Maintenance for the Raised Bed Garden
Although there isnt as much maintenance when you have a raised bed garden, there is a little upkeep that has to be done. Once you have your frames built, a mixture of soil must be put into the frame. If preferred, you can use 25% of the soil from your regular garden; add compost and sand. Remember to be sure to check the Ph. balance of the soil after mixing. Make sure it is within the range that your plant needs.
As a protective measure against small animals, you should raise your bed garden so that they cannot reach it. You can also cover the bottom with chicken wire and cover the tops as well or you can use bird netting to cover the tops if you have a problem with birds getting into your garden.
If weeds are a problem in your raised bed garden, then good mulch added to the soil will get rid of them. You can use black plastic or weed guards if you want to but it wont be necessary as these gardens rarely have weed problems. The ones that do appear are very easy to dispose of.
If a disease contaminates the soil you can just simply discard the soil and start over again. This cannot be done with the usual garden, where you would have a waiting time of about two years to make sure that the contaminant is gone.
It is very easy to keep your raised bed garden moist. Instead of an entire garden to water, you only have to water the area of the raised bed. This will help if you are trying to conserve water. A drip irrigation system can also be used if preferred or soaker hoses as irrigation systems. The soaker hoses are probably the best choice as overhead watering can produce fungus and diseases.
During the summer heat, you need to keep a close eye on the moisture level of your garden. This is because the boards of the frame make the soil much hotter and can dry up the soil faster. In case of this happening, you will need to water more frequently. The extra heat from the boards means that you can plant earlier in the season so this is beneficial.
In order to maintain your raised bed garden, you will need to add organic material to the soil every year before planting in early spring. This will help ensure that your plants will always have adequate nutrition.
Always remember that if your soil becomes contaminated, discard it and start over with fresh soil. Make sure that all of the contaminated soil is removed. To protect the soil during the winter months, cover it with crushed leaves. Besides protection, it will also add organic material to the soil.
Occasionally adding fresh sand or organic material will help with proper drainage. You will need to adjust the soil mixture if it is drying out too fast or retaining too much water.
When you build your raised bed garden frame from untreated wood, you will have to check the wood often since untreated wood rots very quickly.