6 Tips For Raised Bed Organic Gardening
Tip 1: Never Dig The Soil!
Digging garden soil destroys the soil food web (all the beneficial
bacteria, fungi and creatures of the soil microcosm) and the structure
of the soil. This makes your plants more prone to disease because they
depend on a healthy microbiology of the soil.
Learn more about no-dig gardening here!
It is a bit like the
microbiome in our guts. If it gets out of balance our health suffers.
also increases the growth of weeds. Weeds are nature's mechanism to fix
what was disturbed by us. The less you disturb the soil the fewer weeds
you will get. Who is not going to love that?
If you need to clear
beds from heavy weed growth use cardboard, newspapers or a heavy weed
fabric to shade them out. This should clear all growth after a couple of
Learn more about your garden soil here!
Tip 2: Add Good Compost!
Cover the soil with a minimum of 2 inches of good quality compost every
year. Don’t dig it into the soil …just put it on top! The worms will dig
it into the soil for you just like in nature. This will increase the
organic matter content of your soil and will gradually feed the plants.
If the quality of your compost is good you will need little other fertilizer.
Click here to learn how to make the best compost for your garden!
Tip 3: Mulch The Soil
Cover the compost and soil with a layer of organic mulch. You can, for
example, use straw, dried leaves, grass clippings, wood chips or
seaweed. This will further protect the soil and adds nutrients as it
breaks down slowly.
Weed growth should be nearly eliminated with this
method. Mulch also reduces the need for watering and protects the soil
from drying out quickly.
Tip 4: Use Floating Row Covers
A floating row covers is a lightweight fleece that can either lie on top
of the plants or it can be used in combination with hoops like a mini
tunnel. This will produce a microclimate that will extend the seasons,
protects from frost and keeps the soil warm.
It also protects plants
from pests like carrot flies or cabbage butterflies. It also protects
young seedlings from scratching birds which works much better with crops
like carrots. The fleece really helps in establishing newly planted
vegetables and seedlings.
Tip 5: Correct Watering
The compost and mulch should greatly reduce the need for watering.
Rather than watering your raised beds little and often choose to water
deeply and less often! This will encourage deeper root growth and more
Tip 6: Increase Biodiversity With Companion Planting
You can attract beneficial insects, predators and pollinators with a combination of plants. Comfrey is a good example for this. The flowers attract a lot of bees and insects and the leaves can be used for mulching and fertiliser.
Marigold is another example. The root exudates are said to keep damaging nematodes away. A lot of herbs are great for attracting beneficial insects and keeping away harmful ones.
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