Best way to set up raised beds for vegetable garden

Asked April 26, 2018, 7:40 PM EDT

I would like your opinion on best way to set up raised beds for my vegetable garde. I am a senior citizen, live in Pikesville, Md. and my back yard get sun all day. I have a bad back, so I want to make the raised beds aprox 18" high so I will not have to bend over so far. I built my garden cage aprox 12' long, 11'.4" wide, and 8' high.; for the last two years I have been using straw bales for my veggies, but I would like to do raised beds this year. Wondering for efficiency how I should arrange the raised beds,(size & locations) and can I used the straw from last year as the bottom base for the raised beds, then use mixture of 50%compost and 25%peat moss, should I use some sand, or something else. I was going to use 2 x 6 for construction. Need recomendations on location of raised beds, and how to ferterlize the soil Planning to plant, tomatoes, cucumbers, zuccini, pole beans, egg plant, mint, basil, peppers, stevia & berries. Note on sketch, the direction of the sun.

Baltimore County Maryland

1 Response

The goal is to have organic matter comprise 25 to 30% of the top 8 inches of soil by volume. Try to locate a business that produces and sells a compost/topsoil mixture--often 70% topsoil; 30% compost. Topsoil is not regulated. Inspect it before you buy and before it is dumped upon delivery. If you purchase topsoil with no added compost plan on adding at least 2 inches of compost. Compost (organic matter) improves the structure of soils that are high in clay or sand, so roots can better grow and take advantage of available water, air, and nutrients. Don’t add sand.

You can remove 2" of topsoil between the beds and add to the raised bed topsoil. Don't build it ON the straw. Move the straw between the beds for the paths.

Generally garden rows run east to west. Taller crops are planted on the north side.

Fresh organic matter loses more than half its volume by the time it is fully decomposed. Continue to add organic matter to the soil yearly. It can be composted yard waste (home-made, purchased from your landfill, or Leafgro), well-rotted farm manure, buried kitchen scraps, or cover crops.

Fertilizer: One your beds are completed, do a soil test. Adjust pH and fertilize according to recommendations. Search 'soil testing' on our website for how to do this and where to send the soil sample.

Also, you should look at the fertilizer recommendations for each vegetable crop you are growing, which is in the profile for each Crop in the Learn > Vegetables section: