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Organic Raised Beds
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Essentially organic raised beds are those who don’t use any sprays or pesticides or chemical additives whatsoever, in other words what we have planted are grown naturally. From time to time we may use organic fertiliser but this has been certified not to contain any harmful ingredients and is deemed fine for use with our vegetables. So much is written and said nowadays about all the harmful sprays used in the growing of our vegetables, that we are not sure if it is even safe to buy any veggies at all. However if we have our own raised bed out back and we sew and tend to it ourselves, then we can allay all those worries and fears.

Preparation: When we have completed the raised bed frame, the next step is to dig and prepare the soil within, infill with a good grade of ordinary topsoil, then add some peat, some composted material like leaves and hedge clippings and some well rotted farmyard manure. I would not add grass cuttings as this tends to contain a lot of nitrogen and as a result is not considered great for gardening purposes. A good time to prepare these beds is the fall/autumn, we leave all the materials to breakdown over winter, ie leave nature do its thing. Come spring the soil is fresh and fertile and we are now ready for planting.

What to plant: When we mention organic, we tend to speak about vegetables mainly. Practically all types of veggies can be planted and grown in these conditions. To categorise every one separately would require a library of detail, however we can source any information which we may require online and this info is also available for purchase over the internet. Your local garden centre will always provide the advice on what is best to plant and sew. I would start with onions, carrots, parsnips, tomatoes, and lettuces. As these are easy to grow, then the following year we could expand more to accommodate other household favourites.

Advantages and maintenance: The greatest advantage we have by using the organic raised bed is that we have healthy wholesome produce, ready for consumption when needed and no worries about the amount of airmiles travelled etc. By using the materials mentioned above allows for moisture to be retained for longer, when our plants become established, we can mulch around them with bark cuttings which will suppress any weeds. When the growing season is over all we need is to add some composted material and more farmyard manure, fork in well and leave over winter to breakdown again. This will ensure that our raised bed will be organic going forward.


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