Monthly Archives: April 2015

Raised Bed Gardening Q & A

evan_cucs_3013

Too. Many. Cucumbers.

raisedbed_2013

Edible landscaping at our house last year.

Raised bed gardening has exploded in popularity. Maybe it is the clay soil so many of us have here in Kentucky! If you are looking for less weeds & pests, better soil, higher yields or simpler maintenance, raised beds are a great choice. Many of us have made the switch to raised beds over several years, but we are warning you: they are addictive! It is hard to go back to traditional tilled gardens.

How Much Soil Do I Need?

1 Cu Ft of soil = 6.5 Gallons

Use this formula to determine Cubic Feet:
L x W x H = Cubic Feet Example: an 8’ x 4’ x 6 “ (0.5’) raised bed = 16 Cu Ft

16 Cu Ft x 6.5 (gal) = 104 Gallons of Soil is needed to fill your bed

What Amendments Are Best?

We recommend a blend of 1/3 peat, 1/3 vermiculite, and 1/3 compost. This is a premium mix that is tried and true by ourselves, and 1000’s of our customers over the years. We suggest using 3 to 5 varieties of compost, such as composted cow manure, mushroom compost, and worm castings.

What can I plant in a raised bed?

You can easily grow herbs, flowers, vegetables, asparagus, berries, shrubs. We grow most veggies in beds with corn and beans in a standard garden plot.

What sort of materials should I use?

Cedar wood is durable and long-lasting. Untreated wood needs more frequent replacement, but is less expensive to start with. Composite is durable and OK for certified organic gardens. Bricks, blocks and stones are great and can make attractive raised beds for landscaping (think edible landscaping.)

How high should the raised bed be?

We suggest 6” – 12” for most garden plants; larger plants often need higher beds. We also suggest biodegradable weed barrier to prevent weeds.

Most raised beds will be 3’ x 6’ or 4’ x 8′, with a wide enough path between for your wheelbarrow and garden tools.

TIP

As awesome as the below recipe is, your garden will still need additional nutrients through the season. We suggest Smart Tea, our own mix of fish emulsion, kelp, molasses; mycorrhizae for enhanced root growth; with BT for natural pest protection.

Help! Do you have a ready to use raised 700_4-foot-cedar-raised-bedbed recipe?

You know we do! Here you go, an optimized    4′ x 8′ plan:

1 bale organic peat; a 4 cu ft vermiculite;         2 bags of mushroom compost (13 gal each),    2 bags composted cow manure (13 gal each), and a 6.5 gal worm castings. This will come to 108.5 gallons of rich, well draining, growing medium. As always, we are here to answer your questions and cheer you on. Give us a call if you need some help as you work on your project: 502.261.0005.

Tomato Review: 4th of July

Today we are getting our first delivery of tomatoes and peppers from our friend Connie, Louisville’s Garden Geek. Maybe you have seen her at the J’town Farmer’s Market, where she brings in loyal, return gardeners year after year. Connie is a long-time New Earth customer, and we have been a fan of Connie and her amazing, organically-grown seedlings for many years. This year, we will have many of her unique varieties here for you to enjoy.

Connie is a big fan of the 4th of July tomato cultivar for early production. Time for a shameless plug here:  If you grow tomatoes all winter, indoors, you won’t be nearly so anxious for those first tomatoes!!  But if you are anxiously awaiting your first outdoor-grown tomato, pick up a 4th of July tomato plant for your garden.

4th of July is an indeterminate, 49 days to maturity plant that puts out plentiful, 2 – 4 ounce fruits. 4th of July is a hybrid, which means any seeds you save will be inferior and not true to variety. We do NOT suggest saving hybrid seeds.

We have heard varying reviews on flavor, and as you know, flavor is determined by the plant’s nutrition and environmental conditions as well as plant variety. We expect this to be a pretty tasty, slightly acidic, early bite of summer. We plan on trying one or two of these in our home garden and will keep you posted!