Raised Bed Gardening: Plan Your Vegetables and Herbs in Fall
As the days get chillier, you can still plan for your next year’s production by building new raised beds.
“Joy in Your Garden: A Seasonal Guide to Gardening” will have you gardening in no time! Novice gardeners and natural green thumbs will learn to successfully garden in any season of the year. The expertise and wisdom provided in this book will help you master the art of gardening, from using the correct tools for your garden to choosing a ripe watermelon.
Cover Courtesy Cedar Fort
Fall isn’t a time to quit gardening. In fact, it’s the perfect time to plan your raised-bed gardens, according to gardeners Joy Bossi and Karen Bastow, authors of Joy in Your Garden: A Seasonal Guide to Gardening (Cedar Fort, 2012). In this excerpt from the “September, October and November” section of the book, find tips on getting that intensive gardening started, plus learn the benefits of fall gardening.
Buy this book from the GRIT store: Joy in Your Garden: A Seasonal Guide to Gardening.
Where to Put a Vegetable Garden
If you haven’t had a vegetable garden before, fall is an excellent time to get started—yes, fall! Whenever you do get ready to start a vegetable garden, you will need to decide if you would like a traditional single-row garden or a raised-bed garden. If you get the beds made and the soil prepared (or boxes built if you choose to use a raised-bed gardening method), you’ll find that you are just that much further ahead in the spring when it is time to plant.
As you survey your gardening kingdom, make note of where the sun shines directly on the soil for the most hours during the day. That is the best place for a vegetable/herb garden. The area should also be away from trees because not only do they cast shade for some part of the day, but the tree roots will out-compete the smaller plants for water and nutrients.
Sometimes that most sunny place is right smack dab in the middle of the lawn.
If you choose to have a single-row vegetable garden, now is a good time to prepare the soil. Clear it of any grass or weeds, and rototill or hand dig. At the same time add organic matter until the soil is a good, workable texture. Then, come spring, you can start gardening just as soon as the soil dries and you can use a rake to smooth out the bumps.
Intensive planting—where seeds are scattered in a block rather than in rows—has some advantages.
Every part of the soil is busy growing plants, with none of the soil reserved to channel water or walk on. The closely planted veggies shade the soil, limiting weed growth and slowing water evaporation.
These beds are often raised growing beds, adding the advantage of soil warming earlier in the spring and better water drainage through the soil.
Many people are choosing to garden using a raised bed method. Gardening in raised beds simply means that you grow your plants above the level of the ground. This is usually achieved by building a structure—such as a wooden frame and filling it with soil. You can also use bricks, concrete blocks, and many other materials to build your raised beds. You’re really only limited by your imagination and the space you have in your yard. It’s also possible to purchase raised beds commercially or simply construct your own. For a more informal garden, raised beds can also be created by simply piling up the soil to form the beds.
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