5 Benefits of a Raised Garden Bed

Raised Garden beds for the Urban Gardener

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1. They are adaptable. Raised garden beds can be built to whatever size you need, making them beneficial for small urban areas. They can be put wherever a traditional garden bed would go, including a rooftop garden, patio, balcony or deck.

2. No tilling is required, you have better control of the soil.  Raised garden beds allow you to overcome poor soil conditions easily. For the simplest possible gardening, a raised garden bed is really the way to go. Instead of tilling up the soil, you can simply add materials on top of your soil. Compost, mulches, manures and other soil conditioners can all go directly onto the top few inches of the soil without the need for all of that work. The soil is capable of doing its own tilling as worms and roots push their way through and builds up the organic component of your soil over time.

3. Raised beds help keep out unwanted pests. You can install landscape cloth at the bottom of the box to stop groundhogs from stealing your root crops. Additionally, you can easily add a built in fence or netting system to reduce deer or rabbit visitors. We like this one:

4.  Raising your soil means better drainage. In areas prone to flooding, a raised garden bed may be the only way to have a full growing season. Adding crushed rock or pea gravel to the bottom of a raised bed will improve drainage, which is important. Excess moisture in the soil creates conditions that allow root rot to occur and kill your crops. Raised beds also tend to drain better in general, even in heavy rains.

5. You can plant earlier in the season. Because you have better drainage in the soil, early planting in raised beds is possible because the soil dries out faster in the spring and warms more quickly for planting than soil at ground level.

The several factors to consider when deciding when to plant your garden include the type of plant and your zone. Some plants, including lettuce and broccoli, can tolerate cool weather whereas others, such as basil and tomatoes, are likely to be damaged or killed by temperatures lower than 40 degrees. This Vegetable Encyclopedia is very useful to determine the best time to plant your veggies.

In planting zones 4 and 5 (Maine’s primary zones)  the primary gardening season falls between the first and last frost dates, the average date is around April 15th.

While you don’t have to be an expert to build a raised garden bed, UrbanYardology is both skillful and knowledgeable of the requirements that will lead to your gardening success.

Contact us today for a free estimate!

Spring Cleaning your Landscape

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Spring Cleaning

Spring has sprung and many of us are beginning to think about enjoying our yards once again, which means spring cleaning! Unfortunately, your lawn and garden can suffer much damage due to winter weather.

Preparing your garden for spring and summer involves assessing that damage and coming up with a plan to take back your yard for enjoyment. If you want to enjoy your landscape as the temperatures climb, heed the following post-winter garden preparation tips.

Assessing the Damage

Start by assessing the damage. Even if winter was mild, your landscape might still have suffered some damage from snow removal, snow load on plants and local wildlife roaming though the area.

Check for debris in your garden beds and surrounding landscapes.  When we are providing spring cleaning services to clients, we remove fallen leaves, branches and even trash that blew about on windy winter day. Remove the old mulch from your garden beds and apply new fresh mulch. All of the sand and salt build up on your driveway and lawn should be removed to make room for new growth. If you had fall clean up as part of your lawn care routine and your leaves were thoroughly removed, you have decreased your chances of a fungal disease known as snow mold. If you do find that you have snow mold it may be necessary to reseed your lawn.

Treating your Lawn

Spring is the time to treat your lawn for pests and crabgrass. Pests may hibernate in the soil over the winter, and such unwelcome visitors can make it difficult for gardens to thrive come spring and summer. Spring is also the best time to fertilize your lawn, but timing is important. The Soil temperature should reach about 55 degrees. You will know when the soil is right because lilacs begin to bloom. UrbanYardology is proud to use Coast of Maine organic products for our fertilizers and composts.

Trees and Shrubs

Finally, your trees and shrubs can benefit from a bit of spring-cleaning too. Dead limbs and winter-kill on branches should be pruned off, but be careful, shrubs that bloom in the spring have to have their buds already in place on last year’s growth so that they are ready, if you prune those branches off you will lose the flowers. Shrubs that bloom later in the year grow on new wood so it is OK to trim those now.

This can be overwhelming for some, that is why we provide spring clean-up and ongoing lawn care services in Portland Maine and surrounding areas. Once you landscape is ready to go for spring, beautify it with a new garden design altogether or a simple low maintenance landscape.

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