Raised Garden Beds are a great way to grow your plants and can be easily manipulated to create the best environment for your plants to grow healthy and productively. However, planning ahead is key. I know it can be easy to get ahead of ourselves with the excitement of a new space to add your never ending plant list(at least my list is!) but to have a successful space we have to be realistic and consider a few factors before we jump ahead.
The first thing you will need to consider is where you’ll be placing your new addition, it’s important to ensure that the area will be getting enough sunlight. There’s no bigger disappointment than when you’ve put the work into the bed only to find out that nothing can successfully grow in them because there isn’t enough sunlight! One way you can check for this is by going outside at around 9 am to see when the area starts to get sunlight, note it down and check again hourly to have a better understanding of how the sun travels in your patch.
Not all plants have the same sunlight requirements but a good rule of thumb is to ensure plants that require full sun have over 6 hours of sunlight, part sun will need 4-5 hours, part shade will need at least 2 hours and full shade will thrive with less than an hour.
Australia has great garden bed options to offer however finding an affordable bed that was at least 80 cm in height was tricky. You might not need a tall raised bed but if you’re like me and your pet is your biggest pest, then yea you might need one although know that its not your only option, to find out where I got my 4 meter raised garden bed for less than $350 then Click Here.
You’ll also need to factor the costs of filling your garden bed, it might not be practical to purchase soil by the bag and you may need to source a place that sells soil by the cubic meter and delivers. To calculate a reliable estimate of the quantity you’ll need to use the dimensions of your desired garden bed and enter them into the calculator for the volume. Let me tell you now, it was a lot of work shoveling 2.5 Tonnes of soil!
Ensure that you are purchasing the right soil for your bed, consider what you’ll be growing in them if you’re planning on growing vegetables you’ll need to purchase Vegetable Mix Soil or soil that is rich in nutrients and organic matter. You might want to discuss this with one of the staff members, to ensure you’re buying quality soil that can be planted in immediately. As most soil suppliers also sell landscaping soil it’s important you don’t get them confused for gardening soil as it’s not suitable and may take months to amend for drainage, nutrients and organic matter.
To create a long term growing environment for my vegetables I decided on following the hügelkultur or lasagna style of gardening, a layered form of gardening that takes advantage of the space underneath your plants and slowly releases nutrients as it decomposes. I filled the bed as much as I could with organic matter I found around my garden and nature strip like branches, rocks, dead leaves and manure. Then I filled it up to about the halfway point with mushroom compost, this is fantastic as it’s usually cheaper than Veggie Mix and is rich in manure and other organic matter reused from mushroom substrates. I then filled the rest of the bed with Veggie Mix soil. You can think of this layer method as layering by how readily available their nutrients are for plants.
I hope this helps you prepare for your new project, or atleast have been food for thought. I’d love to follow along your journey with you, so please let me know if this has been useful for you!