Raised bed organic gardening is not only an effective method for growing healthy vegetables, but it is also one of the easiest gardening methods that you are likely to find.
The "secret" lies within its superior drainage capability. If you have been contemplating starting a garden, NOW is a great time to begin.
This simple and inexpensive design uses 2” X 6” X 8’ boards that are readily available at most lumber yards or hardware stores. You will find that most stores will be more than happy to cut your boards to your measurements if you ask.
Raised Beds are simple, inexpensive and are great for beginners!
What I do is cut one board into four equal sections, two feet in length. I then use two of these for the end pieces between two uncut eight foot boards.
You can start with one of these simple beds for the first season and then add additional layers as time goes by or start with two or three stacked on top of each other.
That is a decision that should be made after you determine if you have enough fertile soil to fill them with after you are done.
Typically, most people start with one section and then add another section on top at the end of each season.
Before you know it you garden is underway
One reason why fall is a good time to start your raised bed is that you have plenty of time build sufficient amounts of soil to fill them.
Instead of sending all those leaves and grass clippings to the landfill, you can recycle them right in your raised beds. Simply run your mower over the leaves a few times to chop them up in nice small pieces and then mix with the grass clippings.
I like to use a lot of the tall grass that grows on the back side of my property. Put it in your beds and water well to help pack it all down. I shovel dirt on top for two reasons, it helps keep it from blowing around and it contains earthworms and microorganisms which help to break it all down that much faster.
You can even add all that shredded paper from under your desk and recycle that as well. It is also a good idea to add a couple bags of compost from your local garden center.
My favorite method for building fertile soil in my raised bed organic gardens is to empty my bokashi buckets throughout the winter time.
I also use a product called Nature’s Blend, cotton burr compost. It is made from the debris left over from ginning cotton and it produces a fairly good quality compost.
Remember the philosophy behind organic gardening is to use natural amendments that to build soil that is fertile.
Even if you live in an area where the soil is of poor quality it still has many of the needed components. Don’t be afraid to mix it into your beds, provided it is not contaminated with chemicals.
This summer I started using the Bokashi method for recycling my household waste and I have been able to build up my beds quite quickly.
"Unlike composting, Bokashi ferments organic waste without decomposition and preserves all the natural elements that we need for our soil."
If you are unfamiliar with Bokashi then you are missing out on the greatest thing to come road for gardeners in a long, long time. Now I am making compost in as little as four weeks and no smell!
I get into the detailed information on the Bokashi page.
Another great amendment is horse manure. If you are fortunate enough to live anywhere near a farm or ranch, ask if you can get a couple buckets of manure that you can mix into your beds.
This step, while unpleasant to some is a great amendment to your soil. If you are able to walk out through the pasture you can find piles of droppings that are old and weathered.
These will not be nearly as heavy or ‘aromatic’ as fresh manure and should be your first choice. Break up the clumps with a spade before adding it to your raised bed.