Urban Gardening and Raised Beds

Urban Gardening and Raised Beds
  • Opening Intro -

    Its a dilemma that all green-thumbed urban dwellers face:

    how to make use of limited outdoor space to grow a meaningful garden.

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Certainly, patio gardening and container gardening are options, but for those that insist on having direct contact with ground soil, the dedicated space may not seem like enough. Fortunately, raised bed gardening can make it possible for urban gardeners to make use of limited space while still enjoying outstanding crop yields.

1. Identify your garden area. You may only have a 5 feet by 10 feet patch of unpaved area to work with, but that space is better than nothing. As long as the space receives both direct sunlight and has access to water, you have the foundation for a thriving garden. Identify and outline the area to be used for your garden.

2. Prepare the soil. You will need to turn over the soil as compaction may make it difficult to grow your vegetables. Use a hoe and begin working in micro sections. Remove rocks, roots and other debris. Dig down at least six inches and if you have kitchen waste and compost to add, include these materials too. Mix in the dirt with your added ingredients to spread nutrients across the soil. If you have access to a tiller, you can use that instead of a hoe.

3. Make a border. Because you are creating a raised bed garden, you will need to develop a border too. You can use rocks, bricks, wood or resin panels to form your perimeter. Ensure that each section is connected or at least touching to keep the soil within the confined area. Avoid using cinder or cement blocks for your borders as these are alkaline in pH and can block nutrients from reaching your plants.

4. Add in soil and compost. Your local garden center is the perfect place to go to purchase top soil. You will be mixing the soil with compost, but if your compost collection is not enough, choose a nutrient rich soil from the garden center to give your raised beds a boost. Start saving coffee grounds, shredded newspaper and leaves for your brown material and lawn clippings, garden trimmings and kitchen scraps for your green material. Yes, a dedicated composting area can aid your raised bed garden down the line.

5. Choose your plants. With your raised bed garden ready to go, you are now ready to add your plants. Tomatoes are ideal for raised bed gardens as these plants need adequate drainage. Once your tomatoes begin to grown you will need to stake them or install cages to surround them for support advises HGTV. Peppers, pole peas, lettuce, onions, carrots and spinach are also ideal.

Maintenance Considerations

Raised bed gardens dry out quicker and may need more frequent waterings in the summer. Soil temperatures are lower under organic mulches notes the University of Missouri Extension, reducing evaporation while also hindering weed growth. Either drip irrigation or soaker hoses can benefit raised beds and be placed directly on the bed.

See AlsoGarden Center Overview 101

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Categories: Garden Plants

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Auto Trends Magazine", an online publication. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and weblogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".