gardening

What is Raised Bed Gardening?

gardening

Raised Bed Gardening is a type of gardening wherein the soil is raised above the ground by using a wide bed that can take the form of any length or shape that you may fancy. What’s makes raised bed gardening different from other gardening techniques is that the soil gets a certain degree of height, sometimes even reaching waist level. The frame used can be made of rock, concrete or wood and compost can also be added for more nutrition.

Vegetables and flowers are commonly utilized when it comes to raised bed gardens. Compared to the usual gardening methods, plants in raised bed gardens are spaced accordingly in patterns and are made to be closer together. This spacing method allows the leaves of vegetables to barely even touch each other once they reach the age of maturity. This creates a form of microclimate, preventing the growth of weeds which take away the water and nutrients in the soil and also preserving the moisture in the soil.

There are a lot of benefits that raised bed gardening can do. First of all, they reduce the growth of weeds when executed properly. It also allows you to avoid using the low quality native soil since you can utilize a different kind of soil or mix in compost which adds to the total nutritive nature of the soil in the raised bed gardens. It can extend planting seasons which makes more opportunity to nurture your plants. With the structure of raised bed gardens, you won’t have to worry about stepping on the soil, preventing the soil to be compacted and allowing the roots to grow easier. Incorporating compost together with the soil in the raised bed allows more nutrition for your plants which leads to more production compared to the standard row gardening that most of us are familiar of. The height of the garden bed also allows the elderly and those with back problems to tend to their plants without having to bend over, minimizing effort and pain.

Raised bed gardening serves as one of the most important aspects of gardening since it can save a lot of time, money and hard work when tending to your plants. Instead of having to deal with poor soil that contains little nutrition or moisture, you build above it where you can make a controlled environment for your plants. By doing this, you achieve control over the kind of soil your plants grow in and also the factors that hinder the optimum growth of your plants.

With raised bed gardens, you can also prevent certain pests that can damage your vegetables or flowers. A few examples are slugs and snails. You can also protect your plants since you put them out of their reach. During rainy seasons, the frame of the garden bed also serves as support to prevent the soil from washing away with the heavy rains. Raised bed gardening allows gardeners to plant earlier in the seasons since the soil’s quality is much different – it’s warmer, more nutritive and contains more moisture than regular soil.

Raised bed gardens shouldn’t be confused with garden planters or pot planting. Planters and pots are container in which you can elevate, similar to raised bed gardens. However, the similarities end there. Planters and pots contain a bottom to prevent soil from spilling. For planters, they can have a porous characteristic which allows better drainage for the plants. For pots, small holes can be found for the same reason as well. But this bottom part of planters and pots actually limit the space for the roots to expand, preventing optimum growth. Raised bed gardens don’t have this bottom since they are open below, allowing plant roots to grow freely and absorb the necessary moisture and nutrients.

When space is an issue, raised bed gardening is commonly used. With raised beds, the productivity of plants is raised significantly without demanding much space. It also allows you to grow a garden despite having a generally difficult soil to work with like clay. With the efficient spacing and the high production of vegetables, raised bed gardens serve as a great solution to a number of gardening problems. Furthermore, the frames of raised bed gardens are fully customizable, allowing you to tweak it and improve the looks of your garden and provide you with more convenience.

Keyhole gardens are a type of raised bed gardens that use circular beds with waist-level height and a clear path to the center. This unique design allows a better look to the garden while promoting convenience since you can tend to your plants easily.

Constructing a raised bed garden for your vegetables should be taken seriously. The materials used in making the garden should be scrutinized thoroughly as there are issues on using pressure-treated timber. Pine wood with the application of chromate copper arsenate (CCA) proved to be toxic since its chemical substances seeped into the soil and then absorbed by the plants. This means that vegetables grown in these garden beds would become toxic as well, unfit for consumption and wasting resources in the process. To ensure safety, use natural and untreated wood. Concrete block can also be used in building the raised bed gardens’ frame, proving to be inexpensive, readily available and easy to use. Manufactured garden boxes are also available in the market if you prefer.

Raised bed gardens are convenient and help in increasing productivity and saving space for your garden. Building a raised bed garden is a great alternative when you want to have control over the factors that relate to your plants. Though it’s mostly used to raise vegetables, flowers and spices, you can also use raised bed gardens for other kinds of plants as well. It brings a wise option when you have to deal with soil that’s difficult to manage, especially those in regions that have hard soil. Raised bed gardens also give you the freedom on how to design them in regards to shape, the materials used and the overall aesthetic feature.

Published: February 6, 2017

Growing A Vegetable Garden In Fayetteville Soon? Discover The Best Vegetables To Plant Each Season

vegetables in fayetteville

Do you still have an extra space after you had successfully accomplished your landscaping project? Or do you want to spare an area in your landscaping for a productive garden? Well then, don’t hesitate to build a vegetable garden. Some landscapers would say no to vegetable gardens because it doesn’t add curb appeal or value to your property. It is only true when you put it in your front yard, but if you desire to put your garden at the back, then, you have nothing to worry about. Starting a garden is actually one of the best ways to live green or have an eco-friendly lifestyle.

 

In Fayetteville, even if you don’t have a green thumb, you should keep a garden. You can plant a variety of vegetables, fruits and even flowers in your garden. In caring for your plants, avoid using pesticides or commercial fertilizers, instead, go for organic methods. This will help your plants grow healthy without posting a negative effect on nature. You can use the vegetables in your everyday meal without and you can ensure that it’s fresh and healthy. Start planting vegetables or fruits and build your own garden. It’s a way of giving back to nature in your own way. You’ll also grow your own fresh produce which is cheaper yet healthier.

 

Consider The Seasons

 

In growing a vegetable garden, you have to understand that plants that flourish in one season may not do the same on another. Meaning, crops that may bloom very well in spring may not be the best choice for fall, not all, but some. It’s important as well that vegetables receive at least six hours of sunlight to ensure its healthy growth. Some vegetables require a cool growing season and must be planted early enough to mature before hot weather or late enough to mature in the cooler fall. To guarantee successful planting, here are the best vegetables that grow in different seasons.

 

  1. Spring

Spring is a great season to start planting. You just have to follow a good planting strategy. For example, vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage can be directly seeded into your garden in late February (supposing the ground can be worked, especially the frost) although it’s better to start planting them indoors (with use of vertical or container gardening) around late January and then transplant them into the garden in late March.

 

In case the ground is still frozen, then wait until the ice has thawed if you want to plant onions, peas, and potatoes, most probably in early February. Might as well consider starting to plant tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants in containers until late spring when you can go ahead and transplant them into your garden. You must be always aware of the weather if there are any changes or reported frost in order to avoid damage to crops.

 

  • Asparagus
  • Beans
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Eggplants
  • Lettuce
  • Onions
  • Peas
  • Peppers
  • Potatoes
  • Radish

 

  1. Summer

Summer is not only the ideal season to hit the beach or do any other outdoor activities. It’s also a good time to start sowing vegetable seeds or crops. In early summer, around the second or third week of April (or the sooner the soil temperature reach 60° F in temperature), you can start planting these seeds directly in your garden. Sweet potatoes, hot peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, watermelon, and okra love hot weather and will do well if planted in late June.

 

Before you start digging or spreading those seeds into the ground, make sure that you’ve already prepared your soil, gone through your sprinkler system and make necessary adjustments. Also, don’t forget to deal with existing weeds, if there are any, and check for diseases and insects (treatment must be applied as soon as possible to avoid further damage).

 

  • Beans
  • Cowpeas
  • Corn (Sweet)
  • Squashes
  • Pumpkins
  • Cucumbers
  • Watermelons
  • Gourds
  • Eggplant
  • Okra
  • Pumpkin
  • Tomato

 

 

  1. Fall

Gardening in fall is an excellent solution for keeping the tilth and fertility of your garden’s soil at its peak levels. Moreover, In Fayetteville, the cooler days of autumn often give vegetables a better flavor than those of spring and summer. It’s the ideal time to work the soil, amending as needed, and plant your cool-weather crops.

 

This season, don’t forget to water your plants and monitor how much water your garden crops will require. Fertilize your garden areas but be sure to water well (infrequent deep watering may be required) beforehand and then lightly afterward. In deciding which crops to plant, you have to determine when to plant, how long will it take your plants to develop and how tolerant they are to frosts.

 

  • Garlic
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Lettuce
  • Mustard
  • Turnips
  • Spinach
  • Shallots
  • Collards
  • Strawberries
  • Kale

 

 

  1. Winter

Winter is known to be the dormant season of landscapes and gardens. The key to successful winter gardening is knowing the average date of the first killing frost in Fayetteville. When the dormant cycle starts, transplanting is required and the most important thing to make this successful is to dig a large root ball, getting as much of the root system as is possible.

 

Preparing your garden for the winter may also include spreading mulch such as bark, sawdust or straw will help create a blanket of protection over the root system. Mulch also helps retain moisture which is really helpful during the dormant period.

 

  • Garlic
  • Strawberries
  • Peas
  • Collards
  • Mint
  • Rutabagas
  • Squash

 

By following the planting dates and a good planting strategy, rest assured that you’ll be harvesting a bountiful of fresh produce. So now, you’ll not only eat healthy foods but also it’ll save you money and trips to the grocery store. You can ensure that the food you’ll eat is safe and rich in nutritional value. Imagine, you can also participate in local farmer’s market and provide people with the best crops which can be used as ingredients to make succulent dishes, pastries, and other kinds of food.  Indeed, you’ll enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Published: December 17, 2016

See How Easily You Can Build A Vegetable Garden Like A Pro In Fayetteville

vegetable garden in fayetteville

Thinking of what to do to make use of your backyard space in a relevant and fruitful way? If you do, then start creating a garden. Aside from landscaping, gardening is also one of the most efficient ways to transform your empty space into a high-yielding outdoor area and make the most out of it. Starting your own garden in Fayetteville, Arkansas would be a great idea and you should take the time to consider the climate in your district, as well as the soil type in your garden and the required amount of sunlight each type of plant requires. Most native soils in Arkansas are acidic and require to be amended with lime to raise the soil pH in order to make it slightly acidic which is preferable for vegetable gardens.

The common struggle here though is that many of us don’t want to take the time and energy to dig up a vegetable garden plot and amend the existing soil. Not only that, a lot of us thinks that we were not gifted with “green thumb”, although, even without it, you can do it. You just have to possess that positive can-do attitude and a load of patience. Furthermore, you just need knowledge about the proper methods or practices to use in order to build a successful and prolific garden just like the ones observed by professionals.

Before you begin, you should already have a plan which includes site selection, the area you’ll cover, the vegetables to be used, and the type of gardening to build. Hence, make sure to take the time to do the following procedures to guarantee a successful and high-yielding garden:

 

• Site Selection

– The first thing that you have to do in gardening is to choose the best location for your garden. Vegetables should receive a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight during the day. Given this, you have to select a spot where your crops could get optimum exposure from sunlight in order for them to flourish. You should also consider existing roots of trees that could compete with other vegetables for nutrients and moisture.

 

• Choosing Vegetables For Season

– In Arkansas, vegetables flourish depending on the season. Hence, it’s important that you determine the planting dates for fall vegetable production and of course, the planting dates for spring and summer vegetable production.

– Decide what vegetables you wish to plant considering the space available. If your space is limited, plant only vegetables that are liked by your family, but keep nutrition in mind. Might as well draw a garden diagram to find out if you have enough space to grow needed quantities.

– When you choose your vegetables, select a variety well adapted to Arkansas, specifically in Fayetteville.

 

• Soil Test

– Soil tests are important to determine the pH level and the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and calcium in the garden’s soil. By doing so, you can adjust the pH of the soil can to make sure that soil nutrients are available. It will also help you determine the amendments your soil require to allow plants to flourish. Since most soils in Arkansas is acidic, your soil may need to be amended with lime to raise the soil pH.

 

• Prepare Your Soil

– One of the easiest ways to prepare your soil for planting is by using a spade, shovel or spading fork to turn the soil for about six to seven inches deep. After that, you have to remove or cover all litter. Smoothen the area by raking or harrowing as soon as possible after turning.

 

• Amend With Compost

– Apply composted organic matter and organic mulching materials freely each year since organic matter content is difficult to maintain. Use as much as 2,000 lbs. of rotted compost for each 1,000 square feet of area (approximately six inches or more).

 

• Add Fertilizer

– Adding fertilizer can provide supplements to your soil and for this, you can choose whether to use organic or commercial fertilizers. The combination of or the amount of fertilizer will depend on the result of the soil test and you must read the label for proper application. Make broadcast fertilizer applications on the garden soil after spading or plowing, then work into the soil as the ground is raked and leveled.

 

Once you’ve done the basic preparations for your garden, you can now learn the easy options in starting a vegetable garden. If you have a small space garden, you can still maximize the impact by contemplating on the three most common types of gardening.

 

Gardening Raised Beds

A raised bed is a convenient way to garden where the soil is limited and there is poor drainage. It can be turned into a covered cold frame to extend the growing season of crops.

raised_bed_garden

Here’s how:

  • First, dig up space, making sure to leave enough room for you to get to the center.
  • Then, simply decide on the length of your raised bed and build a frame that is no more than 4 feet wide (to allow planting but avoiding soil compaction) and is 12 inches high (give you plenty of space for most vegetables’ root systems). Do not make the beds any wider than you can reach the middle of the bed.
  • After that, loosen the lower soil using a pitch fork. Don’t forget to place your raised bed on top of an area with drainage.
  • Last, you’ll just mix the layer that you pulled out with better soil or fertilizer, and then you’re ready to plant your vegetable garden.

Vertical Gardening

Vertical gardening is often referred to as green walls, are an essentially self-sufficient type of gardening which is good for aesthetics, energy savings, and conserving water. Vertical gardening is a great way to garden in a small space using a trellis, teepee or any structure that will support a vining plant. Aside from that, you can also use existing walls for vertical gardening.

Vertical-Vegetable-Garden-ideas-2

Here’s how:

  • Start by making a frame for the plants especially if you want to have a container-style vertical garden. For this option, potted plants are attached to a wall or displayed in rows, or planters are stacked which is why you have to make the frame first.
  • Then, place the garden according to the type of sun exposure the plants will need.
  • After that, choose the plants that you want to grow such as herbs, vegetables, trailing varieties like philodendron, and native perennials.
  • Then, choose an efficient water system, (drip irrigation is preferable) in order to maintain and promote your plants’ growth. These living walls are more compact and therefore have less soil, so they may need to be watered more often.

 

Container Gardening

Building planter boxes are great to use in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Containers allow the gardener to grow plants anywhere there is the sunshine and it’s perfect for small spaces. A lot of plants actually do well in containers and you just have to choose wisely.

container gardening

Here’s how:

  • First, you have to select the perfect pot or container for your garden. You can also consider window boxes for this type of gardening. For example, the perfect container for tomatoes, peppers, okra, and basil is the 5-gallon bucket.
  • Next, drill holes in the bottom of the bucket for drainage. Or if you’re using pots, no need to drill.
  • Then, add 1 cubic foot of a soil-less potting mix (should be light and fluffy). Amend the soil as needed with lime, Epsom salt, and fertilizer. Remember, plants often have different requirements for moisture and fertilizer.
  • Lastly, consider companion planting or inter-planting. You can group plants according to their compatibility and mix plants that grow well together and often repel pesky insects yet attract beneficial ones.

 

Therefore

Gardening isn’t only for those with green thumb – everybody can learn how to do it. Your knowledge is the greatest weapon you could use and don’t hesitate to ask help from gardening experts, local nurseries, and suppliers, whenever you need one. It may consume a lot of your time, but it’ll all be worth it in the end. Imagine yourself growing various organic crops like potatoes, tomatoes, cabbages, and a whole lot more. Dreamy, eh? You no longer have to take trips to the grocery stores or fresh markets just to buy ingredients for home-cooked dishes, you just have to walk around your garden and pick fresh harvests.

Published: December 15, 2016

How To Grow Your Own Herb Garden Inside

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How would it be like to have unhindered access to herbs grown by you, to have a mini-garden that you can place on a kitchen counter or windowsill? Caring for it doesn’t require much time because the plants are small and can remain productive throughout the year.

Basil, parsley or dill are more tasty when fresh, so a garden of herbs grown on the kitchen counter can be your source for giving precious aroma to meals prepared at home.

Choosing the Pots

If you intend to attach the herb garden to the sill in the kitchen, you can mount a special metal support with rods inside it that can sustain mini-pots in which to grow herbs.

If you have a free countertop on your kitchen furniture, you can place the pots here (preferably with a nice design, adapted to the decorating style of the room). They should have a diameter of maximum 7 inches and holes for drainage.

Preparing the Pots

Sprinkle fine gravel on the bottom of the pots to stimulate drainage, then fill halfway with topsoil (especially created for flowers) as the garden soil is not nutritious enough for the herbs grown in the house. It is an excellent idea to add half handful of compost and a few drops of fertilizer for the plants to grow faster and stay in shape.

Sowing Non GMO Herb Seeds

Choose the herbs you want to always have fresh (parsley, basil, oregano and thyme are extremely popular and versatile), considering their needs and the conditions from your kitchen (some need lots of natural light, others prefer partial shade).

You may choose to plant seedlings or organic non gmo seeds. Either way, your garden will become operational quickly and you will be able to enjoy the herbs when preparing nice, fresh foods.

Maintaining the Herb Garden

Now that you have completed the steps for cultivating the herbs, wait a week or two until your plants are able to adapt to the environment. You can then freely pluck the leaves, but not remove more than 30% of them not to affect the permanent plant.

Check daily humidity of the soil, but don’t give the plants too much water to prevent root rot. Snatch the flowers, as appropriate, because your plan is to get a richer foliage!

Published: July 31, 2015