How to maximize your raised garden bed and get the most for the growing season
Want to get the most benefit from your elevated garden? Growing in an Eco Garden Systems’ Original Garden takes gardening to a whole new level (literally) by helping you grow better and more abundant vegetables. To maximize your raised garden bed and get the most out of this high-performance garden, we offer these growing tips.
Tip #1: Prevent Compaction
All garden soil has the tendency to compact over time, especially in raised garden beds. If the soil is starting to pull away from the edges of the garden bed (and looks like crispy baked brownie edges), or you have trouble growing root crops, you may have a compaction issue. Here’s how to fix it:
- Get the right soil, preferably a combination of garden soil and potting mix made specifically for raised garden beds.
- Introduce compost at the beginning and end of each gardening season (see tip #2 for more information).
- Add perlite or large grain sand to move moisture through the soil. We also recommend adding coconut coir or peat moss to the Eco Garden when you first fill it with soil.
Tip #2: Add Compost
Besides helping with compaction issues, adding compost to your garden leads to healthier and more prolific plants. Do a quick Google search and you will find there are many ways to compost, with the most expensive being to purchase it from a store.
If you can, try making compost yourself. You can buy or make a compost bin and use yard waste and food scraps to create the gold standard of soil. Check out our post on composting and this article for deciding which bin is right for you.
The easiest way to add nutrients at the end of your gardening season is using the lasagna method. It’s completely free, right in your own yard—just add interchanging layers of browns (dried leaves and sticks) and greens (grass clippings). This will break down over winter and increase the health of your soil.
Tip #3: Feed Your Plants
Your veggies need nutrition throughout the growing season. Compost added in the beginning and at the end of the season helps greatly, but you will want to add other nutrients while the plants are growing and producing. This is when the plants are depleting the soil of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, along with other nutrients like calcium and magnesium.
It helps to uncover your soil health with a simple soil test kit purchased from your local garden center. We have found that nitrogen tends to deplete first. If this is the case, try adding a dry, granular fertilizer—do not use liquid fertilizer in an Eco Garden as it causes salt and mineral buildup in the soil. Here’s an easy hack to add more nitrogen to the soil with coffee grounds. You can also try making your own fertilizer tea – we show you how in these videos: Part One and Part Two.
Tip #4: Ensure Proper Drainage
With an Eco Garden you don’t have to worry about this issue! The elevated garden bed is equipped with a reservoir and an overflow valve. To ensure the reservoir doesn’t drown your plants, the valve dispels any extra water from rain, or if you water excessively from the sprinklers on top.
How does proper moisture retention make the Eco Garden different? Water Reservoir + Soil Platform + Air Gap Technology = up to 50% speed to maturity. These three components create more access to oxygen and more moisture retention. The water reservoir holds ~74 gallons and allows you to use 65% less water than traditional gardens. The Air Gap sits between the soil platform (which is perforated) and the water reservoir, creating hyperoxygenation. The taproot (dominant, large root from which smaller roots sprout) from your plants will grow down to the water reservoir, causing less competition for nutrients between plants. Check out the University of Minnesota research on how this creates increased plant production.
As we mentioned, proper soil also helps to ensure drainage and prevent compaction. If you follow our soil advice, an Eco Garden will help to make sure your plants don’t just survive, but thrive!
Here’s to another year of growing healthy vegetables for your family to enjoy together. An Eco Garden is sure to give you the ultimate benefit of gardening—an abundant harvest!
Tell us: Have you experienced issues with excess moisture or poor soil conditions? What did you do to fix it?