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Only one difference exists between gardening in raised beds versus gardening in ground-level beds. Preparing soil quality, choosing the appropriate vegetables to grow and planning for seasonal shifts in raised gardens is the same as when gardening at ground-level. The one difference lies in the soil's water drainage. Raised beds increase the speed of water drainage and require more frequent watering and fertilising than ground-level beds.
Remove old soil and remnants of past vegetation from your existing raised garden beds to replace with new, nutrient-rich soil. You may also use old potting soil or soil from your area and mix in fresh compost or manure to add nutrients to the garden beds.
Choose the types of vegetables you wish to plant in your raised garden by selecting vegetables you will consume most often. Bear in mind that all types of garden vegetables can be grown in the raised garden as effectively as in ground-level gardens.
Diagram how many rows you require for each vegetable and how much space you need between each plant. Use these space measurements to section off the raised garden bed using plant identification sticks or large craft sticks. Place a pair of sticks along opposite sides of the raised garden and tie lengths of string between the pair to section off the vegetables.
Lift one of the pair of identification sticks back out of the garden and write on each side of the stick. On the left-facing side, write what vegetable you intend to plant on that side of the divider. On the other side of the stick, write the vegetable you will plant on that side of the divider. Push the stick back into place against the edge of the raised garden bed.
Sow seeds or plant seedlings into the respective sections inside the raised garden bed. This will help you remedy plant diseases and quickly identify specific plants if you do not know what the plant looks like during different stages of growth.
Water the raised garden as you discover the need. The structure of a raised garden naturally increases the soil drainage, so it often becomes necessary to water the garden as frequently as each day. To determine if the raised garden needs watering, stick your finger into the soil and feel for moisture or look for wilting leaves.
Increase the frequency of fertiliser applications as you increase watering. Water drains quickly from a raised garden bed and takes nutrients along for the ride. A successful raised garden requires adding fertiliser more frequently to replace that which is washed away by necessary increases in watering.
- You may plant vegetables at a higher density than suggested, as long as you are willing to water and fertilise the plants more frequently than when following spacing suggestions.
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