Raised Gardening - Reader Questions
(In His Garden)
Some of your questions about raised bed gardening
How do you get rid of weeds next to the raised beds?
I use the Armstrong system. Arm strong. Get it? There’s no magic here, it’s a weed. You can lay down some old roofing shingles if you like just under the edge of the raised bed to stop weeds in that area. Or weed fabric and mulch.
Mulch pathways with whatever you use in the rest of the garden
How to stop tree roots? Top quality landscape fabric will slow them down and divide the container soil from the ground-level gardens. You can do this under black walnut trees if you use good new soil but sooner or later, the roots will get through any fabric and you’ll have to take the bed apart to dig out the roots, repair/replace the fabric and use new soil.
Note you only have to use new soil if you’re under black walnuts, other trees don’t poison the soil as they do so you can simply repair the fabric and replace the soil and add new stuff to top it off.
Soil shrinking. If this is happening with vegetables and annual beds, then your option is pretty simple. Top it up with the soil of choice in the early spring and then replant.
If you have perennials, fruit or shrubs in there, you have the same issue I do with my trial beds which contain huge amounts of peat moss so the new roots develop quickly. This spring will see me start digging up the plants right out of the ground and adding new top soil to raise the level of the garden. There is no way to raise the level of the garden when you have permanent plants in there except by digging out the plants, raising the beds and then replanting. Welcome to my world.
Note you will always have shrinkage if you add organic matter to the top soil - that’s what it does.
Second note - if you're looking for an easy way to dig and replace this material.... let me know when you find one. The only one I've found is hiring somebody else to do it. ;-)Crops & crop rotation
. Ah, there are no rules of gardening with vegetable crops that are different than ground-level gardening. Yes, you still need to crop rotate no matter who used the garden last year. No, you can’t grow the same plants year after year just because it’s a raised bed. Yes, you can grow anything in a raised bed you can grow in ground-level gardening. Yes, you need to feed your plants if you want them to give you a great crop.
****Mulching raised beds
- you can but you won’t get any winter protection from it because of the exposed sides. It will make the garden look better and the mulch will degrade to add organic matter to the soil plus act as a weed deterrent.
I did in the picture for the appearances and weed control purposes.