Raised bed gardening is the latest gardening trend, and for a good reason.
With raised beds, you can more easily control weeds and the content and quality of your soil. Aeration is improved immensely since you’re not walking on the soil and compacting it.
For individuals who suffer from back pain and mobility issues, tall raised beds are more ergonomic and can reduce the pain, making gardening more enjoyable.
Despite its many upsides, raised bed gardening does come with some drawbacks and presents some unique challenges.
Keep reading to learn 5 things everyone gets wrong about raised bed gardening.
Newbie gardeners on a budget tend to use whatever supplies they have readily available. This can lead to uninformed gardeners choosing materials with toxic chemicals that are unsafe for use.
For example, pressure-treated wood manufactured in 2003 or prior contains copper arsenate, a pesticide used to treat residential lumber back then. In 2003, the Environmental Protection Agency banned its use.
Make sure any pressure treated wood you repurpose wasn’t manufactured that long ago, and research any materials you want to use before using them to make sure they are safe.
Raised beds built too wide make it impossible to reach all your plants comfortably and tend to your garden.
One common mistake newbie gardeners make is to build their beds 4ft wide, up against a fence or wall. 4ft wide beds are ideal when you can walk around each side and easily reach the center all the way around.
However, when building up against a fence or wall, you shouldn’t build your beds any wider than 2-2.5ft. This means you can’t plant as many rows inside the bed, but you’ll be able to harvest your vegetables and tend to your plants without trouble.
There’s not much worse than building your new beds, filling them with soil, and planting your seeds before realizing you don’t have an easy way to water all your plants.
You have 2 options when it comes to irrigation. Your choices are to water all your plants by hand with a watering can or water hose, or set up an irrigation system you can turn on and off or have set to automatically water at preset intervals.
When you don’t have many plants to water, or you enjoy watering them all yourself, manually watering by hose is the best way to go. Otherwise, you can research irrigation options to decide what fits your need best (sprinklers, soaker hoses, etc.).
Skipping on the mulch can have disastrous consequences and cause your plants to produce less fruit.
Mulch helps regulate the soil’s temperature and retains moisture, so the soil doesn’t dry up too fast on hot, dry days. Depending on the mulch you use, it’ll add some much-needed nutrients to the soil, and it smothers any weeds.
Wood chips are the best mulch to use because they break down over time and add nutrients to the soil, it’s easy to work with, and it’s the most visually pleasing. You can find several varieties of wood chip mulch at Windwood Bulk, or your local gardening center.
Choosing the right soil and deciding what amendments can get confusing fast when you’re just starting out.
Contrary to popular belief, raised beds are different from container gardening, and potting soil is not a good option. It drains too well, causing your soil nutrients to wash away without being taken up by your plants.
Filling up a raised bed with the right mix of soil and amendments gets pretty expensive if you don’t know what to use or where the best places to purchase supplies are. Read this article to learn more about what to use and where to get it, and watch the video below to learn about the different types of soil you can purchase.
Gardening in clay soil like what you’ll find in North Georgia is challenging — especially for gardening beginners.
Clay soil is heavily compacted, meaning it doesn’t drain well, resulting in nutrients not being taken up by your plants. This causes your plants to be wimpy and produce fewer vegetables.
When gardening in clay soil, you’ll need to add amendments such as peat moss or compost to provide an aerated, well-draining to your plants.
At Windwood Bulk, our experts know just how difficult gardening in clay soil can be. That’s why we created our specialty planting mix that gives your plants everything they need to grow and produce the tastiest vegetables you’ll ever eat.
Our specialty planting is so popular that even Rock City and Erlanger use it for their landscaping needs.