Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Raised Beds

I use Raised Beds extensively in my vegetable garden.  Last year, I used 2 raised beds and several containers.  I found that the plants were healthier and more productive in the Raised Beds than in the containers.  This year, I have going to use Raised Beds exclusively.

The picture on the right shows my largest Raised Bed in terms of cubic feet.  I built this Raised Bed out of cement garden blocks.  It is shaped like an inverted T and takes up a 10 feet x 5 feet area.  I created a T shaped so that I can have access to back of the plants.  There are 2 feet x 3 feet wedges on each side of the bottom of the T.  The Raised Bed has a depth of 1 feet and holds a 44 cubic feet of soil.

Last year, I made the mistake of putting 13 cherry tomato plants in this Raised Ged.  This was way too many plants.  The plants ended up competing with each other for sunlight.  It became a tangled mess as plants were threading through each other for sun. Plus, actually picking the tomatoes was difficult, as I had to hunt for the fruit.

The picture to the left shows what the Raised Ged looked like in June of last year.  It looked much worse in August. I actually had to pull plants out in order to create space for the other plants.

This year, I plan to only put 5 cherry tomatoes in this Raised Bed.  I think this will provide me with more tomatoes than I got last year in the same area.

The other Raised Ged that I used last year was fairly shallow. It is L shaped with a base of 5 feet, a length of 18 feet, and a depth of 4 feet.

In the picture to the left, you can see the trellis system I built out of steel rods to support the Winter Melon vines.  I tied the rods together using nylon rope.

The picture below is from last year and shows the Winter Melon vines growing in the trellis network.  The trellis worked very well, as the rods were strong enough to support the weight of the fruit.  

I plan to extend the trellis network to cover more of my garden.

I have added two near raised beds this Winter.
  The circular raised bed  to the right is 3 feet in diameter. I plan to grow sweet potatoes in this raised bed.

My fourth raised bed is a prefabricated plastic raised bed that I bought from Gardener's Supply Company. Below is a picture of the raised bed.  I am not too happy with the way it looks.  I may take it apart after the growing season and replace it with something else.

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