Growing in cultivating beds
Growing in cultivating beds can be done at ground height or more or less raised. It can be drawers and pots on a small balcony, and it can be many large beds on a field. The raised cultivation beds have many advantages both from plant and work point of view compared to those that lie directly on the ground. The height means that they have a warmer climate, and if they are also arched, they create a larger cultivation area. A fascinating figure is that a well-planned balcony of 20 square meters can provide as much as 70 kilos of food in one year.
Plan the growing in cultivating beds
First and foremost, it is the size of the place that determines how much you can grow. Once you start planning, you should do so based on what is needed. Growing for the sake of growing is rarely a good idea. Instead, it can be counterproductive when you can’t manage it. Better to start on a smaller scale and experience the joy and even the craving for more crops the following year. A smart tip is to start with something that you like to eat.
At this point in the planning comes the next step. How large beds do I need, where should they be, and should they be raised? Plants to be harvested every day or quite often should be located closest to the house – that is, in zone 1 – while plants harvested only once or a few times a week may be located further away from the house.
When growing in cultivating beds, remember to place the beds to get the most sun. The very best is if you can direct the vegetation more to the southwest than straight to the south – because then you also get the evening sun’s last warming rays on your crops. If it is not possible to have the beds in that direction, at least try to make sure that the plant rows go in that direction and that the lowest plants are closest to the sun.
Some places on the beds are more vulnerable than others. The most sensitive points are the corners where the aisles or other surrounding environment dominate. To create stability and secure the corners, it is good to plant perennials there. The next sensitive area is the short sides of the beds, where it is also good to plant several lower perennials, such as herbs. If you have no built-up sides around the raised beds, the lower edges of these beds are also vulnerable. Here too, it is suitable to grow herbs or preferably strawberries.
The next step is to go through and plan which plants to grow. Use the technique to grow with crop rotation and find out which plants thrive best together. Also, keep in mind that the highest plants should be placed in the middle of the bed and the lowest along the edges – everything to be able to harvest easily and comfortably.
Material selection when growing in cultivating beds
Remember to avoid using materials that result in different chemicals ending up in the beds. Here are some examples of what to avoid:
⇾ Treated wood
⇾ Straw where the grain has been sprayed with various pesticides. This can destroy the whole cultivation area for many years to come
⇾ Fertilizer from stables using a lot of antibiotics and pesticides
Raised beds are the most straightforward shortcut to a better growing climate. Building raised cultivation beds is also a quick way to get better drainage. In order to gain a plant zone, it is usually sufficient to apply more soil so that the cultivation area is 15–20 cm higher than the surrounding area. The effect is especially noticeable in the spring when the soil in the raised bed is heated faster. With a little luck, you can start your gardening several weeks earlier than what you ordinarily would – but remember that the sooner you start, the higher the risk of frost. Garden fabric is an excellent solution to the problem, and you can readily have it on 24/7 for the first few weeks while the plants are establishing themselves.
The height of the bed can be achieved in several different ways, where the lowest bed, as previously stated, only has a lot more soil in relation to the walkways. The next variant is that you make a base with straw, manure, old leaves, et cetera, that you then put the soil on top. The next variant is where you start with branches and twigs for a base. Finally, you have the variant where the base consists of logs and thick branches. In order to avoid soil compaction in the finished beds, you must never walk on them. Later, I will take you through the construction of the higher beds.
Of course, the garden beds don’t need to be tall, but it tends to make gardening easier. One significant advantage of raised beds is that they are considerably more productive because they are initially made up of lots of compostable material. By continuing to feed them with the more nutritious matter, they retain their fertility.
Raised bed with hügelkultur
Hügelkultur is a German word, meaning hill/mound culture. It is a unique form of growing in cultivating beds and it is a tall bed that are becoming more common, especially in permaculture. The idea is not new; it is an old technique that has been used for centuries in both Eastern Europe and Germany. Interestingly, the hügelkultur technique must go through cold winters to function, which is very suitable …