Growing plants in North Carolina can be a problem for gardeners. The state has three distinct regions with very different soil types. The Appalachian Mountains to the west have a very rocky soil, which falls off into the clay-like piedmont soil in the middle part of the state. Along the coast, gardeners must contend with the sandy soil of the outer banks. One solution to ensure healthy growing conditions for plants is to place them in raised beds.
Stake out your raised bed by pounding stakes into the ground at the corners of the bed or at pivot points on curved beds. Tie string between the stakes to mark the boundaries of the bed. Use a ruler and T-square to insure that your sides are the right lengths and the corners are squared perfectly.
Remove woody vegetation from the interior of your raised bed location with branch loppers. Dig out the roots of the vegetation with a shovel. Dig a 2-inch deep trench around the perimeter of the raised bed for your first layer of landscape timbers. Use a carpenter's level to ensure that the timbers will lay on a level foundation.
Drill 3/4-inch holes through the center of each landscape timber at both ends with a drill. Lay the first layer of timbers into the trench that you've dug for your raised bed. Secure the timbers into the ground by driving 3/4-inch rebar stakes through the holes drilled in the timbers and into the ground.
Place a second and third row of landscape timbers over your first row of timbers. Stagger the abutting corners of your timbers in much the same way that the corners of a brick home are staggered for a more secure raised bed. Tie each layer of timbers to the next by driving spikes through one layer and into the next layer.
Mix two parts topsoil, one part compost and one part peat moss. Place the soil inside your raised bed.
Plant nursery plants into the soil by digging a planting pocket barely larger than the plant's rootball. Place the plant's roots inside the planting pocket and cover with soil. Seeds should be planted in furrows that are twice as deep as the seed's diameter.
Check the soil daily and water whenever it becomes dry. Raised beds dry out more quickly than soil in the ground. Soil should remain as damp as a wrung-out sponge. Install weed barrier and mulches around plants to protect them from weeds.
Apply a balanced (10-10-10) fertilizer to plants at a rate of 1 to 2 pounds per 100 square feet to feed your plants.