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Over the past week, we have all seen a drastic change in our lives that we did not expect with the coronavirus. Last week, I discussed ways to start a vegetable garden. After doing some research about this, I decided to invest in a small raised garden bed to grow vegetables in. Below are some factors that will help you decide on plans for raised garden bed for your vegetables.
While many people were out panic shopping last week, I invested in some vegetable seeds, bulbs, and tubers. I put the potato and onion bulbs in some the last of my pots.
I have herb seedlings that I will plant in vertical cloth planters I have. My tomato seedlings I’ll place in a container I still have not used, as well as lettuce seedlings I recently started in egg crates.
I bought a starter veggie seed kit that has carrot, pea, and cucumber seeds that needed a home. So, I started doing research on small raised garden beds. This is a great way to get ideas for plans for raised garden bed.
My Raised Garden Bed
I ended up purchasing a small plastic raised garden bed kit with wheels from Lowe’s. I ordered it online, but picked it up at a nearby store since I wanted to see it in person before bringing it home.
The kit came with instructions and suggested material for planting. After another trip to Home Depot (which is closer), I also bought two bags of potting mix, garden lime, and fertilizer for my veggies.
Of course, this works for me and my space, but not necessarily for you. Below are some things to consider to help you plan out a raised garden bed for your space.
Raised Garden Budget
How much money can you put toward your raised garden? You can go inexpensive to expensive with this. The budget is based on if you are building your own or buying a ready made garden bed, size of bed and cost of materials, starting with seeds or plants, and type of soil you will use.
I already have seeds, but the cost of my ready made raised garden, two 25 quarts of potted soil, a small bag of garden lime, and veggie fertilizer came to almost $50. I was actually surprised at how much soil I needed, based on the size of my little raised garden bed.
This is on the lower end of a budget. Generally, it will cost less to make your own (unless you plan on making a ginormous raised bed). I would say the biggest cost, besides the bed itself, is the soil.
Size of Raised Garden
This, of course, depends on how much space you have on your property. I found a raised bed that was only 20 by 24 inches. If this goes well, I’ll buy another, or go larger next time.
Raised garden beds can be made in several dimensions. There are four by four feet beds, two by eight feet beds, and so on. Do some research to look at different beds and think about the size and dimensions you want yours to be before getting supplies or purchasing one ready made.
Buy vs Make Raised Garden Bed
There are pros and cons to both purchasing a bed versus making your own. Time may not be a factor right now, but consider the cost of both. Ask friends and family about their experiences with either. You can also get advice from your local garden provider.
Where to Place Raised Garden Bed
Most vegetables need a full day’s worth of sun, about six to eight hours time in the sun every day to grow to their capacity. Take note on where the sun falls on your yard before getting your raised garden bed.
Since we live in an apartment complex with a patio with three walls in our outside space, our sun and shade move throughout the day.
I was able to solve this dilemma by purchasing a raised garden bed with wheels! Not sure if this is possible to do with larger ones, but definitely works with my small one.
How to Plant Vegetables
Vegetables are generally planted in rows. You can also try square foot gardening, where you can plant one type of vegetable in each square foot. Based on how large the plant will get, you can place several in one square foot of space.
There are plenty of plans and diagrams you can look up to start with this. I just followed one of the diagrams in my set up booklet that showed three rows of veggies.
Getting Your Raised Garden Ready for Plants
Once you have the above planned, you can prep your garden bed for planting. I’m sure there are several ways to do this, such as DIY soil with compost. I’m going to tell you how I did it for my garden bed.
My raised garden bed came with instructions that I tried to follow as best I could, as mentioned below.
Like I said above, I purchased two bags of potting mix that hold 25 quarts of soil in each bag. I didn’t think I would need that much, but ended up using almost two whole bags of potting soil. Good thing they were on sale!
I dumped an entire bag of potting mix in the garden bed. It was suppose to be moist, so I added some water with my watering can as I filled the bed up. Once I smoothed over the soil with my garden tool, there was about two inches of space from the soil to the top of the bed.
I then added about 1 pound of dolomite, or garden lime, to the top of the moist soil. Dolomite is a type of limestone that raises the pH in soil to feed vegetables the nutrients they need to thrive and grow. More potting mix was added to the dolomite, then I mixed both together.
Square Foot Gardening or Rows of Vegetables?
I’m planning on growing carrots, peas, and cucumbers in the raised garden bed, so I decided to plant them in three rows. In the future, I’ll plant vegetables in this bed in square feet, since I’ll be able to get more plants in that way.
I made sure there was room to add fertilizer between the rows. Based on the diagram, I added three cups of fertilizer in two rows I made between the area I would plant in. Then I added more potting mix until a small mound formed on the bed.
My raised garden bed kit came with a nifty mulch cover. Once I made a small cut so the water fill tube would fit, I placed the mulch cover over my garden bed.
I made some cuts in rows for my vegetable seeds, then added my carrot, pea, and cucumber seeds a little below the top of the soil. Make sure to follow the directions on the packets since each vegetable needs to be planted a little differently.
Last, I filled the fill tube with about three gallons of water from my watering can. There is a water reservoir just below the area that I placed the soil in at the bottom of the raised garden bed. The water is suppose to come up from there, through the soil, and up to the seeds. Keep your fingers cross that this works!
No matter what happens, it was fun and a great activity to do during this difficult time. Hopefully, I’ll be able to report that I have some nice vegetables in a few weeks.
Plans for Raised Garden Bed
I hope the above tips help you decide on your plans for raised garden bed for your yard. Do you have a raised garden bed? How did you choose yours and are you happy with your choice? Let me know in the comments section below!
This post was first published here