Want to increase production reduce maintenance and improve your garden's looks? Try raised beds.
Raising Them Right
Meticulous to a T, Mike likes for everything in his yard to be just so. After he and Glenda visited the gardens at Colonial Williamsburg, he hit upon an idea to improve plant growth, reduce maintenance, and enhance aesthetics--raised beds. He built planting boxes out of 2- x 6-foot tongue-and-groove, pressure-treated lumber. Glenda designed the layout of 4- x 16-foot raised beds. The narrow width allows easy reach for planting and harvesting. He filled them with his custom soil mix. A layer of mulch between the boxes discourages weeds.
Sections of metal lattice laid on the boxes are an eye-catching twist. Mike uses it like a grid to evenly space his plants. Around planting time, he can stretch floating row covers atop it to keep insects off seedlings. "It also supports crops such as broccoli against the wind," he adds.
Mike starts most of his plants from seeds sown in pots and then transplanted to the beds. His garden is in production at least nine months a year. Crops for fall or spring include lettuce, spinach, chard, broccoli, cabbage, and radishes. Tomatoes, corn, peppers, squash, carrots, cucumbers, and beans are summer mainstays.