Many people prefer planting flowers and crops in raised garden beds, as it provides them with many benefits. Metal raised garden beds have become extremely popular due to their eco-friendly materials and long-lasting durability. In this guide, we will discuss the importance of correctly setting up raised garden beds, and mistakes you can avoid.
Gardeners are always eager when planning for their raised garden beds. Unfortunately, what starts off as an enthusiastic project can come to a standstill due to some common beginner gardening mistakes, leading to anger and frustration. Below we’ll review some of the most common gardening mistakes most planters tend to make that derail their efforts. Avoiding these mistakes will help you create a smart garden that provides you with good yields.
Raised garden beds are environmentally friendly and present many advantages for both experienced and new gardeners alike. They are preferable to in-ground beds because they offer better drainage, easier access, and more control over the quality of soil. Below are some common gardening mistakes to avoid. Even if you are a gardening expert, it is still useful to look over these suggestions to ensure a successful harvest and a pleasant gardening experience.
1. Picking The Wrong Spot
It is a common gardening mistake made by many gardeners. It is essential that you orient the position of your raised garden bed correctly, as it proves very difficult to move your entire garden bed later on. Here are some factors you should take into account:
- Sunlight: Choosing a spot that does not receive direct sunlight for at least six hours may have adverse effects on the plants. Ample sun is necessary for most plants to flourish, especially vegetables. Therefore, you should choose a sunny spot in your garden to situate your garden beds. You should not orient it East-West, but rather North-South to ensure the right amount of sunlight. Plant smaller crops in the front (from South to North) and the tallest crops in the back. Keep in mind that some plants such as peas prefer shade.
- Level ground: Avoid low-lying areas that are prone to collecting water. Make sure the raised garden bed sits on level ground. Don’t place the raised bed against the fence or wall, as it prevents access from all four sides.
- Harmony with the rest of the garden: You want to situate your raised bed in a place that blends in with the rest of your garden. Raised garden beds can be aesthetically pleasing if made with the right materials. However, you should prioritize the first two factors more, as they are essential for a well-functioning garden.
2. Not Thinking About The Water Source
When you choose the area to place the raised garden bed, consider the water source, as both overwatering and underwatering can have detrimental effects on your plants. The place you chose should have nearby water access. To avoid constant watering, you can also think about a drip irrigation system. Many people will just use a lawn sprinkler system, which is inefficient. This wastes water and often causes problems related to fungal diseases. If you are planning on building only a few raised garden beds, a soaker hose is fine. They may be a good alternative if an irrigation system is too expensive. Also useful are indicator plants such as lettuce, which will quickly wilt if they don’t receive enough water.
3. Raised Beds Placed Too Close Together
Since using raised garden beds makes gardening more comfortable, you may feel like installing multiple beds. But placing them too close together can make it difficult to weed, plant, or harvest from the edges. So, you need to create a comfortable working area by allowing enough room between the raised beds. Having a walkway of at least three to four feet between each bed offers you ample access, and allows you to move a wheelbarrow or cart around with ease.
4. Crowding your Plants
Most people think they can grow anything in raised garden beds, but this is not exactly true. You need to consider the scale and maturity of the plants. It is important to space the plants apart to allow room for them to grow. Many plants have deep root systems, which you need to consider so that they do not overcrowd each other and deplete nutrients in the soil. Raised vegetable beds should be at least 8 – 12 inches deep. Our products are 17 - 32″deep which makes them capable of growing larger plants in addition to smaller ones.
5. Planting the Wrong Plants
A related issue is choosing plants that don’t do well in your specific climate, as some plants can’t withstand severe temperature fluctuations. For example, artichokes thrive in a specific environment with mild winters, cool summers, and plenty of moisture. Some plants, like asparagus, are perennials, so you should not plant them unless you want to harvest them every year.
- You should start out with easy to grow vegetables if you are a beginner. These include tomatoes, zucchini, and bell peppers. Herbs such as basil, thyme, and mint are also easy to grow and tend to.
- Select vegetables that will do well within the given climate and season. Crops can be grouped into cool-season crops and warm-season crops. Lettuce is a cool-weather crop and is best grown in the Spring and Fall.
- Plant vegetables that you enjoy eating and use a lot in your cooking. That way, you will make the best use of your garden’s harvest. You can use plants that have defects or any surplus for the compost pile, which can then be recycled back into the soil.
- You should introduce variety and avoid monocropping, which can deplete the soil of vital nutrients. A useful concept to learn is companion planting, a method that places plants with complementary characteristics in close proximity to each other, such as nutrient requirement or pest-repellent abilities, to maximize crop productivity. You can even add flowers to deter pests.
6. Skipping Mulch
This is one of the most common gardening mistakes that planters make with raised garden beds. Many people do not like mulch because it is expensive and heavy, but it is necessary for optimal results. While the garden is raised off of the ground, weeds can grow invade your garden. Adding a layer with mulch can help keep the weeds at bay as well as retain moisture around the roots of the plants. Mulch also helps regulate the temperature of plants better than plain soil. Organic mulch can be used to improve soil quality and richness. It is important to keep the area weed free and avoid using herbicides in your raised bed. These toxic chemicals can linger for many years, and can migrate to other areas of your garden as run-off.
7. Not Using the Correct Soil
Soil should be fluffy, light, and well-draining. Gardeners often use garden soil, which can become compacted over time and restrict drainage. Potting soil, by contrast, drains too quickly. They also might use native soil, which often lacks nutrients and is unfit for vegetable growth. To avoid these mistakes, you should buy specialty bagged soil designed for raised garden beds, which has better nutrient composition and texture. Consider adding organic material like compost to the soil to improve its quality. However, be sure not to overload the nitrogen content, as it inhibits the growth of fruit-producing plants such as tomatoes. You can experiment and alter the ratios of soils depending on your needs for best results.
Instead of making these mistakes, you can save time and effort by purchasing raised garden bed kit from a trusted source. That way, you don’t have to worry about using the right materials. Especially if you live in a wet and humid environment, you should consider steel beds, which are made from eco-friendly metal materials. Our professionals can guide you to the top-quality raised beds that will help you grow the right plants and produce a better harvest.