5 Benefits of a Raised Garden Bed

Raised Garden beds for the Urban Gardener

image of raised garden bed

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!

The “Bulb Effect” in the Maine landscape

For those of you who last fall planted spring bulbs, it won’t be long before you are rewarded for your efforts. Those who haven’t, I’m hoping by this time next year you to are anxiously awaiting your colorful bounty. For all you newbies out there just remember when purchasing spring-flowering bulbs avoid the one’s that are soft and show signs of mold. Not to bash the big box stores, but I’d avoid them and visit your locally-owned garden center which thier are plenty of in the Portland Maine area. Once successfully purchased it’s important to have a good understanding of the property and the growing area so to avoid planting in area’s that tend to have standing water. Maine snow melt, along with april rains can leave bulbs destined for rot, yielding nothing but disappointment.

With over 200 individual species and 25,000 named hybrids, the daffodil alone is a plant Metropolis. The daffodil encompasses multiple color combinations which allows gardeners to create a color pallet in a way that reflects ones personality. By clumping groups together you create a visual statement such as the photo above. For a more subtle english garden approach, spread bulbs out encompassing more bulb species throughout an area like the photo below. This allows the eye to wonder making the space look larger.

In closing, it’s my hope that homeowners now are more encouraged then ever to plant these wonders of the spring. If done right the reward is well worth the little effort it takes for success. Below I will link garden centers in the Portland area that will provide you the best results, as well as a depth chart for proper planting techniques.

Skillins Greenhouse

Broadway Gardens

Estabrooks Garden Center

Chart Photo courtesy of Netherlands Bulb Company.

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