I have recently been reminded of raised bed gardening. Dave at the Home Garden (http://thehomegarden.blogspot.com/) made some cool raised beds for his vegetable garden. My friend Geri feels her very best tip for successful gardening in Tennessee was to use raised beds. Lastly, Lola, my faithful commenter, reader and friend who lives in Florida, sent me some pictures of a raised bed her niece designed and built. Pretty good pictures of the bed too Lola!
I like the neatness of them, and I can clearly see they are functional. Just look at the veggies trailing over the edge. Lola's niece must be a gardener to have such a neat and tidy garden bed with so much lushness. Maybe she has the gardening gene from her Aunt Lola?
Raised beds need not be fancy. Raised beds can be a simple as a mound of soil, or as complicated and exotic as mortared stone walls and everything in between.
Reasons for using raised beds in gardening are varied. Geri says her soil is solid clay with a lot of large and small rocks. Her daughter has been digging a hole for two weeks now and has made the hole only about 6 inches deep in that two weeks! That is not much progress. I jokingly suggested she get Clare a pick axe. She didn't like the joke too much but replied raised beds are the way to go. I had forgotten that in this area it can be very hard to dig for those who have rocks and clay. I am blessed with no rocks or clay.
In addition to raised beds being good alternatives for growing plants in, versus the normal rock and clay, they also improve drainage and warm up faster in the spring time. Many raised beds can be built so as to be accessible for the handicapped as well.
Another gardening friend, Debbie, is growing a vegetable garden using the square foot method. I generally use the French Intensive method of growing vegetables, but this square foot method is similar, and does utilize raised beds. It dictates you must use a specific type of soil and exactly lay out the 12" squares. Debbie purchased a huge bag of vermiculite and mixed her own special mix for her raised beds. She then added a grid to the top of her beds, and planted in the square boxes created by the grid. I am looking forward to seeing how she does with the square foot raised bed method.
The last picture is of one of my raised beds in my vegetable garden. I have always gardened in raised beds, but usually did not have a formal box around them. No, my style of gardening has always been a bit informal with a pile of dirt mounded up and vegetables stuck in it everywhere. That all changed last fall when I had to move my vegetable garden and decided to brick in the walkways. I actually like the neatness and ease of the built beds. Now hopefully my veggies will not sprawl everywhere.
The trellis (A-frame) in this bed is what I will grow my gourds upon. I was not able to grow gourds last year due to the drought, I am making up for that by over planting this year. All my friends (even the far away ones) can expect gourds for gifts. I am not done with making the A-frames and still have two more to make. I will most likely post on my method and show some pictures. It has taken me awhile to get it right. The old method I used for vertical gardening was not working at all.
Raised beds are really the way to go for all gardening. Raised beds not only improve drainage, bring the flowers closer to you, and warm up faster in the spring, but they also provide all of the plants a very good stage for showing off. Just look at Lola's niece's plants and how much nicer they look in the raised bed.
Today is Zachary's 12th birthday. Zachary is Anonymous's son. One more year and he will join his older brother in becoming a teenager. Ooooo scary.....
HAPPY BIRTHDAY ZACHARY!
in the garden....