, the need for air conditioning is reduced, with extra energy provided by rooftop solar panels. Lastly, the need for water is satisfied via an efficient automated drip irrigation system.
This is a demonstration of how drip irrigation works. It’s not overly exciting. It drips very slow, but that’s what makes it so great. The slow dripping prevents water being wasted through runoff because the water has time to soak into the soil. Drip irrigation is super efficient and will help you save water. It’s much more efficient than a soaker hose or a sprinkler system.
Proximity Designs is a Myanmar-based social enterprise that designs products to improve poor people’s lives. Some of the affordable creations they’ve made include foot-powered water pumps, drip irrigation systems, solar lanterns and even infrastructure projects like bridges.
An integral part of their design and manufacturing process involves putting prototypes through trials with robots that use them until they break. The group says their line of farming aids all get pushed to failure by their lab’s robot farmers, which helps improve how they’re made.
Building a reliable product is important if it is to be used under the strain of daily life in rural Myanmar. A product like a manual water pump relieves farmers of the backbreaking work of carrying up to 10 tons of water a day on their backs from distant wells.
So, there was a picture of puppy tazer in a garden with flowers, and then there was tagfic involving dirt, and after ninjaboots and svmadelyn postulated that kaner with his soft hands would give baths that no puppy could spurn, i had to write it with, uh, visual aids.
Everything’s below a cut because it got loooooong.
What do you think of this advertising campaign by Coca Cola in 2011?
What you’re seeing is a “living” billboard located in the heart of Manila’s busiest street which handles an average of 316,345 cars a day.
The billboard is made of recycled coke bottles used as pots which are filled with a mixture of industrial by-products and organic fertilisers. The 3,600 pots were filled with Fukien tea plants and a drip irrigation system was installed for efficient watering.
This is a great example of how our concepts of advertising can evolve in an eco friendly manner. This campaign is both effective with regard coca cola’s advertising goals and is reflective of a growing public concern for the environment.