Saturday, 23 October 2010

Why Use Raised Beds with Video and Pictures

Garden raised bed full of brassicas

Raised beds are elevated structures usually made of wood, rock walls, stone, or even short lengths of logs in which the gardener can effectively provide a plant’s basic requirement. This idea of planting above the level of the ground has existed for centuries but seems to be getting more and more popular. Nine of the thirteen advantages to using these elevated designs are as follows:
  1. In raised beds (whether for vegetables, herbs, succulents, or flowers), you can more efficiently amend the soil in such a way that a certain plant’s requirements are fully satisfied. For example, if a given plant requires an acidic soil, you can make sure your soil is acidic by first testing your soil’s pH and then, if needed, lowering your pH by adding sulfur. (Always check the directions first).

Videos on Raised Beds

Here is Video showing the some different types of raised beds, quite informative and interesting

2. Even if you get cool, wet springs, the soil in raised beds will warm up at least two weeks faster than the soil in a regular garden. This early start gives the gardener the advantage of being able to begin working and amending the soil and planting that much earlier.

3. If you’ve experienced the resulting flooding and even lingering water in your garden after a heavy rain, you’ll appreciate the fact that when the soil is raised above the ground, drainage is possible. Therefore, unless the soil around the bed is flooded quite high, no matter how much rain you get, your plants in the raised beds will not get bogged down in puddles of water.

4. Because your plants are set up in containers which are not easily destroyed, it does not matter if the structure gets bumped by children’s toys or garden furniture. Your plants will not be affected.

5. One main factor is that you can organize your garden beds in whatever order you wish. You can create an orderly interesting panorama which will keep changing as the different vegetables and flowers in the raised beds go through various growth and color from month to month. Thus you can create interest and variety in spring, summer, fall, and even winter.

7. Your beds can be built any height or size. For the person in a wheel chair or a person who cannot bend for one reason or another, such as one with a knee or hip replacement, a a raised garden bed is the answer.

8. This one is a winner especially if you have problems with small animals! To stop gophers from tunneling up to your precious plants, you can encase the bottom of your container with close-meshed galvanized screenings before you add your soil. If you have squirrels, you can protect your bulbs by laying a layer of chicken wire across the top of your container as soon as you plant your bulbs. The wire can remain there forever. You needn’t worry! The growing plant will find its way through the wire. You can protect your berries from birds by using a nylon or wire netting. In other words, the wooden structure allows you to use whatever is necessary to enclose your plants to save them from “unwanted varmints”.

9. It is important to have air circulating in your soil. I remember my grandmother always making sure that the soil around her plants were loosened up “to allow air flow”. When you use raised garden beds, there is no need to walk on the soil or to use equipment. The result is that your soil will not get compacted; thus both air and water will more reach the roots more easily.

Regardless of shape and size, when raised beds are filled with nutrient-filled soil, the results are the same – lush plants and/or delicious, nutrition-filled vegetables.

Bio: A gardener since the 1970s , Marcie has learned the value of growing your own vegetables organically. - Download her new Free ebook "The Complete Guide to Organic Vegetable Gardening" or discover the other reasons why using raised beds is a good idea

Interesting links on raised beds

5 Reasons to Start a Raised Bed Garden Today!
"As concern grows over the safety of the food supply chain in America, more people are beginning to look at growing their own food. As follows are 5 reasons you should start a raised bed garden today!"
Raised elevated garden beds Fawcett: Raised beds
"RAISE the revolution ... elevated beds have changed gardening as we know it. And it's mostly for the better y!"
Winter Raised Beds - Secret Garden Blog Using raised beds in winter to make compost from MySecretGarden
Here is a simple practical idea to make use of raised beds in the winter to create compost.

Additional Notes

Disadvantage of the raised bed with watering

The main problem and disadvantage with a raised bed is they use a lot of water because they can be so free draining. 

The plants when planted in normal ground can at least search for ground water nearby but in a raised may not find water so easy because they are elevated above the ground.

If you use raised beds you need to make sure they are regularly watered so they don't dry out.

Environmentally there have been mumblings that raised beds use much more water than if plants were just planted in the ground and therefore are using up a scarce resource.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Taking care of the Lawn before winter

The classic lawn is a common sight in the typical British garden and many a casual gardener longs for a lush green area of grass even if their other gardening ambitions may be more limited. So here’s some good news for those who may not rate their own lawn care skills: if some basic maintenance tasks are carried out before winter arrives, a healthy, attractive lawn will be easily achieved in the following year.

Autumn is one of the busiest and most important times for looking after your lawn. With weather during autumn being quite variable and the nights drawing in quickly, the opportunities for some productive lawn care may be limited, especially for the weekend gardener, so keep a close eye on the weather forecast and use every opportunity as it arises.

Those who class themselves as lawn experts will be working through a busy schedule of maintenance tasks in the run up to winter. If you want to see professional evidence of this just take an autumn walk around your local golf course and watch the green keepers hard at work.

For the home gardener autumn lawn care tasks include continuing to mow as dry weather allows and removing thatch and moss by raking and scarifying. Spiking with a fork will aid aeration, while a more thorough job can be done by hollow tining. Bear in mind that this can be a very physical job if done manually on a large lawn, so consider hiring a machine to help. Once removed, the tine cores are swept up and a top dressing applied.

The benefits of applying a top dressing are twofold. First the lawn soil can be improved by application of the correct dressing and also any lumps and hollows can be levelled out. Again professional green keepers will take this task seriously and may carry it out every year, but the for the amateur lawn enthusiast applying an autumn top dressing once every few years is probably sufficient. 

Top dressing materials contain a mixture of sand and sandy loam and are applied to a spiked or tined lawn using a brush, rake, lute or drag mat. Care should be taken to keep the top dressing dry before spreading and not to apply too much.

Early autumn is also a good time to sow a new lawn as mild, damp weather will help the new seeds get off to a great start. Wait until the really warm weather of August is over then get to work preparing the soil. Make sure your levels are correct, weeds are removed and the soil quality is high by adding extra nutrients.

You’ll need to work quickly and sow the grass seed before any heavy rains arrive and stop you getting onto the lawn area. The benefits of sowing a new lawn in autumn rather than spring are that natural rainfall is more likely and there’ll be less chance of people wanting to use the lawn before it is properly established. Also weeds will not establish themselves so quickly.

Other autumn lawn care tasks include the removal of fallen leaves as often as is practical and the application of an autumn feed product. Select one with a moss killer if your lawn requires it. Autumn is also the perfect time to repair any areas of lawn that may have been damaged or become worn out during the summer. In the family garden, favourite football areas or patches of lawn under children’s play equipment often suffer and need more attention.

Once all your hard work is done and your autumn lawn care schedule is complete you’ll be able to sit back satisfied and await the following spring and the return of a thriving, healthy lawn for everyone to enjoy.

About the Author : Marc Bartley is a writer covering home, garden and household issues. More information about carrying out autumn lawn care can be found by visiting the Love The Garden website.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Wildflower Seeds for Bees

  • Collection of seeds for wild flowers
  • Renowned for attracting bees
  • Create your own wildflower garden
  • Seeds specially selected by Thompson & Morgan
  • Blend of hardy annuals

Monday, 11 October 2010

Pruning bamboo in your garden with video

Black Bamboo
Pruning Bamboo
October is the time to prune bamboo plants as they can be quite invasive if not kept in check. This can be done by using a sharp border spade and digging out any encroaching bamboo shoots as they appear. I do this anyway on a regular basis and it seems to work quite well. Of course any bamboo canes cut down are very useful in the garden for supporting other plants when needed. The bamboo shown above is a black bamboo which grows very tall, up to 15-20ft and is very elegant, but it should be kept under control before it takes over a garden.

Below is a very useful video on pruning and cleaning up a bamboo plant

Saturday, 9 October 2010

All Weather Garden Gloves

Laura Ashley All Weather Garden Gloves Erin (medium)
  • All weather glove
  • Waterproof
  • Thorn resistant
  • Spandex with coordinating latex coating
  • Velcro cuff