Sadly, not everyone has a yard that’s conducive to successful gardening. Space limitations play a big part, and if you live in an area with poor soil, growing anything but weeds can be seemingly impossible. The solution to these challenges is to use raised beds for your gardening. Here are some tips for successfully building and planting raised beds.
Design your beds smartly.
As a rule, rectangular beds are easier to manage than square beds. With rectangular beds, you can easily reach all plants without having to plan for additional walkways. Build your beds as long as your property will allow, but try to keep the width to no more than three feet.
Choose your location.
With a raised bed, it really doesn’t matter what your soil content looks like. You can even build one on a concrete or asphalt rooftop if you’d like. The key to growing plants successfully in raised beds is to ensure that the plants get plenty of sunlight and water access. You should also make sure your plants are safe from animals and curious children.
Think outside the “box” when spacing your plants.
Traditional planting dictates that plants are placed in squares. Instead, use a triangle method in your raised beds. Stagger your plants so that each set is planted between the rows of the previous set, creating triangles. This will maximize your real estate and productivity.
Plant complimentary crops.
Not all plants will play nicely together. However, many plants will support the growth of others in close proximity. For example, corn will support the growth of beans, and if you plant squash in the same bed, the corn will provide the necessary shade for the squash to reach its full potential. Research “sister” crops to see what other combinations work well.
Succession planting will ensure that your raised bed keeps producing for the entire growing season. As a rule, planting the same crop back to back isn’t as bountiful as rotating plants.
If you don’t have room, grow vertically.
Strapped for space? Grow vertically. Use stakes or trellises to train your cucumbers, tomatoes and squash to grow skyward.