Tips for Planting a Raised Bed

Almost any plant will grow well in a raised bed. Follow these tips for keeping plants healthy.

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The plants you choose for your raised bed will depend on the bed's location. Vegetables prefer eight to 10 hours of sunlight but many can get by with about six hours. For shady beds, choose shade-tolerant plants such as begonias and impatiens.

The one drawback is the size of the plant: a large tree wouldn't be a good candidate for a raised bed because its roots will eventually burst through the walls. Plants that are naturally smaller in size are good choices for raised beds.

When you design your planting plan, make sure that all the plants will be within reach. If you're planting annuals with perennials, plant the annuals around the edges so you can swap them out easily.

Think about spacing. Don't crowd your plants. They will grow really well in the soil so you want to give them room to spread out.

When it comes to maintenance, watering is the most important task. Raised beds require more water than in-ground gardens because they dry out more quickly. It's a good idea to use soaker hoses or install drip irrigation so you don't have to spend a lot of time watering by hand.

Be sure to add mulch when you're finished planting. Add about 2 inches of mulch on top of the soil around your plants, being careful not to place it too close to the base of your plants. The mulch level should sit lower than the edge of the bed to prevent it from washing over the sides.

Mulch slows the evaporation of water from the raised bed, deters weeds and helps keep the soil cool for the plants' roots.

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