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05.12.2014
Too many gardeners focus on what is happening above the soil rather than what is going on beneath the soil.  This is where the real action is taking place and the major players are worms. I don’t think anyone really knows when the benefits of composting were discovered or when worms wiggled their way into the picture, but it was a very very long time ago.  Certainly, ancient Greeks documented the mixing of straw and animal manures as an effective composting technique, while in Europe, and eventually in the Americas, plant production benefited from the use of fish based fertilizers.
For the suburban vegetable gardener, especially those of you who are into raised beds, there are a few crops that just don’t work because of space limitations. Whether you are building your first garden, adding on to an existing plot or just want a new look for your garden, raised boxes are just the thing. During my quest to make my raised bed vegetable garden layout more efficient and easier to maneuver through I’ve learned some helpful raised bed garden tips that may help gardeners to avoid the same mistakes I made when planning and setting up my first raised bed vegetable garden layout.
Plan your raised garden bed exactly how you want it because it can be difficult to move later.
Make each vegetable bed a separate box garden.Originally I connected a few beds together and discovered that it was a pain to move around. Whether you have been gardening for a while or are just now starting your first vegetable garden I hope you can find these tips useful! I used cedar boards on my raised beds and have gotten at least 5 or 6 years out of them, but they are starting to rot. I’m sure many would find these tips helpful and for me too, when I have a place have raised beds on ground!
Good points Dave and when I plan my vegetable garden —I am working on Mr I to take charge of them–I will heed your advice! Excelent tips, Dave (which I’ve cut and pasted into a text file for future reference).
The engineered lumber an above commenter is talking about is called trex, though if you search on craigslist you can often find free bricks. I recommend planting a perennial hedge near your garden especially if it is out in the open. We are building similar raised beds in our new garden this year and the one thing we are having to consider is keeping gophers out so we are lining them with chicken wire that we will also run up the sides and staple to the boards. Has anyone here come across information or somebody that has built a rooftop raised bed vegetable garden?
There are probably other things to think about but I would say the most important is to make sure your roof can hold the weight. Last year I was visiting a friend's garden who designed her family's raised beds in the shape of a 'U'.I found the design to be very functional with a good deal of space for growing compacted into a small area. This vegetable garden layout could be constructed from many different materials but cedar, redwood, or composite materials might work the easiest.


If you keep these ideas in mind while you are designing your raised beds you can make your gardening experience as good as it can be.
When I attached the beds together I found that I either had to climb across them or make a long trek around the beds to get to the other side. A slight slope isn’t a big deal but you definitely don’t want your soil to flow out of the raised beds.
Whichever route you take place the water line underneath your mulch, this will keep it from evaporating your money…oops, I mean water! Many plants have repellent properties to ward of pests and others help enrich the soil with nitrogen fixing properties like members of the legume family. Plants need different nutrients in different amounts and a heavy feeder in one year needs to be replaced by one that nourishes the soil. If you have questions please leave a comment below or ask on the Growing The Home Garden Facebook page! It will help with attracting the beneficial bugs and placed correctly can also help with wind.I am doing more companion planting this year than last year.
I made the mistake of planting my pole beans too close to one of the rotating sprinkler heads last fall. I have copied your article, noted you as the author and included your website for reference. Whether you are starting your first garden or are well seasoned and looking for new ideas, this site is for you. Your vegetable garden’s raised bed arrangement should make things convenient for planting, harvesting, and cleanup. Using a sprinkler will send water into the air which will evaporate and allow water to rest on the leaves of plants which can contribute to fungal diseases. Your vegetable garden will produce waste material which needs to be dealt with and composting is the best way to do it!
One article discussed a rooftop garden that was nearly a farm – I think in New Jersey. For me, using my favorite garden tools– a good fork and machete work well in getting a design to look as I desire it to.
Since the soil was at least 2 feet deep in each bed it had plenty of nutrients for intensive planting. You never want them to be wider than four feet because you need to be able to reach the center of the box without stepping onto it. We are also developing the garden enthusiast's ultimate record keeping tool which we hope to release to you very soon.


You want a garden that is comfortable to move around which makes your time in the garden much more pleasant!
Find a location that gets a minimum of 8 hours of light, but for most vegetables the more light the better.
Some plants may be used as a trap crops to catch pesky bugs like aphids then maybe either removed from the garden or treated with insecticidal soap.
Make sure that you plan ahead for a good crop rotation and never plant the same bed with the same vegetables the following year.
Using soil high in organic matter (like compost) helps your raised bed provide all the nutrients your plants need.
Dave has a side business growing and selling heirloom vegetables and herb plants through Blue Shed Gardens and works as a real estate agent in Spring Hill, TN. If you have more room you could build additional beds on each side to make a sideways 'E' shape. Remember, compacting the soil is a big “no no” which will impact drainage and is harmful to the beneficial worms that live below the surface.
Make sure the raised bed garden is expandable as you may want to add more raised beds later.
Organic content allows the roots to gather available resources like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium much more easily. Having three raised beds also allows for some crop rotation although a fourth or fifth bed would aid that technique greatly. Companion planing isn’t going to protect your plants 100% but it will significantly reduce your crop losses due to insects. Not to mention the fact I can’t get down on the ground so I have to have it up off the ground. If compost isn’t convenient consider other organic matter that will break down fast like grass clippings, leaves, or straw as amendments. If it’s convenient animal compost is great to use in the garden too, just make sure that it is completely broken down. If you can afford it and can move stone works great because it lasts with wood you will eventually replace the raised bed.



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