Raised Garden Tips

When it comes to Raised Garden, we've been there, done that, now serving 120 tips in 10 categories ranging from Benefits of Raised Gardens to Terraced Gardening.

Plant selection for raised gardens

The finite space in a raised garden means it’s important to consider the mature nature of the plants selected for it. A two-foot azalea that’s charming in a nursery may want to be 12 feet; well-established lilies can spread to the point of excluding other plants.

   

Mulching raised gardens

Simply because raised beds are raised, they can be harder on the back to mulch. Buckwheat hulls, while more expensive than wood mulch or leaf mold, are a great option: They’re very light and easy to spread, they’re decorative, and add nutrients to the soil as they rot down. As with any mulch, keep the hulls from touching the base of the plants themselves, and don’t mulch too deeply. Two inches is adequate, four inches is too much.

   

Watering raised gardens

Raised gardens require less intense watering than beds in which small plants could face competition than long-established trees or shrubs, but regular deep watering is still important.

   

Tall flowers for raised gardens

Raised beds, especially small ones, are rarely appropriate for trees and large shrubs. Use tall annuals or perennials to add focus and height: Ornamental grasses, ferns, foxglove, coreopsis tripteris, bee balm, some black-eyed Susans, balloon flowers and delphiniums are among the plants that can reach four feet or more.

   

Raised kitchen gardens

Soil in raised beds warms up faster in the spring than ground soil does, so they can extend your growing season. A small raised garden by the back door is ideal for a kitchen garden filled with vegetables and herbs, many of which are annuals.

   

Planning the dimensions of a raised bed

When planning the dimensions of a raised bed, it’s important to remember that all gardens need maintenance. The stunning effect of a very high or very wide bed is lessened if it’s choked with weeds or spent blooms; consider access points in planning. Wide terraces can include paths or steps for easy access, or decorative flat rocks can give the gardener a place to step.

   
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Joe Wallace