Construct your beds someplace that receives at the very least 5 to 6 hours of each day daylight — the extra, the higher! Orient them north to south to stop vegetation from shading one another out. Beds must be at the very least a foot huge, although not more than 4 ft throughout to make weeding and harvesting manageable. Six to eight ft lengthy is typical and cost-effective. Ten to 14 inches is a perfect top to accommodate robust roots. Go away at the very least 2 or 3 ft between beds for strolling and wheelbarrow entry.
The brilliance of a plank-and-rebar design (see above) is that every particular person wall is definitely changed. Attempt naturally rot-resistant styles of wooden, corresponding to oak, cedar, and redwood.
You need the sort that’s darkish, wealthy, and loaded with microorganisms. Fill your beds with a mixture of 50 to 60% good-quality topsoil and 40 to 50% well-aged compost. Earlier than every new rising season, take a look at your soil for pH and nutrient content material. You should buy a equipment at most home-improvement shops. In case your take a look at exhibits a necessity for extra vitamins like nitrogen and potassium, increase ranges by working in amendments corresponding to bone meal and kelp. Costume beds with an extra ½ inch of compost later within the rising season to extend natural matter and increase soil well being.
In case you’re constructing your beds in excessive summer season, it’s not too late to plant fall crops. Sow seeds like carrots and lettuce immediately into the soil, or purchase midseason transplants for crops like kale and broccoli. In case you’d somewhat wait till subsequent 12 months to plant, cowl the soil in your new raised beds with a combination of grass clippings and shredded leaves in autumn — the fabric will compost earlier than you’re prepared to begin in spring.
Raised beds have improbable drainage, which is nice for plant well being, however they dry out shortly. Give your vegetation a protracted drink within the early night, however verify them once more on sizzling summer season afternoons. If the soil is dry, it’s an actual scorcher outdoors, otherwise you stay in a sizzling and arid local weather, water once more. A programmable drip-irrigation system (attempt a starter equipment from dripworks.com) is cheap and handy, delivering constant moisture straight to plant roots. Put money into a timer part to save cash and water.