Rad Raised Beds

Fab Four: Rad raised beds

Fab CedarChickenCoopPlanter

Chicken Coop Garden

Raised beds are all the rage and for good reason. They can maximize your gardening space—even turning a chicken coop into a mini salad farm. Because the bed is above ground level, you can preserve the quality of the soil. Ellen Mitchell, owner of Pick of the Planet, says, “You’re not walking on the soil so it’s easier to maintain its friability, which is as important as the fertility of the soil. You want soil that is fluffy and has plenty of water absorption and drainage.”
Cedar Chicken Coop and Run with Planter | williams-sonoma.com

FAb SizeMatters cropped

Size Matters

While a raised bed can be any size, Mitchell suggests, “Know how long your arms are. I usually make my beds about three feet wide because then I can easily reach the center from both sides.” Another important consideration is the depth of the bed. “The most common mistake I see is not making a deep enough bed. You need at least 12 to 14 inches.” Also, be mindful of where you place your plants. “You have to consider the actual needs and size of the plants. And don’t forget about harvesting access.” Mitchell puts her herbs and greens, which she uses all the time, on the outer edges of the bed. She puts tomatoes and cucumber trellises on the north end of the bed so that they do not shade the shorter plants.
Forever Raised Bedsgardeners.com

Fab GreatGardens

Great Gardens

While lots of products promise “no-work” and “no-fail” gardens, in reality there is no such thing. But there is help available. Mitchell says, “If your plant has a problem, take a picture with your phone and bring it to a local independent garden center where the staff can tell you what’s wrong and what to do about it. They can also help you lay out your garden from a photo of your yard.” As you plan your raised bed, do not forget watering. “I use soaker hoses that I put on a timer under my mulch, so even in a dry spell I’m good to go.” She suggests gardening can be meditative, “Form a daily practice of observation and tending.”
10-In-1 Modular Raised Bedgardeners.com

Fab BeautifulBeds

Beautiful Beds

Whether you have one raised bed or a bunch, remember the aesthetics. Mitchell says, “I add lots of edible flowers and companion flowers. I love borage, which takes over, but I still love it. Nasturtiums are great. There are lots of flowers that do double duty.” As a barefoot gardener, she prefers something soft between her beds. “I like hay or straw. Gravel looks tidy, but I like my feet to be happy.” She also uses hay or straw for mulch to keep weeds down. Manure, seaweed, and compost are her go-to soil amendments. And she sprinkles on lime in the fall and spring. According to Mitchell, “Don’t follow rigid rules, but be observant and keep your sense of humor.”
M Braceartofthegarden.net

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