We have been following Oli’s garden for the entire season. From the last snowfall that covered the beds to the full Summer bounty that it is producing now, it has been a joy to see. Oli’s garden consists of raised beds and large containers. In this way, she has been able to control the soil amendments and fertilization. The area is approximately 1000 square feet, and is totally fenced to keep out her “tomato loving” fur babies. The garden is now producing an astonishing amount of produce, and she has begun the process of canning quite a bit of it. The next few months will be filled with harvesting and stowing away the bounty of the season.
What exactly is a raised bed? Basically it just means that you are growing your plants above ground in a container that will hold soil and be large enough for roots and nourishment. In our climate and soil conditions, sometimes it is the only way to get the produce that you want. But there is another even better reason for using them. Control! Everything you can plant in the ground, you can do in a raised bed, often times with much better success. You can control the soil by using a perfect organic mix made for raised beds. We recommend planting in straight Gardner & Bloome Raised Bed & Potting Mix. EVERYTHING you need is in there! The slightly woody texture adds the ideal combination of porosity and moisture retention to the soil. Additional coir and peat moss ingredients offer increased moisture-holding capacity, making it great for container flower gardens too. Added organic fertilizers like composted chicken manure, kelp meal and bat guano ensure both an immediate and extended release of nutrients to keep the soil healthy. You can control pests easier by covering with row cloth, and you can control nutrients because it is only going to go right where you want it, the root zone.
A raised bed can be anything from a large set-up like that above, or a dresser drawer that you have repurposed into a lettuce bin. Shallow roots give you options to use items you never would have imagined would work in the garden. Another perfect container for tomatoes and peppers is the 1/2 wine barrell. Fits most anywhere, and if there isn't enough sun where you first planted it, you just strap that baby to a handcart and move it somewhere else in the yard.
Get your creative cap on and start figuring out how you can grow the produce you long for this season. Send us pics of your raised beds and we will add them to a future post.
These last few weeks we have experienced some extremely hot weather. Between the heat and the hot drying winds, your garden is possibly suffering. Here are a few helpful hints to get you through the rest of these summer weeks.
Mulch- A couple of inches of organic mulch like compost, grass clippings, or bark mulch will help reduce moisture loss and cool the soil temperature. A side benefit is that it prevents most weeds from germinating, too. We carry so many different varieties for every look or purpose. Cocoa Mulch smells great and helps with bugs, Gromulch is wonderful around your trees and in shrub beds, and Black Forest will nurture your veggies.
Shade- Raise your lawn mower blade up so that you have 3 inches of grass left standing after you mow. This will provide shade for the roots of your lawn keeping them cool and much happier (which means a greener lawn).
Don't spray chemicals during heat- Avoid spraying garden chemicals when temperatures are above 85 degrees. Weed killers can volatilize (evaporate and become air borne) and drift onto desirable plants. Insecticides can burn leaves of plants when temps are above 85. Spray early in the morning when temps are cooler and the air is still, or wait for cooler weather if possible.
Watch- Plants will often tell you when they are needing water. Lawns will turn a bluish green and show footprints that don't rebound. Bean leaves will turn a darker green and begin to wilt. Most plants will perform better if you don't allow them to wilt before watering, so check your garden every day and observe their needs.
Water- It's true that you need to water more often during hot weather, but first check the soil. The surface may look dry even though there is plenty of moisture in the root zone. Over-watering can be just as harmful as under-watering, so don't over do it. Slow, deep watering will insure that water soaks down to the roots. Soaker hoses and drip irrigation systems work well. If using a hose that has been laying in the sun, be sure to let it run for a minute or two, until cool water comes out.