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Raised beds can help solve soil quality problems

Some gardeners find they have an impossible soil situation that won't grow anything. If this is a problem then growing vegetables over these areas in raised beds should be considered. A primary advantage of raised beds is the gardener has a choice as to the soil he/she gardens in. Free water drainage is essential in raised beds and the soil or mixture used should be one that will retain some water while permitting the excess to drain out. For small areas the commercial peat-lite mixes might be considered. These are disease, insect and weed free and have good drainage properties. Another mix might be equal parts of sand, peat moss and garden soil.

Constructing raised beds: Minimum depth should be eight inches. If both sides of the bed are accessible then widths up to six feet can be used. If beds are placed next to a wall or fence and only one side can be worked then limit width to four feet. Beds up to 10 feet long will only require corner post supports. Use intermediate side supports for longer lengths. Construction materials can be old railroad crossties, old telephone poles, concrete blocks or rough hardwood boards.

Irrigation: Raised beds that have good drainage should be watered more often than regular garden soil and plans for irrigation should be considered when beds are constructed. Underground water lines to each bed are ideal and are best put in while beds are being built. Drip irrigation will require more initial investment but less water will be used for irrigation.

Don't let poor soil or drainage keep you from gardening. Try a raised bed.

Web posted on Thursday, December 22, 2005


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