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Learn Raised Bed Gardening – Avoid These 10 Common Mistakes

2 young girls gardening in a raised bed garden

Hey there, fellow gardening enthusiasts! Raised beds are all the rage, offering excellent drainage, better soil, and easier maintenance. But even the most passionate newbie can make mistakes. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there! Here’s the dirt (pun intended) on ten common raised bed blunders and how to avoid them. Get ready to transform your raised bed into a thriving veggie paradise!

Bed Location Blunder

Bed Location Blunder

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Sunshine is key! Place your raised bed where it gets at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily. Also, ensure easy access from all sides by leaving enough space to reach your plants comfortably.

Hack: Sketch your garden layout beforehand to visualize bed placement and walkways.

Crowded Crops Catastrophe

Crowded Crops Catastrophe

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Each plant needs space to breathe and grow. Check the recommended spacing on seed packets and plant labels. Avoid overcrowding, or your plants will compete for light, nutrients, and water.

Hack: Use a grid system to plan your planting layout and maximize space.

Drainage Disaster

Drainage Disaster

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Nobody likes soggy toes, and neither do plants! Ensure proper drainage by choosing a well-leveled area and avoiding low spots that collect water. Don’t line the bottom of your raised bed with plastic – create drainage holes instead.

Hack: To improve drainage, add a layer of gravel or broken pieces of terracotta pots to the bottom of your raised bed.

Incorrect Bed Dimensions 

Incorrect Bed Dimensions 

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Think about what you want to grow! Raised beds should be no wider than 4 feet to comfortably reach the center. Depth depends on your plants—root vegetables need more depth than leafy greens.

Hack: If you’re unsure about depth, opt for a raised bed at least 12 inches deep to accommodate most plants.

Insufficient Irrigation

Insufficient Irrigation

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Underwatering is a common mistake. Check your raised bed daily, especially during hot weather. The soil should feel moist but not soggy. Water deeply at the base of the plants, not the leaves.

Hack: Invest in a moisture meter to help you gauge soil moisture levels.

Lining Loathsome

Lining Loathsome

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While plastic lining may seem like a good idea to prevent weeds, it creates a perfect hideout for slugs and snails who will munch on your precious plants. Opt for a natural weed barrier like cardboard covered with mulch instead.

Hack: Repurpose old carpets or cardboard as weed barriers at the bottom of your raised bed.

Nutrient Neglect 

Nutrient Neglect 

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Compost is fantastic, but it’s not a magic bullet. Filling your raised bed with compost will provide only some nutrients your plants need for optimal growth. Mix your compost with high-quality potting soil or garden loam to create a well-balanced growing medium.

Hack: Amend your raised bed soil annually with organic fertilizer or aged manure to replenish nutrients.

Plant Selection Blunder

Plant Selection Blunder

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Not all plants are created equal! Consider the sunlight requirements, mature plant size, and any specific needs of the plants you choose. Don’t plant vegetables that prefer acidic soil to those that thrive in alkaline conditions.

Hack: Group plants with similar needs together for easier watering and maintenance.

Seedy Support System

Seedy Support System

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Over time, the weight of the soil can cause the sides of your raised bed to bow outward. To prevent this, use sturdy materials for construction and add internal bracing if your bed is large.

Hack: For extra support, wedge vertical posts into the corners of your raised bed and secure them with horizontal boards.

Weeding Woes

Weeding Woes

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Weeds are persistent, but keep them from stealing the spotlight from your desired plants! Regularly hand-weed your raised bed to remove unwanted visitors. Apply a layer of mulch around your plants to help suppress weed growth and retain moisture.

Hack: Try using a sharp hand tool to remove weeds, roots, and all, preventing them from returning quickly.

Conclusion

There you have it, folks! By steering clear of these 10 raised bed blunders, you’re heading to a thriving garden overflowing with fresh, homegrown goodness. Gardening is a journey, so relax, have fun, and don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty.

 

Other Guides from Planet Natural:

Complete Beginner’s Guide to the Best Raised Bed Soil

Raised Bed Gardening 101

Secret Weapon Revealed: How Flowers Can Unlock the Hidden Potential of Your Veggie Garden