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21. Creating Raised Garden Treasures
Raised gardens are a wonderful alternative for gardening for people with disabilities or bad backs that have difficulty with stooping. They are also perfect for apartment residents who don’t have room for a normal garden and for people that live where the soil quality is poor, such as clay or rocky.
A raised garden can be whatever size you choose and can be purchased as a kit at your local home improvement store or you can buy the lumber separately to customize your own design. Generally, these measure three feet across allowing you to reach to the other side without having to go all the way around. You choose how long you want the garden to measure depending on what you plan to garden, but most measure 12 feet in length.
Once built, you will want to place a small layer of gravel on the bottom to help provide good drainage. Then, create a mixture of good quality top soil and compost. Place this mixture into the garden on top of the gravel, until it is about two inches from the top of the rim. If you want, you can add in a small amount of fine sand, which also helps add minerals and holds in the appropriate amount of moisture.
Since this garden is more controlled, the amount of weeds will be minimal to start with but just as with any garden, you need to mulch, which will help keep any annoying weeds down. This type of garden has fewer problems with pests as well.
The raised garden can be used to grow plants, flowers, vegetables, fruits, and herbs. Your raised garden should be placed in a sunny location and should have an east-west orientation for the best growing.
You can place portable covers on your raised garden for the winter months, which will turn it into a miniature greenhouse. These covers help hold heat in while keeping animals and birds out.
You can also add in small garden décor items or a small trellis for climbing plants such as green beans or tomatoes. One or two small marigolds planted at each corner is another way to keep the bugs away and to add splotches of beautiful color.
Walled raised beds are permanent and provide a nice visual effect. They too are inexpensive and will give you years and years of gardening enjoyment.
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