The First Time Gardener: Getting Started with Raised Beds

Wheelchair Height GardenIn the past few days, I’ve talked about starting a new garden and preparing the site. But what about using raised beds? Are the steps the same?

The answer is yes and no.

You should still clear the area of existing plants before putting in a raised bed. Don’t expect the raised bed to stifle all the weed growth, particularly if you have bermudagrass in the area!

I would recommend that you lightly till the soil in the location. This will encourage better drainage and allow roots to grow down into the lower soil if they need to.

Next, build your raised bed out of whatever materials you wish. (Treated lumber is now considered safe because it is no longer treated with a compound containing arsenic. The raised bed should be at least 6″ high. It should be no more than 4-5′ wide, because you want to be able to reach to the center of the bed. It can be as long as you have space in your yard.

You can fill the raised bed with soil from your yard or you can buy topsoil. If you buy topsoil,  wait until this step to do your soil test. You can also add lots of great compost to the raised bed to increase the organic matter content.

You are now ready to start planting! (Welll…maybe after this weekend!)

About Rebecca

I'm a Horticulture Educator with Sedgwick County Extension, a branch of K-State Research and Extension, located in Wichita, KS. I teach about fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

Posted on March 26, 2009, in Around the Garden, Family of 4 Garden, The First Time Gardener. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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