With the weather getting warmer and sunnier, most of us are probably spending more time on outdoor activities. Why not make gardening one of those activities?
Late April/May is a great time to start sowing many kinds of flowers and vegetables, such as lettuce and artichokes. It is also the time to start planting flowers like lupins, aquilegia and the giant sunflower, which your kids will love! Joining the Grow Your Own club will provide you with plenty of healthy and tasty organic vegetables, as well as the peace of mind in knowing exactly what’s in your food.
For those of you who have been wanting to start gardening and those who have been gardening for years, you’ve probably heard of raised beds. Having one gives you many benefits, and will guarantee better yields. You may find that your garden’s soil acidity isn’t ideal for certain types of plants. A raised bed solves this problem, as it allows you to fill it with the correct soil to ensure a bumper harvest. By raising the soil from the ground, it facilitates better drainage and increases the soil volume – ideal for root vegetables such as carrots and turnips. Once your plants have matured, they will form a leaf canopy over the bed, which will be enough to discourage growth of annoying weeds.
Having a raised bed also makes it much easier to rotate your crops. Crop rotation prevents the build-up of soil dwelling pests and diseases. Alternating crops with beans and peas also helps fix nitrogen into the soil, which is essential for healthy plants.
A raised bed can come in any shape and size, and can be placed anywhere in your garden that gives your plants the right conditions. Size will be dependent on how far you can reach as well as your mobility. Having a higher bed means you won’t have to be constantly leaning down, ideal for those with bad backs and mobility issues. It’ll also organise the space in your garden better, by creating paths through your garden. This makes them ideal not only for vegetables, but flowers as well.
Building your own raised bed is relatively simple, although may require hard work. One important factor is the timber. You have to make sure that the timber you use for the borders are free of harmful chemicals. This is usually the case if you are using recycled timber such as old railway sleepers, which were treated with CCA (Chromated Copper Arsenate) or creosote, both chemicals considered hazardous to health. Untreated wood exposed to the elements will be susceptible to rot and insect infestation, requiring more hard work from you later on in having to pull them up and replacing them. At Dunster House, our raised beds are made from pressure treated timber that is not only safe, but also comes with a ten year guarantee against rot and insect infestation, to save you the time and effort on maintenance.
Whatever you plant in your raised bed, it will guarantee better growth and higher yields of vegetables. You might even be inspired to turn your raised bed into a focal point with flowers instead.