Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Making Your Bed

Unlike the dreaded chore from your childhood, making your bed for the home garden is much easier and less monotonous.

Besides my traditional garden, I have a raised bed, and several containers full of plants.  I prefer all three styles for different reasons...

My raised bed is 10" high and 8' long.  This is the second season it has been in use and I will say, it's a little too raised.  I like the length, but I will probably go with about 6" high in the future.  You can build your bed frame out of untreated lumber (like mine), or railroad ties, or even cinder blocks.  Pretty much anything you can find to build your bed up off the ground, and keep your soil contained.  The advantages to raised beds are many.  They require much less weeding, you can control the garden soil by building up your own soil within the bed, the soil tends to stay put or slows down the wash away, and I haven't had as many pest problems in my raised bed as in my traditional garden bed.  Love, love, love this type of garden, it's my favorite by far.

Raised bed and strawberries.

All of our herbs, strawberries, and citrus trees are planted in containers.  Container gardens are much like raised beds, but on a much smaller scale.  You can regulate the soil and moisture and keep the weeds out easier.  The other benefit to containers is you can move them around.  My citrus trees do great in the bright sunshine and heat, but when it comes to cold weather, they'd rather not have anything to do with it.  Fortunately for them, we don't usually have freezing temperatures down here, but on the chance that we do, I can move the trees inside the garage or close to the house and either cover them, or put a warm light on them.  They just need to keep warm.  The same is true with the herbs, I was able to keep mint year round, also, some of my herbs prefer the sunshine, but when the sweltering heat starts in around here, I have to move them to a filtered light or shady location to keep them out of the direct sun.  Otherwise they will burn to a crisp.

Herbs and citrus plants in pots

This year I tried tomatoes and peppers in pots, both are doing fine, but I do have to water them in the morning and in the evening, they tend to dry out faster than the others.  I will probably not plant either in pots next year, just straight in my garden, where the other tomatoes and peppers are doing great.  As for the strawberries, they have grown and produced at such a rapid rate, that we really don't have a good location to plant them directly in the ground.  I'm afraid they would take over my backyard, which wouldn't be a bad thing, I guess!  So, keeping them contained is best for us right now.  I'll write on raising strawberries in the future. 

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