Raised beds, you could definitely say, are the allotment gardener’s jack-of-all-trades. It is not for nothing that small power plants made of wood or stone have sprouted like mushrooms from the soil of many allotment gardens in recent years. Raised beds literally take private cultivation of fruit, vegetables and herbs to a new level. And the best thing about it: hobby farmers no longer have to worry about planting, weeding and harvesting. If you have some craftsmanship, you can build the raised bed yourself.

You can read here about the advantages of a properly designed and planted raised bed and which vegetables get along best in a small space.

The most beautiful raised bed is useless if it is filled incorrectly. Instead of haphazardly dumping high-quality and, above all, expensive potting soil into the bed, you should fill the raised bed systematically and intelligently. From coarse, rather poor in nutrients (at the bottom) to finer and more nutrient-rich (at the top). It starts with small branches, twigs and leaves, which are covered with some soil. This is followed by a ten centimeter thick layer of non-rotted compost and other shredded material. This is covered with some mature compost soil. Another layer of finished but unsifted compost is followed by around 20 centimeters of mature compost soil before the raised bed is covered with around 15 centimeters of high-quality garden soil.

You can find out how to create compost here.

Tip: The bottom two layers should be well compacted when filling. Otherwise, if it rots, the bed can quickly collapse and the heating effect is lost.

The raised bed – here a variant for herbs of all kinds – is a paradise, especially for heat-loving vegetables. In addition to peppers and tomatoes, this also includes zucchini. In order to make optimal use of the nutrient-rich soil in the freshly created bed, mainly so-called heavy feeders should be placed in the raised bed in the first two years. Lettuce and spinach, which contain fewer nutrients, will still feel at home at lofty heights later on. Tomatoes, cabbage, leeks, cucumbers, zucchini or celery need lots of nutrients and belong in the ground in the first year of raised beds. Basically, there are hardly any plants that are not suitable for raised beds. In addition to the easy-care radishes and carrots, beans, radishes, peas and onions are also popular. Which automatically brings you to the keyword mixed culture. Because in combination with herbs and flowers, the raised bed is a guarantee for healthy plants and therefore a good harvest.

Tip:  Raised beds can and should be planted more densely than other vegetable beds. For example, there is space on the walls for climbing plants, which are protected from pests by their height.

Herbs are also ideal for raised beds. Especially because they are said to keep annoying small animals away from vegetables. Chervil is said to be a red flag for ants, snails, lice and mildew. Basil also protects against dangerous mildew fungi. That’s why the herb maintains a good neighborhood with cucumbers and zucchini. Spinach and lettuce work together to combat flea beetles. If you plant tomatoes between types of cabbage, the cabbage white butterfly gives them a wide berth. Strawberries, which are particularly popular with snails, can be protected by adding some parsley to their side. Because they don’t like the voracious molluscs at all.

Read here how you can successfully combat mildew.

Since a properly filled raised bed functions as a kind of natural heating, classic spring plants such as radishes, lettuce, radishes or rocket feel comfortable in it as early as March and April. Slightly colder nights don’t bother them. Spring onions, leeks and onions like it a little warmer. At the end of April you can safely plant the trio in the raised bed. Be careful with tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and zucchini. They don’t do well in cool air. And because the ice saints often only start causing mischief in mid-May, you should only let the early plants out of the windowsill into the fresh air in the third week of May. If you want to eat cauliflower and broccoli from your own garden, it’s best to wait for the warm summer months.

Raised beds – here a model from “relaxdays” for the terrace or balcony – are not only a guarantee for delicious garden vegetables. They also protect the gardeners’ often heavily stressed backs. Bending over falls flat when planting, caring for and harvesting. For this reason alone it is worth cultivating at least one of them in the garden.

Sources:  plantopedia.de; ndr.de;bauratgeber-deutschland.de; mein-schoener-garten.de

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