Raised Vegetable Garden Beds

There's nothing like being able to go down to the garden to pick your own fresh vegetables. Making your own raised vegetable garden beds makes the growing of vegetables very convenient and an easy way to add a vegetable patch to your garden without having to dig up large portions of the soil before you start. Raised vegetable garden beds can also be an asset to those who find bending down to dig the garden a struggle, as raised vegetable beds can be constructed at any height.

If you cannot decide whether or not a raised vegetable bed would work in your garden there are various sources of gardening help you can go to. These include professional garden designers, garden nurseries or online garden designs. Some gardening websites offer free garden design software on how to build a raised garden bed. The use of a garden catalog or gardening pictures can also be helpful.

Once having decided on having a raised vegetable garden bed, you next need to decide on the materials you wish to make it out of. Look at the overall design of your garden to see which materials would blend in best. Many people opt for wooden raised beds as these are not only quick and easy to construct, but you can buy raised garden bed kits, which make the task very simple.

Old railway sleepers have become a popular choice. These can be difficult to source, but many good garden supply companies stock garden sleepers specially made for the job. If you decide to build your raised vegetable bed out of brick or stone, then some skill at brick laying will be required or the need to employ someone to build it for you.

Before you start to build your raised vegetable garden bed, you first need to choose a sunny spot that gets at least six hours of sunshine each day. A south facing garden is ideal for this. You next need to clear the ground underneath the area where your raised vegetable bed will go to give you a flat even surface. If your garden is particularly prone to weeds, a barrier mat can be laid to stop them coming up in your raised bed.

The site of your raised bed needs to be made level before you start and any overhanging branches from trees or shrubs need to be clipped back. Next you need to construct your raised bed from the materials you have chosen. A good working size for a raised bed is about four feet by eight feet, but can be adapted to suit your needs and space in the garden. Making your raised vegetable garden bed too large will cause problems reaching into the center to weed and plant your vegetables.

Make sure your raised bed is stable and can not shift it's position. This can be done by hammering stakes into the ground at the edges of the raised bed leaving about six inches above the ground or level with the tops of the sides if your bed is low. Once having done this you are ready to fill your raised vegetable garden bed with soil. Choose a good garden soil, this can be bought in bags, but might work out expensive for large raised beds. Garden supply companies or online gardening suppliers offer soil by the yard and will nearly always deliver.

Once having filled your raised bed with soil it needs to be watered well and left to settle. Further top ups of soil may be required until there is sufficient soil in the raised bed for your vegetables. Water the bed well and let the water drain and the soil dry out a little before planting your vegetables.

When you are ready to plant your seeds, mark out some rows in the soil with stakes and string for straight rows. It is useful to have the proper tools for the job, a garden fork and garden hoe are two of the essential garden tools you will need. Drag a garden hoe through the soil to make a shallow trench about one inch deep. If planting melons or cucumbers, mound up piles of soil and make one inch deep holes for the seeds. Using garden markers will help you remember what you have planted where.

Place the seeds in the rows and cover lightly. Follow the planting and care instructions on the packet carefully. Usually, the larger the seed, the deeper the hole. Small seeds need to be tampered down to prevent them from being blown away or eaten by birds. Lightly water the seeds until thoroughly wet.

Your seeds should germinate within six to twelve days, depending on the vegetables. If the weather is likely to turn cold, covering your seeds with garden fleece will help to protect them. If you wish to keep cats out of the garden, the use of garden mesh or garden netting is useful. This also stops birds from eating the seeds and young plants.

Raised vegetable garden beds make valuable additions to any size of garden and can add to the overall design of your garden by adding height and structure. They are convenient and will give you much pleasure and satisfaction in growing your own vegetables.

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Lawrence  L. Hoyle, EzineArticles Basic Author

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