If you’re fortunate enough to have a garden of any shape or size, the choices of what to do in them, are almost endless. Some of us prefer low-maintenance gardens (we talk about these in our recent blog Do low maintenance gardens really exist?), some of us are happy to potter around all day weeding and pruning. Whatever type of gardener you are, and whatever type of garden you have, there are so many things to consider.
In this blog, we’re focussing on Raised Bed Gardens, what they are, and what you can do with them.
What is Raised Bed Gardening?
Raised bed gardening is becoming increasingly popular among gardeners in the UK. This method involves planting in soil that has been raised above ground level, creating a contained and easily accessible garden bed. The raised bed is typically surrounded by a frame made of wood, stone, or concrete blocks.
One of the main advantages of raised bed gardening is that it allows for better soil drainage, which can be especially beneficial in areas with heavy clay soils. The raised bed provides a controlled environment for plants, allowing gardeners to more easily manage soil quality, nutrient levels, and irrigation. And if that wasn’t enough, Eartheasy has created a list of 10 Excellent Reasons to Use Raised Beds in Your Garden.
At ALS Landscaping we also believe that raised beds are a great option for people of an older generation and those with mobility issues to still enjoy gardening.
What can I put in raised beds?
This is a great question and one that we’re asked a lot. It will ultimately depend on your preferences, but it goes without saying that you can grow virtually anything in a raised bed. The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) suggest that “Raised beds are a great way of growing a wide range of plants, and are particularly popular for growing fruit and vegetables.”
So whether you prefer soft fruits, like blueberries, strawberries and blackberries, or you prefer hardy vegetables like garlic, onions and cabbage, a raised bed could be the solution you’re looking for.
Choosing the Right Plants for Your Raised Bed Garden
When it comes to choosing plants for your raised bed garden, there are a few things to think about. First, it’s important to choose plants that are suited to the specific growing conditions in your area. This may include factors such as temperature, sunlight, and soil pH.
It’s also important to choose plants that are well-suited to the size and depth of your raised bed. While most vegetables and herbs can be grown in raised beds, some may require more space or deeper soil than others, such as carrots and parsnips.
According to the RHS, some of the best plants for raised beds in the UK include:
- Salad greens, such as lettuce, arugula, and spinach
- Root vegetables, such as carrots, radishes, and beets
- Tomatoes, peppers, and other nightshade plants
- Herbs, such as basil, chives, and parsley
- Flowers, such as marigolds, petunias, and pansies
Then you need to think about the planting schedule for your chosen plants. In the UK, our gardening season typically runs from April to October, with different plants being best suited for different times of year.
How to Prepare Your Raised Bed for Planting
Preparing your raised bed for planting is an important step in ensuring the success of your garden. Here’s our summary of what you need to do to get started:
- Clear the area around your raised bed: Remove any weeds or other vegetation from the area
- Add soil additives: Depending on the quality of your existing soil, you might need to add additives such as compost, peat moss, or manure to improve soil structure and fertility
- Level the soil: Use a rake or hoe to level the soil in your raised bed
- Create a planting plan: Decide which plants you want to grow and create a planting plan that takes into account spacing requirements and planting schedules.
- Install a watering system: Depending on the size and location of your raised bed, you might want or need to install a drip irrigation system or other watering system to ensure that your plants receive the right amount of water.
Of course, if this sounds like too much hard work, at ALS Landscaping we can include this in the cost of your dream garden makeover.
Homes and Gardens have produced a list of 7 raised bed gardening mistakes you’ll need to avoid if you want a healthy vegetable harvest which we think is worth a read.
Planting and Maintaining Your Raised Bed Garden
Once your raised bed is prepared, it’s time to start planting! Here are a few of our top tips to keep in mind:
- Plant at the right time: Make sure you plant your seeds or seedlings at the right time for your chosen plants.
- Use proper spacing: Follow the spacing guidelines provided, to ensure that your plants have enough room to grow.
- Water regularly: Remember to water your plants regularly, especially during dry spells if you haven’t included an irrigation system.
- Fertilise when needed: Depending on the quality of your soil, you might need to fertilise your plants from time to time.
- Monitor for pests: Keep an eye out for common garden pests such as aphids, slugs, and snails, and take steps to control them as needed.
Raised bed gardening is an excellent way to create a contained and easily accessible garden bed that provides numerous benefits to plants. With better soil drainage, a controlled environment, and easier management of soil quality, nutrient levels, and irrigation, gardeners can achieve optimal results.
When selecting plants for your raised bed garden, consider factors such as growing conditions, size, depth, and planting schedule. With proper preparation and maintenance, including clearing the area, adding soil additives, creating a planting plan, installing a watering system, planting at the right time, using proper spacing, watering regularly, fertilising as needed, and monitoring for pests, you can enjoy a beautiful and bountiful raised bed garden in the UK.
We hope this blog has helped you to understand how you can use raised beds in your garden in Lincoln. If you want to know more and are interested in a complete garden transformation, or if you need any advice or have any questions, get in touch with us today.