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Building Raised Garden Beds At The PPHCSD Gardening 101 Class

PHOTO: Michelle Hannon - NewsPlus

RAISED BEDS ARE FOR PLANTS NOT HUMANS: Raised beds can take on many forms, but this is the most common. A group of volunteers help prepare the raised beds for a spring planting at the Community Teaching Garden at the Phelan Community Park.

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The Community Teaching Garden is offering a free class on Saturday, March 13th at 10am.  The topic of this month’s class is building raised garden beds, garden bed preparation, and how to create soil, primarily with vegetables in mind.  

Building raised garden beds have many benefits.  Gardening in a smaller, more compact area makes the project manageable because the bed box is on average about 3 feet wide, 10 feet long, and at a depth of about 10 inches.   The raised bed is placed in an open, sunny area so one could walk around the bed and work on the bed from the outside without stepping in it. This keeps the soil from becoming compacted because roots need air and loose soil. Raised beds make watering more localized and efficient, keeping the water contained within the raised bed. Weed control is manageable because if one pops up, you pull it out before too many come up!  The soil nutrient is more controllable in a raised bed because fertilizing is easy.  After it’s built, you can enclose it with nets to keep out rabbits and squirrels. 

When preparing to use a bed from a previous season, rotate your crop, don’t plant the same plant as last time.  Water each bed deeply for two weeks, then rototill it down about 8 inches deep.  Aged manure or compost is added at a ratio of 25%. 

When starting a new bed, use 50% weed-free fill dirt, 25% shredded coco or peat moss or vermiculite, and 25% aged manure or compost. 

 In February’s the class topic was starting vegetable seedlings and designing a garden. 

 Remember when starting seedlings, seeds need loss soil, the right moisture (moist, not wet), heat 69-86 degrees, sunlight or garden light, and air. 

When designing a place for your garden, you need a local water source, a workable area, at least 8 hours of the sun shining on the spot, wind block such as trees or buildings, critter control fencing, and or netting. 

Happy gardening!!!!! 

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