A raised bed is an asset to any garden. Not only does it look beautiful, it also promises best crops. Hobby gardeners use it more and more often to grow vegetables, because it will reach two to three times high yields than on a flat bed of the same size. Thanks to the increased heat within the raised bed, fruits and vegetables ripen faster and can be harvested more quickly. Anyone who is convinced of the advantages of the raised bed does not hesitate long and immediately sets to work. No matter if finished as a kit or bought self made As soon as the frame construction is finished, the question arises: How to fill and plant the raised bed properly? What should be considered in the raised bed and how to properly coat the raised bed, you will learn in this article.
When should you create a raised bed?
Autumn and spring are generally the best seasons to lay a raised bed. For this you need many different organic materials. They contain many nutrients that stimulate plant growth. Since the garden waste is usually available in the fall, this season is also the best time to fill a raised bed. It is best to set up a raised bed in autumn for the following year. So the layers have enough time to sit down. Not quite optimal, but still possible is a plant in the spring, when the garden is brought up to scratch.
How high a raised bed create?
Determine the right size and height for your needs. Raised beds vary in height depending on the planting – from 25 cm to one meter. For potatoes, for example, a low bed with a height of 30 cm is sufficient. Those who suffer from back pain and prefer to work standing up should build their raised bed at a comfortable height of 80 – 100 cm.
The ideal size for a raised bed is a width of 0.80 cm and a length of 2 meters. The length depends of course on the available space, but the width must not be more than 130 centimeters, so that the plants remain easily accessible.
Ideally, the raised bed should be laid out in a north-south direction, as this way the sun can best be used. The short sides of the raised bed should point to the west and east.
Take into account enough space to walk around the entire raised bed without any obstacles and easy access with large garden tools such as garden furniture. a wheelbarrow. If you want, you can put several raised beds side by side.
Create a raised bed – Which layers and what to fill?
Before you fill the raised bed, you should consider whether you want to use this as a bed for ornamental plants or useful plants. Flowers are not as demanding as crops, but filling the vegetable bed properly is the most important step for a successful harvest.
The advantage of a raised bed is, among other things, that it is independent of the soil quality of the garden. The flexibility in compiling the filling allows the best possible soil conditions to be specifically tailored to the requirements of the plants. All layers should be about the same height. In general, the contents are getting finer at the top.
underground does not necessarily have to consist of fertile topsoil, but can also be paved. That’s why Urban Gardening friends can look forward to home-grown vegetables, herbs and fruits. However, the additional excavation of mother earth in the garden can sustainably stabilize the raised bed. To avoid any problems with rodents, you should lay out the floor of your raised bed with a wire mesh before filling.
Raised beds made of wood are used to protect against rot foil lined from the inside. For example, this is not necessary with a raised bed of natural stone. The film prevents liquid from penetrating through the sheath, so pond liners are a logical choice. However, you can also use other slides. If you want to use the raised bed to grow vegetables, make sure that contaminants from the material of the foil do not migrate into the soil in the raised bed.
Layer number 1: drainage layer
This layer consists of branches, twigs, bark mulch, wood chips, potsherds, large pebbles, expanded clay. The drainage prevents water from accumulating in the raised bed. Mix the trimmings with some soil to fill large holes.
2nd layer – grass sod with the vegetation down
Next is a layer of garden waste or grass cuttings so that smaller components of upper layers can not trickle down. Alternatively, you can also use cardboard box.
3rd layer – foliage, straw & coarse compost
Now follows a layer of collected leaves, horse manure and coarsely decomposed compost. This layer contains the micro-organisms that support the rotting process and provide the essential nutrients. Beneficiaries such as earthworms are also welcome to enrich the soil.
4th layer – planting layer
The last layer in the raised bed is the planting layer. It consists of high-quality potting soil for planting. Use special humus soil or ready-made compost soil for this purpose. Who fires his chimney with wood, can use the resulting ash as fertilizer in the raised bed.
Life of a raised bed
The raised bed decreases with time by about 10 to 15 centimeters. This is a natural process because the material rots inside and loses volume. For perennial cultivation, the raised bed must be repeatedly filled with mulch, compost or soil. The nutrient content of the soil is exhausted after 5 to 7 years and it should be completely renewed.
Which plants in the raised bed?
In principle, all plants can be placed in the raised bed. In order to achieve a good harvest, you should first know well which plants can be put into the raised bed. Different types of vegetables, for example, have different nutritional requirements. There is a distinction between strong, medium and weak. You can also benefit from certain plant combinations, while some varieties should never be planted next to each other.
Create a raised bed for vegetables
In the first year you should grow particularly nutrient-hungry vegetables (so-called starvationers) due to increased nitrate levels. For example, tomatoes, eggplants, cabbage, potatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, onions, carrots.
From the second year you can grow more nitrate-storing plants, because the nitrate load of the nutrient-rich soil is already significantly reduced. The middle earners include fennel, garlic, lettuce, onions, peppers. In the second year radish, beetroot, Chinese cabbage and spinach can be planted.
Only from the third year you can also plant low-consuming herbs and lettuce. Poor people include peas, beans, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and kohlrabi.
When planting, it makes sense to create mixed cultures in the raised bed. So a combination of different plants that thrive well next to each other and can even positively influence each other. This also prevents one-sided nutrient extraction. Another advantage is that the plants can protect each other from pests. Cutlets, for example, protect cabbage crops from caterpillars and ground fleas.
Especially good together grow cucumbers with dill or carrots with onions. Potatoes become particularly tasty when caraway or coriander stand next to it. Cress can make radishes even spicier. In addition, a mixture of flowers and vegetables can promote insect invasion and thus increase the harvest. This is especially true with tomatoes, squash and Co.
Good neighbors in the bed: spinach next to lettuce, cabbage with celery, parsley next to strawberries, basil next to cucumber and zucchini
High-growing varieties come in the middle and low-growing varieties are used at the edge of the raised bed. This avoids one-sided shadowing. The selected plants should have a maximum final height of one arm’s length so that you can still reach comfortably.
Create a raised bed for herbs
Lovage, dill, rosemary, chives, parsley, thyme, sage, basil, savory, tarragon and lemon balm are all suitable for the raised bed. Consider the height of herbs in herbs: tall herbs such as rosemary and sage should be placed in the north-facing area of the raised bed.
For Mediterranean herbs, the soil must not be too nutritious, sonds they lose flavor and fragrance. Rosemary, lavender, sage, thyme and marjoram thrive best on lean soil. For these varieties, you can mix soil with a third of sand.
Create a raised bed for strawberries
When strawberries are planted in the raised bed, harvesting is easier. In addition, the berries are not on the ground, where they easily get dirty or rotten.
Strawberries are heavy eaters and can be grown in a fresh raised bed. The best planting date is March / April. It is recommended to mulch the bed with bark mulch, pine needles or straw. Strawberries are excellent with a variety of neighbors such as lettuce, garlic, radishes, onions.
After three years, the strawberry Hochbeet should be completely rebuilt.
Create a raised bed for flowers
Raised beds are also increasingly used in the ornamental garden. For the planting almost all shrubs and small trees are suitable. Unlike the herb and vegetable raised bed you can do without the complex layer system of the bed. Here it depends on the light. Concentrate on a good drainage layer and then fill the bed with compost and potting soil. Here you choose the potting soil that is best suited for the desired planting.
In the first year, you can put starfish in the raised bed, such as chrysanthemums, geraniums and tulips. In the second year, dahlias, gloxinia and snapdragons thrive. In the third year you plant flowers that love a nutrient-poor soil such as azaleas, petunias, primroses, pansies, begonias.