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Discover the Ultimate Garden Growing Experience Using Raised Garden Beds!
Are raised garden beds a solution to successful gardening?
Raised garden beds are now becoming a necessity due to continuous storms and constant rains that have been destroying our crops !
What do I mean?
Let me explain.
With all the continuous raining and flooding through out the U.S. in 2019 the commercial crop production in this country has become severely disrupted.
The flooding rains have been concentrated within our major food producing areas leading to infrastructure damage as well as soil contamination.
The amounts of rain being unleashed into these areas without time to dry out can cause extreme soil depletion which means all the soil life is now dead that is necessary for the crops to grow and no longer exists in the soil.
This soil problem can take years to repair using conventional growing methods.
In my opinion it is time for all gardeners to create their own organic soil and start growing as much of their their own healthy food supply as possible in raised garden beds in order to divert the food shortages that were caused from these weather issues.
Food shortages loom in the near future causing prices of all food products to soar out of control as soon as the later part of this year.
This issue will be with us for years to come.
There Is A Solution To The Problem
Raised Garden Beds will grow food no matter how bad the soil beneath them is even if the ground is saturated with water.
Raised garden beds work very well in wet areas. You can take that from someone living in a continuous rain zone for the past few years!
The plants feeder roots growing in the beds are well above the ground in well drained nutrient rich soil and only the tap root is anchoring the plant in the bad soil.
Need proof ? Take a look at the image above.
These raised garden beds are sitting in a literal flood zone and still growing well.
We have springs still running out of the ground from flooding rains for months in the area were these beds are located in East Texas.
We have had continuous rainfall since September of last year and I am still able to grow vegetables even though this bed is sitting in water most of the early growing season.
The raised garden beds that you see in this image are affected very little from the continuous rainfall and storms we have encountered.
If You want to find out more about the benefits of raised garden beds just follow this link provided.
So if you ask if raised bed gardens are better, in my opinion based on my experience I would say the answer is “yes”!
Where To Put Raised Garden Beds
There are many advantages to these garden beds, one that stands out is you can literally put them anywhere.
Raised Beds can be set up on concrete for great patio gardens, and also paved areas.
- There are plant nurseries throughout the country leasing abandoned parking lots and putting these beds on them to grow their plants successfully. If you live in apartment you can also grow using large containers or as a more reasonably priced method are large plastic storage totes.
- There are people in large cities growing gardens on roof tops and parking lots using raised beds.
- Raised beds can be placed on hillsides or slopes to grow vegetable gardens in just level off a area an put them in place. They work very well for this , all of my garden beds are placed on a hillside.
- Anywhere you have room you can put these garden beds in place and grow a bountiful garden.
Local growers and gardeners alike will need to step up and start growing their own food crops to help combat the food shortage problem and escalating prices that will be looming in their own local areas.
Conventional growing methods used by gardeners will more than likely become unsustainable in the near future due to soil depletion, rising costs of all fertilizers and supplies along with seed shortages and amending products due to supply and demand.
There is another way for us to grow bountiful crops without breaking the bank.
What To Use To Fill Your Raised Garden Beds
There are 3 main things you will need to learn for this system to work extremely well. This will take some time to put all of these tasks into action and some planning will be required.
These tasks consist of
Start Composting – This will supply you with all the nutrient rich soil teaming with life you will need to grow your plants in.
Start a Worm Farm – This will supply you with fertile worm castings which will be the the majority of your rich soil amendment you will need for growing healthy plants.
Build Raised Garden Beds – This is where you will contain your own living rich growing medium on top of the existing soil.
Composting is a essential part of the process and can get very expensive if you have to buy it to fill your beds.
All composts are not created equal and some may even contain toxic ingredients that could be harmful to you and to your plants.
Be sure not to use yard and garden waste that has been treated with toxic pesticides when creating your compost, it will kill the various life forms you are trying to create.
Learning how to make compost on your own property is an essential task for getting great soil filling these beds.
It is easy to do and very inexpensive and above all you know what was used to make it. To find out more on how to make compost click the image above on the left.
You will need a lot of compost to fill your raised beds.
I mix my homemade compost 50% to 50% peat moss or potting soil for best results in the beds.
Some others use coco choir in the place of peat moss which is fine but be sure it has low/no salt content.
Worm composting is yet another essential part to this process. Starting a worm farm is a great way to recycle your organic kitchen scraps and paper products into an highly nutrient dense natural soil amendment for your garden plants.
Worms eat what you would normally throw out anyway and turn it into worm castings. Worm casting contain small amounts of nitrogen but larger amounts of potassium and potash which your plants need for strong healthy growth.
Worm castings will reduce the need for fertilizers and pesticides saving you money in the future while adding moisture retaining capabilities and necessary nutrients to your soil.
Worm farms are normally set up indoors at first with composting worms known as red wigglers.
The worms are placed in a worm bin and fed your kitchen scraps and shredded paper and cardboard products you find around your home..
The worms can eat about 30% of their body weight per day producing a rich fertile soil amendment for your plants to grow in.
If you keep them happy they will reproduce every 30 days or so producing more worms and more castings. At about 3 months you should be able to start harvesting the castings for use in your raised garden beds.
Raising composting worms is easy and very rewarding.
You can start small for much less than $100 and grow it into a full time business if you wish.
For more information about what you can do with castings check out our post how to use worm castings for more detailed information.
Raised Garden Beds
Raised beds are a place to contain your gardening soil mix and using them grow your garden plants brings many benefits.
These raised garden beds can be made inexpensively out of any organic material that you can gather.
I have built my raised beds from used lumber and used barn metal roofing panels.
My point is you can make raised garden beds out of about anything which can be very inexpensive.
As a matter of fact I just completed a little test raised garden bed for the sake of this article.
My Raised Garden Bed Experiment (April 2020 update)
Keep in mind here in East Texas it rains about every other day here recently and it is not unusual to get rain 3 to 5 days out of the week.
After getting a day to mow the high grass with the winter leaves still in it, I created this raised garden bed by throwing down a layer of cardboard and stacking the leaves and grass mixture on top of it.
I built this pile of leaves up about 12 to 14 inches with this fresh mowed material which was destined for my compost pile originally.
After a day of rain, during the next days dry out spell, I took a rake pulled back the leaves to create 2 deep rows about 10″ deep which I filled with my custom soil mix described above.
I planted the Potatoes in this new raised garden bed made from nothing but mowed grass material and finished compost.
I did this raised garden bed experiment because I had a bag of store bought potatoes I needed to do something with.
I decided to grow them in this experimental raised garden bed to see what would happen.
Take a look at the image on the right to find a raised garden bed built for no money which is growing potatoes on top of the ground with no structure at all.
This just proves it is is more about the soil you are growing in that the container structure itself. You can grow the same way by making your own soil in advance like we have discussed in this article.
How Deep Does A Raised Garden Bed Need To Be?
The raised garden beds need to be at least 8 inches deep for growing the small plants but 12 inches deep is better.
You can grow about any vegetable in a 12 inch deep bed including tomatoes.
You can also grow tomatoes in 18 gallon plastic totes, I have done this for years although plastic totes can get a little pricey if you use a lot of them.
I have seen successful gardens growing inside of rock beds, log beds, trash cans, plastic totes, bath tubs, concrete beds, 4 pieces of wood nailed together, kiddie pools and the list goes on.
The point is use your imagination, all you need is something to contain the soil in to keep it from washing out.
Take a look around the gardening sites on the internet and see what you like.
Try to find resources to build what you like or just buy some raised garden beds.
Check out the affordable and popular raised garden beds for sale in the image links below.
I am sure you can find a nice raised garden bed to suit your needs.
It’s not only the container here that is important. The soil inside your raised garden bed is what’s most important.
The raised garden bed soil is the key here.
You can have the most expensive raised garden beds that you can buy and if the soil is not good inside of it you won’t get good growing results.
Raised bed gardening is in my opinion much better and sustainable than any other conventional gardening methods used today.
The key to this guide is to follow it as I have shown you and you can have a successful garden in a short amount of time no matter what the weather brings us.
Take action now and get your raised garden beds set up to enjoy your beautiful healthy garden for many years to come!
If you don’t have the room for raised garden beds you can grow your vegetables in 18 gallon or larger plastic totes.
Just keep in mind, if the rain starts flooding again like it has the last couple of years, these totes or large container methods may not work very well due to the soil washing out of the containers.
I ran out of room in my raised gardens last spring and used 5 gallon buckets as containers and this is exactly what happened to me.
I lost all the plants in my containers due to soil loss.
All the products mentioned above can be purchased to fill contains for smaller gardens but can get very expensive trying to use store bought products in a large raised garden bed system.
Tip for using containers– bury the large containers or plastic totes at least half their depth in the soil and it will not wash out the growing medium inside during heavy rains,
They perform the same as a raised garden beds if set up properly.
Don’t forget to add drainage holes to the totes before using.
Good Luck, I hope this helps get you started!
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