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How to Amend Raised Beds

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How to Amend Raised Beds

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Overview

Planting in raised beds is an ideal method to implement in your own home garden. Building the garden beds up with amended soil allows you to control the height and width of your growing area. Issues of flooding, root compaction and foot-traffic disturbance are avoided because of the mounded growing surfaces and lower working foot paths along the raised growing rows. One important factor with raised beds is the replenishment of nutrients to the raised soil. Plants feed and remove these elements during the growing season and they must be amended before the next season's garden installment.

Step 1

Loosen existing raised bed soil. With a garden fork or shovel and hoe rake, dig into the garden soil, lifting and turning it over as you work your way across the bed. Work the soil back and forth and down to the base of your raised garden.

Step 2

Take a soil sample to your local cooperative or agricultural extension office for a test to see what ingredients your home soil may be lacking. If this is not possible, procure such organic matter as composted cow manure, zoo doo, humus, sphagnum peat moss or home compost and shredded organic leaves. A combination of any of these elements will replace the nutrients depleted through the feeding and growing of previous crops.

Step 3

Blend and turn this new amendment mixture in with your existing soil. Continue across the entire bed and down to its base to ensure a thorough revitalized mix throughout the growing area. Smooth and mound the growing rows if in an un-walled garden. In walled gardens, smooth the surface to an even level throughout. Consider introducing earthworms to your newly amended garden plot. They consume and digest the organic matter and assist in creating friable, rich soil with their "castes" and movement throughout the soil.

Things You'll Need

  • Organic matter
  • Shovel
  • Hoe rake
  • Garden fork

References

  • Kansas State University: Raised Beds
  • The Vegetable Gardener's Bible: Edward C. Smith;2009
Keywords: raised garden ammendment, ammend garden soil, replace soil nutrients

About this Author

Sheri Lacker has more than 30 years' experience as a writer, photographer and multimedia artist. Her work has been used by Warner Brothers, Barbour/Langley and Casey Kasem Presents, among others. Her awards include the Theatre Excellence Scholarship and Guest-Artist-in-Res. Lacker studied journalism, Web design and historical research at the University of Memphis.

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