Growing Vegetables in Raised Beds in Compost

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Reading some of the books available about vegetable gardening, you might think that you need huge expanses of garden, or an allotment, in order to grow your own vegetables. But that’s just not true. You can grow vegetables in quite a small patch of ground, or even in a container or two. And one thing that makes growing your own much easier is the introduction of ready-made raised beds.

Now, instead of needing a degree in carpentry and huge amounts of wood to make a raised bed, you can put together a ready-made steel kit as an easy project on a sunny afternoon, with minimal tools or skill.

So, you have bought the kit, and assembled your raised bed. Now what? Next, choose your site. Vegetables generally grow best in full sun, so pick a place that will get sun most of mushroom growing kit the day. You also need to decide whether you think vegetables are nice to look at or not, and so whether you put it out of sight of the patio or windows, or whether you have it on display for everyone to admire. Do move your raised bed into position before trying to fill it with soil, as you will otherwise have to empty it again…

Set your raised bed onto reasonably level soil, rather than lawn or patio, if possible. You want the plants roots to be able to reach into the soil below to get moisture and nutrients, as well as drawing on the compost in the raised bed. So mark out the area of soil that will be covered by your raised bed, and dig it over to at least a spades depth to loosen the soil fully. Remove any perennial weeds using a weed killer, though make sure it’s not a residual one, as your vegetables won’t like that.

There are several options for filling your raised bed. You could use topsoil, which is basically good quality garden loam, or soil. Plants generally like it, it doesn’t dry out too quickly, and it’s readily available from compost suppliers, some of whom even supply a vegetable-growing topsoil. However, vegetables are usually annuals, which have to do all their growing and fruiting in one year, so they are pretty hungry plants, and need plenty of nutrients. Placed in a garden or allotment, their roots can spread out and get what they need. But when you first put plants into the raised bed, the roots won’t reach beyond it, so you may want to consider a growing medium with more oomph to give them the best start.

Some good alternatives to topsoil for vegetable growing are mushroom compost and mushroom and manure compost. Mushroom compost is a mixture of composted straw and animal waste which has been used for growing mushrooms. Mushroom and manure compost has a higher proportion of straw and animal waste. You can buy compost in bulk from compost suppliers, but don’t buy more than you will use in a season, as it does go off after a while. Alternatively, you could make up your own mix of compost and topsoil. You can even mix your own garden soil with bought compost to fill the raised bed.

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