Growing your own produce is a great way to save money on your grocery bills and enjoy the benefits of freshly grown and nutrient-rich food. Raised garden beds are a popular choice for many Americans and are an effective way to grow produce with easy access to weed, plant, and harvest your crops.
Once you have your garden beds constructed, it's important to fill them with the right materials. Having the right materials will give your plants the best chance of thriving and producing bumper crops for your consumption. Here are four inexpensive and easily obtained materials to create the perfect garden bed environment for your produce.
A successful raised garden bed needs adequate drainage to ensure that your plants don't become waterlogged after watering or during rainy weather. A layer of gravel at the base of your planter is the best way to achieve this. Regular gravel that's available from landscaping or building supply businesses is all you'll need.
Once you've added your layer of gravel, you'll need to add some good quality topsoil to your raised garden bed. Using topsoil will ensure that your plants have the right nutrients and pH balance to grow successfully. Using good quality topsoil from a supplier instead of just dirt from your garden will also help to keep your garden beds weed free for a longer time.
3. Water crystals
Water crystals are small pieces of a man-made polymer that are mixed through the topsoil of garden beds and potted plants. When exposed to liquids, they soak up many times their volume in water which is then slowly released back into the soil over time. Adding water crystals to your raised garden beds will keep your plants well hydrated even in very dry climates or when you're unable to water them every day.
Mulch is a layer of material that's added on top of the topsoil of your garden bed. Mulch acts like insulation for your garden bed, deflecting the heat of the sun and protecting delicate root systems from the cold during the winter. Mulch also helps your garden bed to retain moisture and deters weed growth.
While it's possible to use stones as a mulch layer, organic mulch, such as bark, wood chips, or hay, are the best option. They provide all the benefits of mulch and also help to fertilize your garden beds as they break down and compost.