Rulfs Orchard Logo for Website Peru Bakery Apple Orchard Farmers Market Store
Since 1952
Rulfs Orchard Logo for Website Peru Bakery Apple Orchard Farmers Market Store
Since 1952

Starting a Raised Bed Garden

Raised bed gardening is a fun and rewarding way to grow your own veggies at home! If you are thinking about starting a raised bed garden this year, we have some helpful information for you, plus topsoil and all the veggie starters and herbs you could want in our new Veggie House greenhouse.

Raised bed vegetable gardens have several benefits, including:

  • Less bending and kneeling to garden
  • Chance for fewer weeds
  • Fewer soil issues and more control over soil
  • Longer growing season

The location you choose is the first decision for you to make and is an important one! Choose a spot which gets a lot of sun for your raised bed. The area you pick should have at least 6-8 hours of sun per day. When thinking about the size of your bed, we recommend 4 feet wide as a good size to start, as it will be large enough to plant, but still compact enough that you will not need to stand on the soil to reach all areas. Length is not as important as width; a lot of gardeners like 4ft x 8ft beds, but just choose what suits your space best.

When choosing the material for the frame, consider 2x4 local lumber. Cedar is a lot more rot resistant over time than other woods, but is a more expensive option.

Place wooden stakes inside every corner (and every few feet if your beds are long). Drive the stakes into the ground about 2 feet/60% of their length, leaving the rest above the ground. Have your lowest boards a couple of inches below ground level, and use galvanized nails or screws to fix the boards to the stakes. Add additional rows of boards to suit. The depth of the bed can vary and depend on your personal preference, but bear in mind that most garden plants need 6-12 for their roots.

Break up and loosen the soil underneath so that it is not compacted. Some gardeners like to lay cardboard and paper (non glossy, no tape) down in the bottom of the bed to help with the prevention of weeds and unwanted plants from the soil below. The earthworms will also enjoy it!

Fill your beds with a mix of topsoil, compost and other organic material like manure to give your plants a nutrient-rich environment to start their growing journey. We recommend Rulfs Garden Mix which is a plant-happy combo of dirt, compost and manure (NO chemicals) made right here at Rulfs! It's available for pick up or delivery, $38 per yard. Call (518) 643-8636 for the cost for delivery to you.

To calculate how much soil you need, take the width, length and depth (from the bottom to about 2 inches from the top) of your bed. Calculate the volume by width x length x depth. So, if you have a length of 8 feet, a width of 4 feet and a depth of 2 feet, the volume is 64 cubic feet (8 x 4 x 2 = 64). This is the amount of soil you need to fill your raised bed. This is equivalent to 32 bags of soil sold in 2 cubic feet amounts.

Note: Soil in a raised bed will dry out quicker than in-ground beds! Counteract this by adding straw, hay, or mulch after planting to retain that moisture and be ready to water your plants frequently during the summer!

When you are ready to get planting, come check out our Veggie House greenhouse* or place an order through our webstore (link below) if you know which herbs and vegetables you want to grow**.

We are also running a Veggie Bootcamp blog series, giving tips and advice on growing our veggie starters. Find those links below, too! We hope you have fun with gardening this season. Let us know how you are doing and what you are growing, on our Facebook page!

*We ask that visitors follow social distancing guidelines and wear masks at this time, for the safety of themselves and others.

**Webstore plant orders require 48 hours notice before pick-up.

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