Raised bed gardening is an excellent way to grow small plots of edible and ornamental plants. When you grow flowers and vegetables in a raised bed, you can prevent soil compaction and provide good drainage for your plants. Plus, they also help keep weeds and pests such as slugs and snails away from your precious crops.
If you’re planning a raised bed garden for the first time or if you haven’t had much luck with this gardening format then this is for you. Today, we’ll be discussing seven of the most common mistakes made in gardening in raised beds so you can avoid them.
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Using Unsafe Materials
Traditionally, raised garden beds are made from decay-resistant wood but there are also other materials you can use, too. Non-wood options include stones, concrete blocks, bricks, or synthetic lumber.
However, there are materials that you should stay away from when building your raised garden beds. Stay away from pressure-treated or chemically treated wood and lumber. These chemicals can leach into the soil and be absorbed by your plants.
Making Them Too Wide
When working with a raised garden bed, make sure that you can reach all of its areas without having to step on the soil. Go for a maximum of 4 feet in width so you can work comfortably.
When you step on the soil in a raised bed it compacts it and can disturb the natural root growth. The soil needs to be loose and easy for roots to penetrate.
If you want to grow more plants, opt for multiple raised beds. Just make sure that they are separated by pathways that are 2 to 3 feet wide so you can maneuver around easily.
Neglecting To Mulch
Mulch is just as important in raised garden beds as it is on ground beds. It prevents weeds from growing, helps maintain soil temperature, and retains moisture.
Use straw, grass clippings, leaves, or wood chips after planting. You can also plant a cover crop at the end of every growing season to avoid breaking down and compacting the soil in your garden.
Not having an irrigation plan can spell trouble for your raised garden bed. You need to be able to efficiently keep your crops hydrated for proper growth.
While you can do your daily rounds of manual irrigation using a watering can, or garden hose, there are more efficient ways to keep your plants happily hydrated.
Instead, you can place your garden beds near a water source and use soaker hoses or drip lines so you don’t have to spend time hand watering plants.
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Using the Wrong Kind of Soil
The type of soil you use in your raised garden bed plays a vital role in the health of your crops. Potting soil drains too quickly and won’t provide your plants with the drainage and nutrients it needs.
Meanwhile, bagged soil can contain too many chemical fertilizers that can affect the growth and yield of some plants.
Instead, go for a combination of garden soil combined with organic compost to supply your plants with the right nutrients.
Not Using Labels
It’s easy to forget where you planted what in your garden. When planting a raised garden bed, use garden labels to know where each plant is. You can also mark your rows to avoid overcrowding.
Using Harmful Chemicals Near Raised Beds
Chemicals that contain herbicides can poison the soil even if they are not used directly in your raised garden beds. Not only can the wind carry toxins in your garden beds but runoff water can also carry them to other parts of your garden.
Instead of using harmful chemical pesticides and herbicides, opt for a more natural options. This will help get rid of weeds without harming the rest of your garden.
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