A-Z Step Guide in Living Soil Pots and Beds

A-Z Step Guide in Living Soil Pots and Beds

Living Soil unlocks the full potential of your soil to deliver maximum growth yields, offering plants free-choice of every nutrient designed by nature through the soil food web.

Many growers use living soil as a means of forgoing bottled nutrients altogether. Listen as Farmer Jesse shares his experience with no-till market gardening using living soil as the medium.

How to Build a Raised Bed

Raised beds are one of the best ways to maximize garden space, improve plant health and reduce soil compaction in an easy DIY project that’s great for both novice gardeners and experts alike. Beginners or experienced growers alike can utilize this space-efficient way of growing more food in less space.

Raised beds offer superior drainage and less flooding and soil erosion than traditional garden plots, plus you have greater control over their composition – which makes growing plants simpler and more enjoyable!

Start by prepping the site of your new bed. If there are many grasses or other weeds present, remove them by hand before covering the site with thick cardboard layers to keep any new growth from coming through – this will also eventually rot into your garden bed over time!

Once the site has been prepared, you can start building your raised garden. Begin by placing two 6-foot boards side-by-side on the ground to form a rectangle using a rafter square to check corner squareness before screwing into place. After that is complete, place four 4-foot boards inside of each 6-foot board using 3-inch exterior screws to secure them securely into place.

Once the two long sides of your bed have been secured, measure the gap between trim pieces on both short ends. This will enable you to cut exactly the right sized trim pieces and eliminate any unnecessary gaps between pieces. Your trim pieces should cover all 2×4 support pieces on short ends completely while covering screws as well if desired; but this step is optional and personal preference.

Add cap boards to the long and short sides of the raised bed as a final step, with enough overlap on corner posts by 1 inch for proper appearance. Gardeners’ Supply carries these naturally insect- and rot-resistant cedar boards which will complete this project nicely.

Raised Bed Basics

Raised beds offer both ease and beauty in gardening. With easy access to soil, limited weed growth, and being easy on both back and knees, raised beds make gardening enjoyable and convenient. Their flexible design can range from basic to elaborate – add wood planks or bricks as borders; for an organic touch you could use natural materials like straw or leaves as an effective barrier against weeds or insects!

Height should be carefully considered when creating a raised bed, or else structural issues could develop later on. An ideal height range for raised beds would be 12-18″, although even 6″ can work depending on what crops you want to grow.

Ideally, if your raised bed will be placed directly over grass, a layer of mulch or hay should be laid down first as this will suffocate any grass that might try to germinate and allow new soil to take its place. Furthermore, hardware cloth or weed barriers may help stop weeds from popping up again later on.

One of the main advantages of raised beds is that you can fill them with an abundance of nutrient-rich soil and compost that will allow your plants to flourish. Furthermore, living soil components like worm castings, kelp or any other organic matter will further bolster its health benefits in your garden.

When using bottomless living soil pots, it’s essential to recreate conditions as closely as possible to its original environment. Fabric containers with their porous non-woven fabric do not promote root zone health as they cause soil to dry out more rapidly than it would in its native habitat.

To protect your harvest from birds and pests, cover your raised bed with floating row cover or bird netting. To do so, create a hoop from 10 feet of 3/8-gauge rebar bent into half circles then slipping both ends through PVC pipe supports in your bed; this hoop will prevent it from blowing away in windy weather conditions.

Raised Bed Materials

Raised beds provide the ideal environment to promote soil and plant health, particularly when combined with high-quality living soil such as compost or organic garden mix. You can build one from any material but wood is often preferred; look for rot-resistant lumber like cedar or cypress to minimize leaching of chemicals into your soil.

Copper Chromated (ACQ) treated wood is especially harmful because of how easily it leaches into soil, where it can damage plant roots and foliage, quickly moving through watersheds and eventually reaching rivers and lakes – thus prompting federal legislation banning its use in gardens.

Repurposed brick, cinder block or concrete blocks can make for cost-effective yet sturdy raised beds. Recycled wood pallets may also work, though only those without any references to “methyl bromide,” an insecticide known for being potentially harmful and wide-spectrum in application should be considered safe choices.

Before beginning construction of your raised bed, ensure that you have an area in which to work that is free from obstructions and wear protective clothing when using tools and building. Also important when working is having a flat surface such as driveway or plywood sheets on sawhorses for use when needed.

If you choose lumber, ensure it is prepared by sanding all surfaces. Stain or paint it to give a smoother, more pleasing surface; if staining, apply two coats of exterior stain or water-based latex paint for best results.

Once your wood is assembled, purchase corner pieces to give your raised beds an aesthetic finish. Available at hardware stores and available in various sizes and styles (some specifically tailored for 4×4 lumber while others for 2-inch thick boards), it’s essential that the corner you purchase fits with the thickness of lumber used to assemble your raised beds.

Raised Bed Design

Establishing the appropriate raised bed size is paramount to its success. You must easily be able to reach all sides, or stepping into it to weed or plant could compact soil and reduce drainage. Four feet is generally considered ideal, although three can suffice depending on your space constraints.

Length is less crucial, although you should try not to create beds longer than 12 inches. Any more and you may have trouble reaching into the center for weeding or planting purposes – which could compromise plant health as well as potentially restrict which crops you can grow (it would likely be easier for you to manage several shorter beds rather than one long bed).

Once you know how large and long you want your garden, clear away its area. Set up a safe workspace such as a driveway or deck; but using plywood on sawhorses works just as well. If building over grass, no need for predigging as the new soil will suffocate and decompose its foundation over time.

Set two 4-foot boards flat on their sides and mark their framing angles (the parts that stick up). Cut other boards to your desired lengths so they fit snuggly into corners of your 4-footers; once assembled, secure all corners using 3-inch exterior screws.

To give your raised beds an attractive finish, corner caps or rims (e.g. nailed flat 2x4s nailed to boards) can add an elegant, finished touch. Corner caps can be found at hardware stores or online, though you could easily make your own out of cedar planks.

Building a raised bed requires materials with the capacity to withstand rot, such as cedar, redwood or pressure-treated pine. Other gardeners prefer using recyclable materials like old railroad ties or upcycled packing pallets in order to save money and create an eco-friendly project. When using treated wood it is important to make sure its chemicals do not contain creosote which could leach into soil and inhibit plant growth.

Blanca Stoker