How to make high beds - the solution for any soil
Bad soil on the site is not the final sentence. The principle of high beds is not to fight bad soil throughout the site, but to create a separate place - a bed above the ground, which will allow you to control the texture and composition of the soil. In this publication, read about what are high beds and how to make them with your own hands.
- What is a high bed?
- How to make a high bed?
- High Bed Care
What is a high bed?
A high bed is a bed built above the surface of the soil. The design of high beds can be complex, using wooden or stone high fences, or simple when the bed rises literally ten centimeters above ground level. On a high bed you can plant anything: from herbs and vegetables, to perennials and even shrubs.
The advantages of high beds
Having built high beds on the site, you will forget about the problem of poor soil and get additional benefits:
- in spring, high beds warm up faster, you can work with the soil and plant the plants earlier;
- high beds dry better;
- the soil in a high bed does not compact, because they do not step on it;
- the soil in a high bed is easier to adapt for specific plants;
- a high bed is easier to care for.
How to make a high bed?
The most popular type of tall beds is fenced beds, as they are great for any vegetable crops, berry plants, herbs and flower beds.
The choice of materials for creating a high fence is very diverse. Most gardeners build tall beds of wood, which is not surprising: it is easy to work with, and at the same time it is affordable. Concrete blocks, stone or brick are also suitable for high beds, but creating fences from them is much more difficult.
Some gardeners do things easier: stack bales of hay or straw in sizes that are suitable for the bed, then pour soil on top, compost and plant the plants. However, this method is short-lived - the straw quickly decomposes, and therefore such beds are not enough for more than a year. If the need to change the contents of the garden once a year does not scare you, or if you are still in search of a permanent design, then perhaps it is worth starting with the above option.
And we will continue. Given that most tall beds are built from wooden planks, the following are instructions for creating tall beds from them.
Step-by-step instructions for creating a high bed of wood
1. Select a location for your high bed. If you know for sure that you will grow vegetables, plants or photophilous flowers, choose a place where it will be sunny at least eight hours a day. The surface for the construction of a high bed should be flat and even, and in the place of construction of a high bed there should be easy access to water for irrigation and enough space for working with plants.
2. Determine the size and shape of the high beds. Make sure that the plants will be easily accessible to you, and at the same time you do not have to step on the bed.
One of the main advantages of high beds is the fact that the soil in it does not compact, as in a regular bed, thanks to well-designed access to it.
The standard width of a high bed is about 1 meter 20 centimeters, because in this case you can access the middle of the bed on both sides. If you equip a bed against a wall or fence, its width should be no more than 90 centimeters. If you have chosen the correct width for a high bed, then its length does not matter.
3. 15 centimeters is the normal soil depth for most crops to grow. The ideal height of the beds is from 25 to 30 centimeters. If the soil is good, not too clay or rocky, you can simply loosen it and build a bed from 15 to 20 centimeters high. If the soil is poor or you will grow crops such as carrots and beets that need deeper soil, then the bed should be at least 25 centimeters high.
4. Prepare the place. Once you have decided on the size and shape of your beds, you can begin to work on preparing the place. The amount of work is determined by the height of the planned beds and plants that are planned to grow there. For most vegetables and herbs, a bed 15 centimeters high is suitable. You can save your time simply by putting a newspaper, landscape cloth or cardboard on the turf, filling the bed with soil from above. However, so that the plant roots have enough room for growth, it is better to remove the existing turf and additionally loosen the soil with a shovel or garden pitchfork to a depth of 20 to 30 centimeters.
5. Make a frame for a high bed. When creating a frame, use decay resistant planks such as cedar, larch, or modern composite materials. To create a bed 15 centimeters high, cut to the required size the required number of boards, then fasten them together to make a simple frame. Boards can be fastened in various ways. You can pre-drill holes and fasten the boards joint to joint, by screwing galvanized screws (self-tapping screws). You can also use small wood bars at the corners by attaching each board to them.
6. Align the frame at the level selected for the bed. Using a level, be sure to align the frame in all directions relative to the horizon. This is important: if the structure is not even, water will drain on one side of the bed and accumulate on the other. If either side of the frame is too high, simply remove some of the soil beneath that side.
7. Fill the bed with soil. The whole point of high beds is that with its help you can create ideal soil for plants. Therefore, fill the garden with a high-quality substrate, compost and rotted manure. After filling the beds and leveling the soil in it, you can start planting or sowing seeds.
High Bed Care
High beds are easy to care for. Every spring or autumn they need to be replenished with compost and manure. If the bed is intended for growing plants only for part of the year, compost or manure can be placed only in the upper few centimeters of soil. As is the case with any other beds, mulching the top of the soil in a high bed will help maintain moisture and prevent weeds. Moisture retention is especially important for tall beds because they dry faster than normal beds.
Colin Vanderlinden, "How to make tall beds?"