Creating a raised vege garden bed
A raised, no-dig vege bed has many advantages. It does away with the need to bend, obviously there’s little or no digging, and the growing medium can be topped up on a regular basis.
So if you want to give it a try, here are some tips.
Start by selecting a site in a sunny position. Build a frame with boards, bricks or whatever you have available. This can vary from about 30 – 50cm deep. The higher the sides, the less bending will be required to maintain the bed but make sure you can reach all parts of the garden from the sides.
Pre-formed, above-ground beds make starting off even easier. Fill the bed with good quality soil from a landscape supplier or use the method that was first pioneered by Australian Esther Deans in her 1970s book Growing Without Digging.
Place a 50-mm thick layer of newspaper (not cardboard or glossy magazine paper) in the bottom of the bed. Overlap the paper so there are no gaps.
Cover with pads of lucerne hay as they come off the bale. Sprinkle on a dusting of organic fertiliser. Cover with 20 cm of loose straw. Scatter some more fertiliser onto this layer. Continue layering in this order until the garden bed is as high as you would like.
Tip a circle of rich compost 10 cm deep and about 45 cm in diameter in places where seeds or seedlings are to be planted. Then plant into this circle.
At this time of year you can sow seeds of dwarf or climbing beans, beetroot, carrot, corn, melon, pumpkin, radish, baby squash and zucchini.
Sow seeds or plant seedlings of cabbage, capsicum, celery, cucumber, eggplant, lettuce, silverbeet and tomatoes.
Feed the plants regularly with a liquid fertiliser such as Yates Nitrosol and make sure they don’t dry out.
Water as required, ideally in the early morning when evaporation is low. Morning watering also allows the leaves to dry quickly, which reduces the risk of fungal infections taking hold.
A layer of organic mulch around the plants will help retain moisture.
Control sap-sucking pests (aphids etc) with Yates Nature’s Way Insect & Mite Spray. Control caterpillars with Nature’s Way Caterpillar Killer or Success.
Yates Tomato & Vegetable Dust is another popular, easy to apply option for taking care of some of the most common insect pests and fungal diseases.
Yates Nature’s Way Fungus Spray is a good choice for controlling the powdery mildew that can be troublesome for some vegies, especially peas and cucumber relatives.
Always check the label to make sure that the product can be used on that crop, and follow instructions carefully.
When you’re growing any sort of vegies, it’s a good idea to rotate your crops. This means, for example, a leafy crop is followed by a fruiting crop such as tomatoes, or a legume crop. Typical legumes are beans in summer and broad beans or peas in winter. These can be followed by a root crop (carrots, parsnips, beetroot etc).
Before planting each new crop, add more soil or layers of compost, manure and lucerne where necessary or dig some aged organic matter – manure, mushroom compost etc. – into the soil.