When you have raised beds, it is very easy for you to control the fertility of your soil. Your beds warm up faster in spring. There is always a difference between raised beds and in-ground beds. The soil of the ground bed is compacted, but in the case of a raised bed, it is not. When you start gardening, many questions arise in your mind.
The most important question which the new gardeners have to face is, how to fill a new raised beds. The answer to this question is very simple, there are some methods, the outcome of every method is incredible. You can find different materials regarding this and every material has a different outcome.
Research is very important for this purpose, before adopting any method, you must be careful because the life of your plant depends on this. But there is one shortcoming which is you have to figure out how to fill a tall raised garden bed. There are a lot of things through which you can fill your garden raised beds.
Calculate the volume of raised beds
First of all, before filling, you must understand how much soil and organic material you need for your raised beds. You have to calculate the volume of raised beds. Your time and money will be saved by this calculation. Little mathematical calculation is required for this purpose.
The formula for finding volume is
You can easily find the length, width, and height of your bed with the help of measuring tape. The long side of your bed is its length, the short side is the width. In the last, you measure the height or depth of the bed. For example, after measuring the height of your bed is 1 foot, width is 6 feet and length is 10 feet then
60 cubic feet= 10 feet × 6 feet × 1 foot
After this little effort, you made, you can easily know the quantity of soil you need for your garden raised bed. You can calculate how many bags of soil you need for the surface of your bed because at the bottom you can fill it different things.
The quantity of soil depends on “what type of plant you want to grow in your raised bed”?
The type of plant you want to grow can make it easy to decide that how much soil you need for a filling. For example, if you are growing vegetables that require more depth in your container, then the height of the container must be tall.
The idea of root depth makes you able to decide, for instance, carrots and reddish need one and a half-foot of soil. These type of plants want more water and their deeper roots skillfully make it possible to search further down for the water, they needed for the plant.
Increasing the volume of bed, the more soil you need. If your garden bed is very tall then you’ll need more materials to fill it. In a tall bed, generally, you only need 6”-8” of high quality of soils on surface. Ordinary soil or other materials can be used beneath that to prove bulk.
More Depth Needs More Materials
It is a challenge to fill a tall container. Always try to put the highest quality of soil in your beds. If your container is very tall then spread this high-quality soil on the surface. At the bottom, you can fill it with hay, grass clippings, wood chips, leaves, and manure. But be careful, using this material, they decompose easily.
As time passes, the height of your bed will decrease and this will become evident when you see the signs of your soil level falling down. Keep in mind that avoid using materials like rocks on the bottom of your garden bed. This type of thing creates an artificial water table and good drainage can’t be possible in your bed as drainage is necessary to grow healthy plants in your raised garden beds.
Ways of Filling Your Raised Beds
There are many ways to fill your garden beds. The way you adopt should be according to your environment and the material you have. For example, if in your area, there is a shortage of water then you have to adopt Core Gardening less water is required in this method.
The basic purpose of core gardening is to create an internal sponge down the middle of the garden bed. The objective of this core is to hold water just like a sponge and absorb the moisture two feet in both directions in the soil. The other benefits of core gardening are many, if the surface of the soil is dry then there is less chance of growing weeds in your beds. Other advantages are, in this way your plant will get strong roots and this method reduces disease issues.
Hugelkultur Raised Beds
In case you have access to rotten materials like log, sticks, and other debris then you have to adopt Hugelkultur Raised Beds. If you have these materials, then this method is best as you can easily make a new garden or modifying an existing one, without any cost. The benefits of this method are the same as that of core gardening.
Ruth Stout Garden Bed
Another great method is Ruth Stout Garden Bed. In this method, you can use spoiled hay and make your soil healthy very rapidly. You can make or build your bed directly on the ground, with no need for sides. If you are preparing for spring, in the winter season, then this method is good for you.
If you want to plant potatoes, this method will suit you. The expenses which your pocket will have to bear in this method is very low. One disadvantage of this procedure is that hay tends to have an abundance of weed seeds but you can avoid this situation by making a thick layer of at least eight inches of hay and most of the weed don’t germinate through this thick layer.
Back to Eden Garden Bed
The unique method which you never heard, in which you can use wood chips along with chicken manure as mulch for your garden beds. If you have access to these two things easily you can make this type of garden beds. This method is called Back to Eden Garden Bed. This method does not affect your pocket or you can say that this is a low-cost procedure.
Healthy soil can be built by the use of wood chips, also provides nutrients to plants, reduce weeds, and last but not least maintain the moisture of the soil according to the plant needs. Another advantage of this method is that it can be performed with or without a raised garden frame. The layer of the wood chips should be four inches but it can be as deep as desired.
You can obtain wood chips free from local landscaping and tree companies. You should care about one thing that never mixes wood chips in the soil or plant seeds. Some organic fertilizers may require to be added in a few seasons of starting years, but with the passage of time, the soil will become healthy and productive when wood chips will break down.
These methods rely on resources that are easily accessible and free. You have to gather your courage to ask around for these resources. Don’t hesitate, because manure, wood chips, hay, and leaves are not valuable things for farmers and landscaping and tree companies.
Also Read: How To Improve The Soil In My Raised Beds?
Filling Your Raised Bed Annually
In the autumn season, you should collect the leaves to make mulch with them. This mulch is a great material to top off bed space with. Every fall, the worms in the soil break down a lot of leaves and make the soil surface wonderful.
The best organic material which you can get from your lawn without any cost is your fall leaves. These leaves can be used in Lasagna Gardening. You can use other materials besides this like alfalfa hay, vegetable scraps, dry straw, and fine wood chip.
First, you should do a layer of brown material, then a layer of green, after that a layer of manure at the top. In spring you will get the outcome in the form of the stunning surface of the soil for planting.
In the lasagna method, you will get a variety of ingredients. High nitrogen material will be recommended like certified weed-seed, chicken manure, and a layer those between dried leaves and pine shavings. For instance, if you build 5” to 7” layer then you have to top it with about 2” of composted manure, then put it to bed by covering the bed surface.
After making your layers landscape fabric is used for covering the bed’s surface to avoid weed seed from entering. You have to remove the landscape when spring comes. One or two inches material didn’t completely decompose, often matted beneath the manure surface. The production of your plants will be upgraded.
Your effort of fall can be seen in the form of your plants. When your plants get long life then you will be happy seeing this. For the growth of a plant, it is our responsibility to provide good nutrients to the soil and plant. Every year we get fruit, vegetables, pulses, flowers and many more from plants.
If we give them proper nutritious material they will grow fast and give us high production. All the methods which explain above, have the same motive which is building soil with organic material and always covering the soil with mulch. Nature is enough to grow the plants but we only want to increase the productivity of the plants, so we can fulfill our needs easily.