In modern gardening, it is common to use several types of beds. The purpose of arranging them, on the one hand, is to create optimal conditions for plants, and thus to get the maximum benefit from them.
And on the other hand – to reduce the workload and facilitate the work of the gardener. When growing vegetables and greens, the appropriate type of bed is crucial.
Properly approaching its selection and arrangement has the potential to save soil moisture, increase soil temperature or, on the contrary, prevent it from overheating in summer. With properly arranged beds, even weeds are easier to deal with.
What kind of seedbed to choose for your plot? Our article will help you to make a decision.
TALL AND MOIST SEEDBEDS
Compared to standard beds (which are at the same level as the vegetable garden), high-volume beds are raised relative to the soil level. This allows them to warm up more quickly. Therefore, raised beds are effective in cooler areas, especially for growing heat-loving crops.
It is good to build such beds in areas where the water table is high, in low-lying and flood-prone areas. Any raised bed above soil level is very suitable for growing crops that are susceptible to disease or root rot – cucumbers, onions, garlic.
The easiest way to arrange a raised bed is a bunk bed. It can be made by using imported soil. To do this, simply mark out the bed with stakes and pour in the soil.
If the soil is dense and heavy, then first you need to arrange a drainage layer – putting in thick branches, rough stems, and stumps. Then water the fertile soil. This method of arrangement requires access to the material cost of the soil.
The second way is more affordable but more time-consuming. In order to arrange the beds, you need to lift some soil from the path to the beds. This will make the bed higher.
If the soil is heavy, it is necessary to make a drainage layer. If possible, you can put compost, turf turned sod, fallen leaves, and plant residues in the bottom of the bed. This way you can partially solve the problem of lack of soil.
Advantages of Seedbeds
Tall beds have many advantages over traditional beds:
- They warm up faster in the spring, which means that planting on such beds can start earlier.
- The soil temperature is higher during this season, so more heat-loving crops can be planted in the big summer.
- These beds are versatile because they are equipped quickly enough that they can grow any crop. Perhaps only moisture-loving cabbages, which do not develop well in hot conditions, would feel uncomfortable in raised beds.
- In low-lying areas, in conditions of frequent water damage, these beds will be ideal for growing plants. The principle-based on raised beds lays a so-called “mat” for growing fruit trees in conditions of the high water table.
- Raised beds allow you to grow vegetables in low fertility areas, but for this, you have to spend money on the soil.
Disadvantages of Seedbeds
Raised beds have their own drawbacks in addition to their advantages. In some cases, they are so important that it is better to abandon the idea at the planning stage.
The biggest problem in arranging seedbeds is where to obtain the soil for them. Imported soil is expensive; if we use soil from the path, then the seedbed will not be very high.
Another disadvantage of this seedbed is – in hot summer weather it overheats the soil and dries it out. To avoid this – do not make a very high bed.
Its optimal height is 8-12inch (20-30 cm). To solve the problem of overheating and drying the soil, you can use mulch. Where to get the mulch is a separate issue.
In raised beds without borders, water rolls down when it rains or is watered and the soil is eroded.
HIGH BED BOXES
Many of these drawbacks have been eliminated from an improved version of the high bed: the box bed. This is a tall bed with material around it.
The process of making a seedbed-pebble is fairly simple, mainly – stocking the necessary materials. (In the marked bed under the bed collection boxes with a height of 15 to 70 cm). To make a box, you can use wood, logs, slabs of stone, bricks.
At the bottom of the box is placed a fine mesh to prevent mice. Then a layer of organic matter: twigs, leaves, leaves, humus. And on top of it pour a layer of fertile soil – the bed is ready.
Advantages of a high bed box
Beds are better heated by the sun in the spring. This means that the seeding season can start earlier. In addition, it is easier to fix arcs in them and to put on mulching material.
Moisture is retained better in beds arranged with materials that don’t get as hot in the sun (wood, brick, slate), which means you can water less often.
Bed “borders” protect the soil from erosion. The bed fence clearly limits it so that perennial weeds cannot get into the bed.
Rural raised seedbeds are very easy to work with: planting, weeding, and less bending than traditional seedbeds. There is no need to dig over, just loosen the soil.
Such beds, if they are of quality, beautiful and neat, so they are used to create the so-called “beautiful garden beds”.
You can make a warm bed out of a box bed for growing very early greens or sprouts. To do this, the soil is removed from the box and the organic material is stacked in layers.
Disadvantages of high bed boxes
The most important problem that stops gardeners – the need to buy materials for arranging flower beds. and the lack of opportunity and skills to build the foundation of the building.
One should always consider that seedbeds can overheat in hot weather. The way out – covering the soil and the right choice of materials. According to feedback from experienced gardeners, plants feel best in beds arranged with wood.
In raised beds, the soil freezes badly in winter, so they are better suited for annuals. You should mulch it in the winter, and if possible, cover it with snow. Even if there are no plants in it, the beneficial microorganisms in the soil may die.
A warm bed differs from a conventional bed in that it is made of organic materials that generate a lot of heat during decomposition. Therefore, warm beds are mainly suitable for areas with cold climates and in late spring and early summer.
In the central region, these beds are ideal for growing heat-loving crops, early vegetables, and even sprouts.
In addition to heat, as a result of biochemical processes, the plants produce nutrients that can be used to grow plants that need fertility: cucumbers, zucchini, squash, tomatoes, peppers. Such beds are particularly suitable for growing capricious eggplants.
The basic principle of creating a warm bed is that different types of organic materials are placed in layers. The lowest layer serves as a drainage layer.
This layer provides air passage and drainage of excess water, so stumps, thick branches, thick plant stems are laid down. The higher it is, the less coarse the placement of organic matter.
The second layer is usually plant and food waste, weed vegetation, sawdust, and wood chips. The next layer is compost, humus, and animal manure – biofuels that will become a source of heat as they decompose. Then comes a layer of fertile soil. Each layer is sprinkled with water and compacted.
In the case of large summer beds prepared in autumn, it is better to cover them with a film, mulching material to avoid the entry of weed seeds.
In order for the biochemical process to proceed properly, the following rules must be observed:
- Not to lay down plant residues that show signs of disease.
- For proper air exchange, the drainage layer must be mandatory.
- The bed must be kept moist (but not wet).
Warm beds can be arranged both in spring and in autumn. It is more practical to do it in autumn: when the main work is done, you can not rush it. A large amount of plant residue is needed, in large quantities. By spring, such beds will already be ready for use.
There are several variants of warm beds. Depending on the nuances of the arrangement, they can be deepened, raised, or combined.
EMBEDDED WARM BED
It is necessary to dig a trench under the sunken bed and then fill it with organic material in layers. Thus, the finished bed will be at the same level as the soil layer.
The use of such beds is characterized by the fact that – compared to raised beds – it is necessary to reduce the frequency of watering. However, it cannot be arranged in a place where there may be standing water.
RAISED WARM BEDS
There is no need to dig trenches under the raised bed, which is laid on the surface of the earth. This type of bed is the best choice for cold and wet areas, where there is a risk of water accumulation.
The flower bed is a variation of the borderless raised bed. This type of bed is very quick and easy to arrange.
COMBINATION RAISED BEDS
They are made in trenches, the upper part of which is above the ground. The trench dug under such beds should be 2 times shallower than the deepened one.
Care of warm beds includes timely watering, loosening of soil, and weeding. In dry summer months, it is advisable to cover the raised beds with mulch in order to keep them from drying out.
Advantages of Combination Raised Beds
- The gardening season for warm beds can start earlier than usual. And at the same time, the cultivation time of plants can be extended by 2-3 weeks.
- Since you can plant early green plants or seedlings before planting the main crop, you can use the beds wisely. All you need to do is to place cover crops on the beds. The result will be a small greenhouse.
- There is no need to dig on the soil, which is always loose due to a large amount of organic matter.
- In such a bed, optimal conditions are created for heat-loving plants and, therefore, their production will increase.
- In essence, a heated bed is compost, which contains the nutrients needed by the plants. Therefore, fertilization can be kept to a minimum.
- In poor, fertile soils, you can create flower beds with good quality soil.
- This bed arrangement allows for efficient use of plant residues without making compost, and also allows for the disposal of animal manure.
Disadvantages of Combination Raised Beds
- Arranging a warm bed in the countryside requires considerable effort and more material costs if it is made with a border.
- The bed is not durable in use. The effect of a warm bed disappears within five years because the decay process of organic matter ends. In this case, it will be possible to make the bed in a new place. In the case of box fixed beds, you can take out the soil from them for another place and rebuild the bed in the same conditions.
- In a warm bed very much like to place the mouse, so before arranging the bed, be sure to put small compartments in the grid and cover her future bed base.
RAISED BED WITH EXTRA DEPTH
Such a bed is also known as a low or alcove. The name is self-explanatory. The main function of “low level” seedbeds is to keep the soil from overheating and to retain moisture.
They are therefore suitable for areas with hot climates where droughts often occur, especially in areas with sandy or marginal soils, which often dry out. Making such beds requires physical strength, so they are usually prepared from autumn when the heat subsides.
The choice of location should be approached responsibly, as natural disasters can occur periodically even in the driest areas. Therefore, beds should not be arranged in low-lying areas of the plot, where there is sometimes an excess of water.
In order to carry out the arrangement, it is necessary to dig a trench of the required length on the selected plot. The width of such a bed will depend on whether there will be a wall for the bed. If there will be walls, you need to add the thickness of the material to the width of the desired bed.
Bricks, stones, cinder blocks, and boards can be used as fencing materials.
Next, arrange the beds according to the characteristics of the soil:
- To avoid waterlogging, it is better to dig a trench with at least 2 shovel bayonets on the thick soil. Next, a good drainage layer will need to be arranged. For this purpose, construction debris, tree stumps, coarse branches, and other similar materials will do.
- This is also true on poor soil – the deeper the soil layer, the better. In a deep bed, it will be possible to make a sufficient layer of fertile soil in which plants will develop comfortably.
- On sandy soils, in addition to sufficient depth, it is advisable to make a small clay layer or lay mulching material at the bottom of the furrow. Such a technique will help avoid problems with rapid leaching of nutrients and water runoff during irrigation.
- The final layer of the bed should be backfilled with fertile soil, depending on the soil type. If the soil is heavy, sand and compost should be added. If poor and barren – compost, humus.
- After watering the bed should be left for a while to allow the soil to settle and then it is ready for use.
Care of such seedbeds includes timely watering and removal of grass from between the rows.
As the beds are used, the soil in them may settle significantly. Then it will need to be added more. In very dry and hot times, the beds need to be mulched in order to maximize moisture retention and avoid overheating of the plants.
Advantages of Raised Beds
On the one hand, this bed arrangement helps to create optimal conditions for plant growth in hot and dry areas. On the other hand, by reducing irrigation, the gardener’s work is facilitated.
In more comfortable conditions, plants can have higher yields, the number of plants can be reduced without harming yields, and labor is reduced.
The arrangement of deeper beds makes it possible to create conditions for cultivating plants on very poor, barren soils. Of course, this requires a lot of physical labor, but on almost barren soils, this effort is commensurate with the final result.
Disadvantages of Raised Beds
- labor-intensive arrangement, in the variant with borders, it is necessary to purchase materials.
- If the bed is not level, then water will accumulate in the lowest places, so the bed should be carefully leveled before planting or seeding.
- If the trench is not deep enough on thick soil, watering will be waterlogged, so it is necessary to dig a deep trench and be sure to make a drainage layer.
As you can see, the various options for arranging seedbeds on dacha can vary greatly in terms of the principle of the equipment, the crops recommended for such seedbeds, and the area in which they are used.
Therefore, if someone says that a raised or concave bed is “super”, then don’t rush to push down boxes or dig. Be sure to analyze the characteristics of your plot and soil to find your best option to facilitate your work in the vegetable garden and achieve the highest yields.