The Raised Bed Garden
The Raised Bed Garden is located behind the garden shed with its unusual living roof. When you pass the shed and enter the garden, the raised beds with their straight lines, bring a sense of order and a pleasing geometry to the space. Two rows of twenty beds of different shapes and sizes are dedicated to sustainable organic gardening. Beautiful espaliered apple trees line a corner of the garden. In the opposite side, a taller bed with a wider ledge is a favorite place to rest. This bed is specially designed to bring the plants closer to gardeners with physical challenges and allow gardening in a sitting position. Four smaller beds define the center of the garden with a two-tiered birdbath in the middle. All the beds are wheelchair accessible, and the paths are wide enough to walk comfortably between the beds.
Like in all vegetable gardens, we begin every year with a blank slate. Winter is a time of brainstorming, and we study the trends and new techniques that pertain to the home gardeners.
For example, in 2012, the theme in the raised beds is: ” Gardening for your health and health of your garden." More and more people are realizing the benefits of growing their own food. A thriving garden will give you plenty of vitamin-producing vegetables. Our garden will be a very colorful one with a “Color your plate” beds. The new varieties of vegetables come with a large choice of colors and inspiring names: “Bright Lights Swiss Chards” and “Red Ruby Basil” are some examples. Some of our beds are dedicated to fibers (grains); proteins (beans, peas); and, to keep you relaxed, a Zen garden bed. Herbs are a must, and some have medicinal properties.
Every year, there is something different and new in the Raised Bed Garden. This keeps residential consumers interested, and Master Gardeners updated in their knowledge and skills.
Any garden needs help from bees, butterflies, and other pollinators to set fruit and should never be without flowers to bring them in. With two small pollinator beds and beneficial plants throughout the garden, we keep a healthy balance in the garden. Organic practices are also showcased in some of the beds: cover crops, compost, polyculture.
If you are interested in beginning your own garden, we always say, “Begin small!” .A raised bed can be of any size (4’x4’ is a good beginning). You should be able to work in it without stepping in it. The beauty of raised beds is that you never walk in them; and, as a result, the soil does not become compacted. Permanent mulch on the soil like grass clippings, dried leaves, or other organic mulch will help keep the compaction and the loss of moisture to a minimum.
Because raised beds warm up earlier in spring, you can plant earlier. They can be used as cold frames to begin seedlings in a protected environment. If your own garden soil is not ideal for vegetable gardening, a raised bed is an easy solution. Fill it with a mix of good garden soil and compost, and you can begin. Our raised beds have wooden frames, but you can use concrete blocks, straw bales, or no frames at all and just raise the soil. The plants still need at least six inches of soil and 6 to 8 hours of sun.
Some drawbacks from raised beds are the initial cost and because of better drainage, the quicker loss of water.Their ease of cultivation, higher yields, attractive shapes, and adaptability to gardening challenges made them a great choice for any gardener.
Our Raised Bed Garden is a perfect illustration and a great place to visit. Please come!